Don’t Be So Binary

Today’s video is on the Minuets from the G major Suite, and that means we have to talk about form.

 

Wait, come back! I promise, it will be ok. As you’ll see, it takes a pop musician to explain baroque paired dance form effectively, and as a bonus, you’ll get to see my soon-to-be world famous James Brown impression. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Pairs of dances in classical music have a basic structure – A-B-A. In other words, you play the first Minuet (here, sunny and bright, in G Major), followed by the second one (darker and mysterious, in g minor), and then return to play the first one again. Simple, right?  You wish – classical musicians are good at making things complicated, so we call this “Rounded Binary Form.”

Yuck.

Luckily, there’s a much better way to say the same thing, and it comes courtesy of the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown. His many valuable contributions include assembling one of the tightest bands in history, displaying astonishing dance moves, and eliminating the need for understandable lyrics. The original is great, but since I don’t want to get sued, in the video I recreate one of the greatest moments in his 1970 masterpiece “Get Up”, where he offers a much better alternative to “rounded binary form”. I think you’ll appreciate his description much better, and at the risk of boasting, I think my impression is pretty good, too – enjoy!

 

 

Please share this if you like it, and post your comments – I’ll see you next time for the Gigue!

Nat

One Comment

  1. Clearly, it is an English term, the English term for “aria” or any lyrical work, as this is. As he usually does in the slow movements of his Brandenburg Concertos, Bach drops out the wind instruments and timpani here, allowing the strings alone to carry all the material.

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