Chorales in J. S. Bach’s Pedagogy: Recasting the First Year Undergraduate Music Theory Curriculum in Light of a New Source

Author(s): 
Derek Remeš
Volume: 
31
Year: 
2017
Material: 
Abstract: 

Inspired by new evidence about J. S. Bach’s teaching method, this article offers an historically informed perspective on teaching part writing while striving to achieve the College Music Society’s curricular goals of integration, creativity, and diversity. The key is an emphasis on transferrable skills, which are honed in the simplified context of hymn tune harmonization and then applied to more diverse settings through analysis and model composition. Transferrable skills sharpened in this method range from basic (figured bass, chord spelling, voice-leading, harmonic analysis, and vocal and keyboard experience) to more advanced (formal and cadential analysis, ornamentation, composition with compound melody, and reductive analysis). The resulting method is historically informed, pedagogically appropriate, internally consistent, fundamentally musical, and always contextualized.