Aspects of Baroque Style (I) – Interpretation to J. S. Bach’s Violin Sonatas

In 18th century, monody and counterpoint created the “Baroque Sonata” and J.S. Bach was one of the pioneers of these sonatas. What I am going to discuss about is that; his violin sonatas and how they should be performed in my point of view.

In general, Bach’s violin pieces are seen as the basic expectation for the violinists because of their technical features. One of the most important technical features is the bow technique because in that times bow is shorter than this time’s bow, so the pieces were wrote for that kind of bows by the composers. In addition to this, it is really important to play these sonatas without using vibratos (or using not much), because in Baroque Period, vibrato was only used to indicate the longer notes.

There is a fact that, in 21st century; we do not use the “short and strongly arched bows” which is called in that time as a “convex bow”. They had used that in 18th century, but in my opinion, it is not impossible to perform and make a style that close to playing with the short bow.

In contrast, now, Bach’s violin sonatas are playing by the performers like the sonatas were written in the Romantic Period. Although it is violinist’s own interpretation, it is not so right to play Bach’s sonatas far from the Baroque Period. It should remind the listener that period and composer’s originality.  There are a lot of different interpretations (which recorded in these years) but there are a few of recordings that near to Baroque Period style. Violin soloists mostly choose to play a lot of vibratos and exaggerated nuances.

Is it more right to make interpretation to show that period’s origins?

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