Bar form (German: die Barform or der Bar) is a musical form of the pattern AAB.
The term comes from the rigorous terminology of the Meistersinger guilds of the 15th to 18th century who used it to refer to their songs and the songs of the predecessors, the minnesingers of the 12th to 14th century. In their work, a Bar is not a single stanza (which they called a Liet or Gesätz); rather, it is the whole song. The word Bar is most likely a shortening of Barat, denoting a skillful thrust in fencing. The term was used to refer to a particularly artful song – the type one composes in songwriters' guilds.
The AAB pattern does, however, describe each stanza in a Meistersinger's Bar, which is divided into two Stollen (A), which are collectively termed the Aufgesang, followed by an Abgesang. The musical form thus contains two repetitions of one melody (Stollen – 'stanzas') followed by a different melody (Abgesang – 'aftersong'). One such tune (Ton in Meistersinger terminology) by Hans Folz (c1437–1513) illustrates this:
Note that the B section is not necessarily the same length as each A section. The B section can also incorporate parts of the A section's phrase: in the above example, the final 14 notes of the B section match the final 14 notes of each A section (see also Rundkanzone). In this example, the 17 never-repeated notes starting the B section would have been called a Steg by the Meistersingers: literally, "bridge"; whence comes the term for a contrasting section in popular music.
Composer Richard Wagner in act III of his opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, used the word Bar incorrectly as referring to a stanza of the prize song. This was based on his misreading of Wagenseil.In addition, Bach's famous biographer Spitta in his monumental 1873–80 biography, emphasized the role of Lutheran chorales, almost all of which are in AAB form, in what he considered the most mature of Bach's cantatas. Composer Johannes Brahms claimed the AAB form of the chorale "Jesu, meine Freude" generates larger formal structures in Bach's motet of the same name. Subsequent popularity and study of the use of AAB stanzas in Bach's and Wagner's works has led to wide adoption of the term Bar form for any song or larger musical form that can be rationalized to a three part AAB form with the first part repeating.
Such AAB forms may be found in works ranging from Lutheran chorales to "The Star-Spangled Banner" to songs by Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms. Bartok made use of the Bar form in the 20th Century, and most blues follow the pattern "A1A2B."
The German musicologist Alfred Lorenz, in his studies of Wagner, abstracted the concept of barform to include anything resembling an AAB structure at any level of scale:
"The essence of the Bar does not reside in the actual length, but in the distribution of its powers. Whether the Bar occupies 3 measures or 1,000 is irrelevant; it is always a regular Bar if [its] essence is fulfilled: a double appearance as against a single balancing occurrence of equal weight."
Lorenz argues that this short-short-long structuring principle occurring at multiple scales at once gives Wagner's music its feeling of ever-present forward momentum.
The ballade is a form of medieval and Renaissance French poetry as well as the corresponding musical chanson form. It was one of the three formes fixes and one of the verse forms in France most commonly set to music between the late 13th and the 15th centuries.
Literally "song" in Italian, a canzone is an Italian or Provençal song or ballad. It is also used to describe a type of lyric which resembles a madrigal. Sometimes a composition which is simple and songlike is designated as a canzone, especially if it is by a non-Italian; a good example is the aria "Voi che sapete" from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro.
A virelai is a form of medieval French verse used often in poetry and music. It is one of the three formes fixes and was one of the most common verse forms set to music in Europe from the late thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries.
In music, especially Western popular music, a bridge is a contrasting section that prepares for the return of the original material section. In a piece in which the original material or melody is referred to as the "A" section, the bridge may be the third eight-bar phrase in a thirty-two-bar form, or may be used more loosely in verse-chorus form, or, in a compound AABA form, used as a contrast to a full AABA section.
Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben?, BWV 8, is a church cantata for the 16th Sunday after Trinity by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is a chorale cantata, part of Bach's second cantata cycle. Bach performed it for the first time on 24 September 1724 in St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig. The cantata is scored for SATB singers, four wind instruments, strings and continuo.
Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20, in Leipzig for the first Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 11 June 1724. It is the first cantata he composed for his chorale cantata cycle, the second annual cycle he began in Leipzig. The cantata is based on Johann Rist's hymn "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" (1642), with a chorale melody by Johann Schop.
Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36, in Leipzig in 1731 for the first Sunday in Advent. He drew on material from previous congratulatory cantatas, beginning with Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36c (1725). The Gospel for the Sunday was the Entry into Jerusalem, thus the mood of the secular work matched "the people's jubilant shouts of Hosanna". In a unique structure in Bach's cantatas, he interpolated four movements derived from the former works with four stanzas from two important Advent hymns, to add liturgical focus, three from Luther's "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" and one from Nicolai's "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern". He first performed the cantata in its final form of two parts, eight movements, on 2 December 1731.
"Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" is a Christian hymn based on Joachim Neander's German-language hymn "Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren", published in 1680. John Julian in his A Dictionary of Hymnology calls the German original "a magnificent hymn of praise to God, perhaps the finest creation of its author, and of the first rank in its class."
Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält is a chorale fantasia for organ composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in the early 18th century, likely between 1705 and 1710. The Zahn 4441a hymn tune for Justus Jonas's 1524 hymn "Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält", a paraphrase of Psalm 124, is the basis of the composition.
Alfred Ottokar Lorenz was an Austrian-German conductor, composer, and musical analyst. His principal work is the four-volume Das Geheimnis der Form bei Richard Wagner, which attempts to comprehensively analyze some of Richard Wagner's best-known operas. Lorenz's work reflects to a great extent his sympathy with Nazi ideology, and has only recently been discredited by scholarship.
Rundkanzone [German: "rounded chanson" or "rounded canzona"] is a type of bar form originally taken from medieval German song, but also used to describe musical form in general. The form is represented by either:
Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Was willst du dich betrüben, BWV 107 in Leipzig for the seventh Sunday after Trinity and first performed on 23 July 1724. The chorale cantata is based on the words of Johann Heermann's hymn in seven stanzas "Was willst du dich betrüben" (1630).
"Was willst du dich betrüben" is a hymn in seven stanzas by the German Baroque poet, Lutheran minister and hymn-writer Johann Heermann. The chorale was first published in 1630 during the Thirty Years' War. It is focused on trust in God, even when facing adversaries.
Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, BWV 99, in Leipzig for the 15th Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 17 September 1724. The chorale cantata is based on the hymn "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" by Samuel Rodigast (1674).
Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, BWV 98, in Leipzig for the 21st Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 10 November 1726.
"Jesu, meine Freude" is a hymn in German, written by Johann Franck in 1650, with a melody, Zahn No. 8032, by Johann Crüger. The song first appeared in Crüger's hymnal Praxis pietatis melica in 1653. The text addresses Jesus as joy and support, versus enemies and the vanity of existence. The poetry is bar form, with irregular lines from 5 to 8 syllables. The melody repeats the first line as the last, framing each of the six stanzas.
"Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit" is a Lutheran hymn in German. The text from c. 1550 is attributed to Albert, Duke of Prussia. The melody, Zahn No. 7568, goes back to a tune by Claudin de Sermisy, written in 1529 for a secular French song. The hymn has belonged to core Lutheran hymnody without interruption and is part of the Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch as EG 364.
An Wasserflüssen Babylon is a chorale fantasia for organ by Johann Adam Reincken, based on "An Wasserflüssen Babylon", a 16th-century Lutheran hymn by Wolfgang Dachstein. Reincken likely composed the fantasia in 1663, partly as a tribute to Heinrich Scheidemann, his tutor and predecessor as organist at St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg. With its 327 bars, it is the most extended repertoire piece of this kind. Reincken's setting is a significant representative of the north German style of organ music.
Two Motets, Op. 74, are two sacred motets for unaccompanied mixed choir by Johannes Brahms, published together. Number 1, composed in 1877 in several movements, is Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen?, based on Biblical texts and a chorale. Number 2, composed earlier, is O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf, containing different settings of the stanzas of Friedrich von Spee's "O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf". The two motets were published by N. Simrock in December 1878 and dedicated to Philipp Spitta.
"Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier" is a Lutheran hymn with text written by Tobias Clausnitzer in 1663, and a hymn tune, Zahn No. 3498b, based on a 1664 melody by Johann Rudolf Ahle. A prayer for illumination, it is suitable for the opening of a church service and to be sung before a sermon. The song is part of the Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch as EG 161. It is also part of the Catholic hymnal Gotteslob as GL 149. It is popular also in English translations such as "Blessed Jesus, at your word" by Catherine Winkworth.