Bach and Busoni Essentials in A Chaotic World

Seow Phing Lee, C. H. Raymond Ooi, Ku Wing Cheong


The study analyses the manifestation of structural change from the Bach Violin Chaconne (BWV1004, c.1720) to the Bach-Busoni piano transcription (c.1897). This article explores the use of two-dimensional music abstraction for vertical (pitch height) and horizontal (time) and its signal insignificant identified bariolage sections in music. Bariolage excerpts are chosen for they are implied sounds captured in repeatability and recontextuality. The first part of the article offers an excerpt of the Bariolage from violin at bars (113-120) and its parallel piano transcription at bars (118-125). Significant expressions of registral change utilizing different voice parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor) offer a wider expansion with piano. These excerpts were chosen after reviewing the original Bach Chaconne and its essentials in analytical aesthetics for the projection of beauty in symmetry-asymmetry-chaos in composition. This study captures the aesthetics of the beautiful from the original score of the violin Chaconne at (bars 89-96) and (bars 113-120) for Bach-Busoni piano transcription. Further, there are recommendations for future studies to explore vertical spaces and mathematical sequences embedded in the music in other sections. The findings of this study were implied through new music analytical formats to be applied in composition, pedagogy, and performance practice. 


piano transcription, beauty in music, symmetry, golden section, music aesthetics

Full Text:



Altschuler, E. L. (2005). Were Bach’s Toccata and Fugue BWV565 and the Ciacconia from BWV1004 Lute Pieces?. The Musical Times, 146(1893), 77-86.

Altschuler, E. & Phillips, A. (2015). The sound of topology;2D manifolds in Bach. The Musical Times,(156)1933, 57-64.

Bonds, M. E. (2010). The Spatial Representation of Musical Form. The Journal of Musicology, (27)3, 265-303.

Boyden, D.C. & Walls, P. (2001). Bariolage The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan.

Breakspeare, E. J. (1879 - 1880). Musical Æsthetics. Proceedings of the Musical Association, 6th Sess., 59-77.

Brumbeloe, J. (2000). Patterns and performance choices in selected perpetual-motion movements by J.S.Bach. Theory and Practise, 25,1-25.

Davies, S. (2005). Implied Polyphony in the Solo String Works of J. S. Bach: A Case for the Perceptual Relevance of Structural. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 23(5), 423-446.

Evans, B. (1992). Number as form and content: A composer’s path of inquiry. Leonardo, 25(3), 303-311.

Hanninen, D. (2003). Theory of Recontextualization in Music: Analyzing Phenomenal Transformations of Repetition. Music Theory Spectrum, 25(1), 59-97.

Hanslick, E. (1891). The beautiful in music:a contribution to the revisal of musical aesthetics, by Dr. Eduard Hanslick, transl.Gustav Cohen. Novella & company limited. London.

Irving, D. (2007). Bach Unaccompanied. Early Music, 35(4), 661-663.

Jarman, C. (2005). Buxtehude’s Ciacona in C Minor and the Nicene Creed. The Musical Times, 146( 1891), 58-69.

Herrera-Boyer, P., Klapuri, A., & Davy, M. (2006). Automatic classification of pitched musical instrument sounds. In Signal processing methods for music transcription (pp. 163-200). Springer, Boston, MA.

Knyt, E. E. (2012). Ferruccio Busoni and the Absolute in Music: Form, Nature, and Idee. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 137(1), 35-69.

Kogan, G. (2010). Busoni as Pianist. University of Rochester Press.

Lester, J. (2001). Heightening Levels of Activity and J. S. Bach’s Parallel-Section Constructions. Journal of the American Musicological Society, 54(1), 49-96.

Morgan, R. P. (1998). Symmetrical Form and Common-Practice Tonality. Music Theory Spectrum, 20(1), 1-47.

Paddison, M. (2010). Mimesis and the aesthetics of musical expression. Music Analysis, 29(1-3), 126-148.

Rosenkranz, K. & Haubner, S. (2011). Aesthetic of Ugliness. TheAbsurd, 22 (Spring/Summer), 101-111.

Smith, D. E. (1927). Esthetics and Mathematics. The Mathematics Teacher, 20(8), 419-428.

Voloshinov, A. (1996). Symmetry as a super principle of Science and Art. Leonardo, 29(2), 109-113.

Wilfing, A. (2019). Hanslick und die analytische Philosophie: Eine Produktive rezeption. Title: Re-Reading Hanslick’s Aesthetics.Book Subtitle: Die Rezeption Eduard Hanslicks im englischen Sprachraum und ihre diskursiven Grundlagen. Hollitzer Verlag.

Winold, A. (2007). Bach’s Cello Suites, Volumes 1 and 2: Analyses and Explorations, p.19. Indiana University.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.