M602: Seminar in Musicology: J. S. Bach Cantata Topics

Daniel R. Melamed

Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University

Fall 2022




Tuesday 3-6PM PM, M263




Tue    23 Aug    1. Introduction/Ritornello analysis

Tue   30 Aug     2. Ritornello forms

Tue      6 Sep    3. Liturgical calendar/Bach's church cantata repertory

Tue    13 Sep    4. Cantatas in the liturgy


Tue    20 Sep    5. Autograph scores

   Sun     25 Sep Bloomington Bach Cantata Project BWV 167

Tue    27 Sep    6. Original performing parts


Tue      4 Oct    


Tue    11 Oct   


Tue    18 Oct    

    Sun     23 Oct Bloomington Bach Cantata Project BWV 9                                                     


Tue    25 Oct   


Tue     1 Nov     

   Sun     6 Nov Bloomington Bach Cantata Project BWV 156


Tue      8 Nov   


Tue   15 Nov




Tue   29 Nov   Presentations                                           

Tue     6 Dec    Presentations

TBA                Presentations


Topics in the study and performance of cantatas by J. S. Bach as a starting point for the study of early eighteenth-century music and its modern reception.


Prof. Daniel R. Melamed    M325C, dmelamed (AT) iu.edu
Office hours by appointment (e-mail to arrange). E-mail questions are welcome at any time and are the fastest way to get an answer.

Course information, assignments, reserve lists and this schedule can be found at https://dmelamed.pages.iu.edu/M602-JSBCantatas-2022.htm, also reachable through  http://bach.melamed.org.



The course grade will be based on presentations, participation and the final paper. There will be no examinations.


Jack Bussert

Rachel Cisneros

Monika Franaszczuk

Elizabeth Hile

Tess Rhian

Yishai Rubin

Sarah Sabol

Kaylee Simmons

Kitt Westerduin

D. Melamed





 Basic questions about research materials on Bach are answered in

Daniel R. Melamed and Michael Marissen. An introduction to Bach studies. New York, 1998. [Ref ML134.B1 M45]


1. Introduction/Ritornello analysis

2. Ritornello forms


   Stephen A. Crist. "Aria forms in the vocal works of J. S. Bach, 1714-24." PhD diss. Brandeis Univ., 1988. Chapter 4.

   Laurence Dreyfus. "The ideal ritornello." In Bach and the Patterns of Invention. Cambridge, MA, 1996.  Pp. 59-102.

The original formulation of modern analysis of Fortspinnung-type ritornellos is

   Wilhelm Fischer. "Zur Entwicklungsgechichte des Wiener klassischen Stils." Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 3 (1915): 24-84.


Study each of the ritornello movements listed below. Make yourself diagrams here along the lines of the samples also provided. Scores are in a pdf; texts and translations are supplied. You can type the diagrams if you wish, but it's often easier just to write them out by hand

For the first 10 movements listed with initials, please make a typed diagram for the one assigned to you and send it to me as a Word document by 11AM on the day of our seminar meeting. Please be ready to lead a short discussion of that movement and its issues and features. We'll discuss the last several as a group and compare our results.

BWV 61/3    BWV 61/5    BWV 76/3    BWV 44/1    BWV 44/3    BWV 44/6    BWV 51/1    BWV 51/4    BWV 140/1    BWV 140/4
   DB-W           JB                RC                MF                EH                TR                YR                SS                KS                    KW


BWV 7/6    BWV 57/7    BWV 84/3        BWV 102/1

Scores        Texts and translations        Sample diagrams

3. Liturgical calendar and Bach's cantata repertory


1. Read this draft chapter on the liturgical calendar and Bach's repertory. Study the two examples (BWV 140 and Jubilate Sunday) examining the various resources below. Examine the calendar of cantatas during Bach's first year in Leipzig (1723-24).


10-Liturgical calendar


Liturgical calendar, with Epistle and Gospel readings, from D. Melamed and M. Marissen. An introduction to Bach studies.


1723-24 liturgical calendar for Leipzig


Vollständiges Kirchen-Buch. Leipzig, 1718. [Includes Gospel and Epistle readings for the year]


Gottfried Vopelius. Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch. Leipzig, 1682. [Principal Leipzig musical liturgical book]

H. Grotefend. Handbuch der historischen Chronologie des deutschen Mittelalters und der Neuzeit. Hanover, 1872. [Modern reference for dates and calendars]


2. For the assigned liturgical date below, investigate the Gospel and Epistle readings for the day, hymns recommended for the day. Determine the date of the observation during Bach's relevant years in Weimar (1714-17) and first three years in Leipzig. Examine Bach's cantatas for the day and their relevance to the feast. (Do not get too involved in theological issues--keep this at a more general level.) Be ready to lead a short discussion of your findings. Please make a one-page handout as a Word document that summarizes relevant information, and send it to me by 11AM on the day of our seminar meeting. Be clear, concise, and organized in what you put on this page


New Year's Day                  JB 

Estomihi                              RC 

Pentecost 1                          MF 

Trinity                                 EH

10th Sunday after Trinity    TR  

16th Sunday after Trinity    YR   

20th Sunday after Trinity    SS  

Purification                         KS   

St. Michael's Day                KW  


4. Cantatas in the liturgy


1. Read this draft chapter on the cantata in the liturgy. Follow the service outline in the original sources, linked below.


