This entry is a complement to Painting like writing in which I compared the method of Chinese literati painting with the construction principles of a script. Here I compare the music of J. S. Bach with a script (defined as a system of stroke–shapes). Bach uses motives as ‘building blocks’ that are repeated with systematic variations and transformations.
This is one of the ‘building blocks’ of his Invention Nr1 in C Major BWV 772: 4 ascending notes and the same notes rearranged in ‘steps’ descending to the initial C.
The motif then appears on a lower C played by the left hand (base).
The motif is repeated and transposed to G (a transposition is a repetition starting from a different note).
Another repetition, but this time, with the left hand.
The motif is now inverted. The 4 ascending notes are now descending and the ‘steps’ are ascending.
The inverted theme is repeated and transposed.
At the same time, the first 4 notes of the original motif appear augmented (the note values are lengthened). The audio presents the original motif and the augmentation.
The augmentation is then transposed.
This is what the first section of the piece sounds like.
Applying musical terminology to the strokes of a script: