In dulci jubilo (BWV 608)

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from Das Orgelbüchlein by Johann Sebastian Bach

Background[edit]

The tune for this chorale is the same that is used in "Good Christian Men Rejoice" in English-speaking countries. The text of this chorale is as follows:

In quiet joy
sing and be glad!
Our hearts' desire
lies in a manger
and shines like the sun
in His mother's bosom.
You are Alpha and Omega.
You are Alpha and Omega.

O little Jesus
I long for you!
Comfort my soul
O perfect Child,
with all Your kindness
O Prince of Glory
Draw me after You!
Draw me after You![1]

Notice that the second verse mentions "Draw me after You!" Bach seems to have based his main compositional approach to this piece on that line. This piece is a double canon; the bass follows the soprano, each carrying the principal melody of the chorale. The alto and tenor also form a canon of swifter moving triplets and duplets. The principal difficulty in this piece is probably lining up correctly the three eighth notes against the two quarter notes that are formed in the alto/tenor canon.

Registration and Organs[edit]

A 4' principal (Choralbass) or a 4' reed in the pedal with light flues in the manuals works well. Care must be taken to make sure that both instances of the melody are clearly heard, and that one does not dominate the other.[2]

Fingering and Pedaling[edit]

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Articulation and Phrasing[edit]

This piece should be played with ordinary (non-legato) touch, being careful to accent strong beats while not accenting weak beats.

Ornamentation[edit]

This pieces does not contain any written-in ornaments.

Tempo and Meter[edit]

This piece is in 3/2. The chief difficulty of this piece is the pervasive three against two in the accompanying voices. Care must be taken to make them sound natural and not mechanical.

Scores and Editions[edit]

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Recordings[edit]

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Free Online[edit]

James Kibbie, 1717 Trost organ, St. Walpurgis, Großengottern, Germany, using _____.

Pay to Listen[edit]

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Other Resources[edit]

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Notes[edit]

  1. Johann Sebastian Bach: Orgelbuchlein. Ed. Robert Clark and John David Peterson. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1984.
  2. Johann Sebastian Bach: Orgelbuchlein. Ed. Robert Clark and John David Peterson. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1984.

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