10 Bach memes that will accurately teach you music theory
19 February 2020, 09:14 | Updated: 23 June 2020, 10:36
Johann Sebastian Bach memes, to help you get your head around some of the foundations of music theory and write better chorales.
Bach was the master of counterpoint
Just like Doge is the master of the meme.
You need to learn to love the Chorale
Introducing your new favourite form, the four-part chorale. As you can see, it was also a favourite of Bach’s, so you’re in good company. Master it, and it will help unlock a world of good harmony and counterpoint, no matter what you’re composing.
No parallel fifths
Guys, when penning the harmonisation of your four-part counterpoint chorale, no consecutive octaves, or parallel fifths.
Remember leading notes
This is when pitch resolves – or *leads* – to one semitone higher or lower, creating great shape, contour and tension in your part-writing. Toddler-Bach knows it sounds awesome, so do it!
Contrary, not similar motion
Good counterpoint is also about the motion of the parts within those harmonic rules. Contrary motion – where lines move in different directions to each other – should dominate, thus:
Learn your circle of fifths...
A picardy third is when a piece in a minor tonality ends on a chord with a major third. At the strike of the chord, dark clouds part, and light and warmth stream through stained-glass windows (or so it sounds). As this meme suggests, Bach used this often – to great effect.
Don’t worry if it’s hard. Because it is.
But learn the rules, so you can break them
Bach was the master, but he was a pro at breaking the harmonic commandments for expressive effect. Following the rules doesn’t create great art, so trust yourself, be creative, inventive, and...
Do all this and you will make Bach happy
Go forth and write, and make JSB smile.