11-Cantatas in the liturgy


--Bach's notation of the order of service on the wrappers of BWV 61 and 62. (Look these up at http://bach-digital.de)

--Leipziger Kirchen-Staat (1711)

--Leipziger Kirchen-Andachten (1694)


2. Trace the case study on the First Sunday after Trinity; follow the elements in the outline in the original sources, linked below.


A couple of tools:


A modern reference; note that you also have to refer to earlier dates in the liturgical calendar, as later ones are based on them to save space:

Charles Sanford Terry. Joh. Seb. Bach cantata texts sacred and secular. With a reconstruction of the Leipzig liturgy of his period. London, 1926 and reprints.


A modern compilation of Lutheran service music from old sources

Ludwig Schoeberlein. Schatz des liturgischen Chor- und Gemeindegesangs. I    II-1    II-2 and III


--Leipziger Kirchen-Staat (1710) and its hymnal

--Leipziger Kirchen-Andachten (1694) and its hymnal

--Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch

--Florilegium Portense   Part I        Part II

--Melchior Vulpius. Cantionum sacrarum and Selectissimarium cantionum sacrarum

--Martin Luther. Deutsche Messe (1626)        English translation of textual portions

--Vollstaendiges Kirchen-Buch (1718) and Agenda (1712)

--Agenda das ist Kirchen-Ordnung (1735)

--Episteln und Evangelia (1730)

--Erdmann Neumeisters ...Geistliche Bibliothec, Bestehend aus Predigten Auf alle Sonn- und Fest-Tage des Jahrs (1719) [A volume of sermons from Hamburg]


3. For the liturgical dates below, trace the liturgy for the day in the primary sources above. Identify the various service and musical materials relevant to the day, as if you were going to reconstruct the liturgy. Consider the relevance of the liturgy to Bach's cantatas for the day. Choose one element that particularly interests you and prepare a short presentation on it; please send me a one-page handout as a Word document that summarizes relevant information, and send it to me by 11AM on the day of our seminar meeting.


1st Sunday in Advent          JB 

Christmas 1                        RC 

Epiphany                            MF 

Sexageimae                        EH

Easter  1                             TR  

9th Sunday after Trinity      YR   

12th Sunday after Trinity    SS  

Visitation                            KS   

St. John's Day                     KW  

5. Autograph scores

1. Read chapters 1-3 and the conclusion of this book, available online, on reserve, and in two additional copies in the stacks. Examine chapters 4-7, noting the kinds of compositional activity that the author is able to trace. Examine some of the sketches and drafts detailed in v. 2.

Robert L. Marshall. The Compositional Process of J. S. Bach. A Study of the Autograph Scores of the Vocal Works. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972. [ML410.B12 M369]

2. Read this draft chapter on autograph scores. Follow the two case studies (BWV 20 and 215) in the original sources available on bach-digital.de. Spend some time with the site's entries for the two cantatas, noting what kinds of information is provided. Look up the work in the Bach Compendium [Ref ML134.B1 S38] in the NBA watermark catalogue (NBA IX/1, 2 vols.) [M3 .B119 Ser. IX, v. 1], and in the critical commentary volumes [Kritische Berichte] for the works in the NBA [Ref M3 .B119], focusing on the information provided about the score.

On BWV 215 you can read

Stephen A. Crist. "The Question of Parody in Bach's Cantata Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen, BWV 215." Bach Perspectives 1 ed. Russell Stinson, 135-61. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.

3. For the assigned cantata indicated below, study the work's autograph score. Identify the paper used and the gathering structure of the score; consider making yourself a mockup with folded copy paper. Look it up (focusing on the autograph score) on bach-digital.de, in the watermark catalogue, in the NBA critical report for the cantata, and in the Bach Compendium. Examine any corrections, sketches, or drafts; look them up in Marshall's book as appropriate. Account for the way the work is notated in the score (what is specified and what is not), how the music is arranged on the page, and so on.

Come to class prepared to give a short presentation in which you identify the character of the autograph score according to Marshall's categories (composing score, revision copy, score or fair copy), describe its gathering structure, and point out one or two noteworthy features that relate to Bach's compositional process in the work.

 BWV 71    BWV 173a    BWV 75      BWV 105       BWV 194      BWV 33       BWV 207     BWV 30            BWV 14
    JB                RC                MF                EH                TR                YR                SS                KS                    KW

6. Original performing parts

1. Read this draft chapter on original performing parts. Follow the case studies on BWV 33 and 44, examining the sources on Bach-Digital and looking up the materials in the cantatas' NBA Critical Report, in the Bach Compendium, and in the NBA copyist catalogue.

2. For the assigned cantata indicated below, study the work's original performing parts. Trace their preparation, separating chronological layers if necessary. Account for likely missing parts, and for parts made for reperformances. Consider the parts as a realization of the piece; relate this to the text in the autograph score (if it survives). Make a table of the parts, their contents, and their copyists; send this to me as a one-page summary by 11AM on the day of our meeting. Come to class prepared to talk about one or two interesting points.

  BWV 33*    BWV 14**    BWV 110  BWV 40    BWV 123    BWV 137    BWV 30    BWV 2     BWV 70
     JB                RC                MF                EH             TR             YR                SS           KS           KW

*facsimile available [Vault 9092834]
**partial facsimile available [ML96.4 .B118 v.2]