Auke Jongbloed, Ach Gott, erhör mein Seufzen
A few days ago I published Marpurg’s prelude to the choral “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen”. It is fascinating to see that the left hand part of that composition is really not much more than an elaboration of the notes of the chord that the bass line indicates. As such it is a nice model for perhaps writing your own choral prelude. And that is what I tried to do.
I took Bach’s harmonization of “Ach Gott, erhör mein Seufzen” (BWV 254), stripped out the middle voices, kept both of the outer voices, and wrote a new middle voice. A little trick Marpurg uses and that I employed as well, is to tie the notes of the middle voice from beat to beat. In that way harmonic tension is created because the middle voice than has a note on the beat that does not belong to the new chord. The challenge in this way of writing is to prevent the result from becoming boring. Creating harmonic tension is one way of making the middle voice more interesting. Another is to create rythmic variety. The variety has to be subtle however, because the middle voice has to sound like it is has it’s own sense of direction. I has to sound like it was not written to fill in the harmonic blancs, while in fact, the procedure was to write a middle voice to fill in the harmonic blancs.
To finish the piece, I wrote an introduction of four bars. My idea was to use part of that introduction again in the conclusion of the piece, as another way of creating some coherence in the piece. The introduction establishes the main tonality of d minor, so I could let the choral melody enter on a slight dissonant, immediately creating harmonic tension. That’s always more interesting a plain consonant chord.
And here’s the result.
The recording was done with the Hauptwerk software and the sampleset, made by Sonus Paradisi, of the Janke organ in the Stadtkirche of Bückeburg (https://www.sonusparadisi.cz/en/organs/germany/buckeburg-janke-organ.html).