Bach, Perpetual Canon (from The Musical Offering, BWV 1079)




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Published on Mar 23, 2012

The perpetual canon (on the "king's theme") from J. S. Bach's Musical Offering, BWV 1079.

Q: It sounds kind of ... weird ... what's going on?
A: As guessed by YouTube viewer Typoczyn, the pitch of the recording is lowered to counteract the rising pitch of the canon. As written, the canon modulates up a whole step each cycle, as shown in the upper graphic. The pitch of the recording is adjusted so that it slowly drops down a whole step during each cycle; this is suggested by the lower graphic, in which the upper score (which starts in C minor and modulates to D minor) replaces the lower score (which starts in D minor and modulates to E minor). Not exactly the same as the Shepard tone (see Wikipedia), but similar.

Q: Where can I get the sheet music for this?
A: The score (which is somewhat cryptic) is here:


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