Adapting J. S. Bach's solo violin Sonatas and Partitas for the marimba: Broken chord and arpeggio performance practices

Jason Eugene Mathena, University of Southern Mississippi

Abstract

This purpose of this study is to provide the keyboard percussionist with information and examples for breaking chords and properly executing arpeggio passages in J. S. Bach's solo violin Sonatas and Partitas. Primary sources included Baroque treatises on performance practice and recent scholarship of the past one hundred years. Various editions of the Sonatas and Partitas were surveyed for this document but, in the end, only Bach's autograph manuscript and Gunther Hausswald's critical edition were used for the musical examples as well as the marimba transcriptions included in appendices. Topics covered are appropriate places to break chords and the various methods that can be employed. These decisions are grounded in historical practices, idiomatic specificities, and my own unprecedented ideas on how to enhance the music. Regarding arpeggio passages, I present a number of realizations on familiar passages, such as those from the G minor Fuga , Ciaccona , and C major Fuga , as well as some other phrases which have historically not been arpeggiated. This document will provide the marimbist with choices but also with information to make different choices based on the music itself and the limitations of the marimba.