Before actually going into the analysis of the actual piece itself, background information would be helpful. The composition was written by Bach, and it is part of the sonatas and partitas for solo violin. For this example, Partita II in d minor, movement I, Allemanda, will be discussed. Allemanda, sometimes spelled allemande, derives from German and simply means “dance.” While there are various tempos used, this movement is usually fast, around 120 beats per minute.
Strip all the decorations and ornaments, and there is a straight-forward analysis. The piece begins and ends in D, cadencing to tonic. There is an A halfway in between, creating a half cadence. In order words, this can be easily be called a I-V-I, just like any other piece. That is fine. Because every song essentially is I to V to I, there must be something else that differentiates this piece from everything else. What makes this piece interesting? What makes tonic to dominant back to tonic worth listening for? To put it frankly, the notes in between the beginning, the middle, and the end, is what makes anything sound different. Bach devised some interesting ways to train our ears to listen to aesthetic notes when, in reality, it is D to A to D.
Despite the key conceptualizing in d minor, many, many accidentals take place within the piece. As a result, how does someone know which notes are more important than others? Is it D because it is tonic? Is it C-sharp because it is the leading tone to tonic? Or could it possibly be the accidentals because they do not originate from the key? This may sound ambiguous, but the answer is…it depends. The reason why this is so, which is considerably more direct, is rhythm.
Some rhythms are longer in duration than others. Some rhythms are shorter in duration than others. Some rhythms are equal to others. There are five basic note values in this piece – the four 16th notes, which secures standard, the one 16th/two 32nd/two 16th notes, which accentuates anticipation, the three triplets, which demonstrates decoration, the dotted eighth/sixteenth note, which brings breath, and the dotted quarter note, which centralizes closure. With numerous rhythms to choose from, along with a wide assortment of notes, it makes much more sense why that G-sharp is longer than that note or why this D is only one sixteenth note.
Breaking down each rhythmical pattern will create better understanding as to why some passages have more emphasis than others. The four 16th pattern will start. Because they are the most frequent out of any other rhythm type, it makes logical sense they are the star of the show. It is the milk when making a strawberry smoothie. Without the milk, it would fall apart. Milk is the base that holds everything together, like glue. The four 16th notes are the cohesion that binds the piece into a solid entity. A milkshake would not be defined as a milkshake without the milk. It even has the word “milk” in it. This highlights the importance of its...