Wind orchestration in the music of Johann Christian Bach, 1762-1782 : studies in structure, form and texture
Johann Christian Bach's orchestration is equal in importance to harmony and melody in defining
the structure of a work and plays a significant role in his musical design. The thesis examines
orchestration of selected works by 1. C. Bach composed during his years in London, 1762-1782,
amongst them symphonic works (including symphonies concertantes), concertos, and vocal
works, both songs and arias. An in-depth study of Bach's method of orchestration, especially his
use of wind instruments, has not been carried out previously, and a better understanding of the
composer's skill will not only demonstrate the ingenuity inherent in Bach's music but also
emphasize his influence on, and importance to, English musical life.
The discussion of J. C. Bach's approach to orchestration is divided into distinct sections based on,
different perspectives. The first of these looks at individual instruments of the composer's time,
the types of ensembles in which they are employed and the placement of the instruments within
these ensembles, using information gleaned principally from English sources such as instrumental
tutors, contemporary comments and extant instruments. The evolution of Bach's individual "
treatment of each instrument is also discussed and illuminated by examples from his own works.
Subsequently, there is a comparison between Bach's writing for winds and that of contemporaries
active in London, in order to provide a larger context within which to view the development of
Bach's compositional style, and to explore influences Bach may have had on these composers.
Finally, conventions and patterns of Bach's orchestration are examined, including the
instrumentation of themes, scoring conventions for different movement types, and the deployment
of instruments to articulate musical structure. The relationship between instrumentation and
texture is explored through a graphing system designed to compare areas of textural development
from different perspectives, such as colour changes used to demarcate structure and winds
substituting for excursions in harmony or melody.