Areas of Study

Study in Canon No.6 Opus 56 arr. organ


This quiet slow movement in reflective mood is vocal in its style and reminiscent of Bach’s 4 part chorale writing although featuring chromatic harmony associated with the romantic era. The melody is not always in the top line and as in 4 part chorale writing it is the tenor line that often needs to be prominent. The first section is essentially a 4 part chorale featuring romantic chromatic harmony from Schumann’s own time rather than the diatonic harmony of Bach’s time. The second middle section is presented as a fugal exposition whilst the final section is introduced by a dotted rhythm as an upbeat in bar 32 and returns to the mood and style of the first section although this final section has more contrast and is more dramatic. Schumann’s intention is to combine beauty of sound with a legato touch and it is important for organists to aim for the best legato possible in their playing. The realisation plays back at 60 quarter note beats to the minute with the tempo indication in the score marked as adagio. This is an absorbing and challenging movement to with a particular challenge being to communicate the imitation that is evident in the music score. The music editor suggests playing through the separate lines of the score to gain understanding of the compositional process and points of imitation. This is also a challenging movement from the music reading point of view because of the chromaticism and tied notes and playing at a slow tempo. In the organ realisation two organ sounds have been used. For those wishing to see how the ornaments in the realisation are played refer to the video score on the PlentyMusicCo YouTube channel. Simply click the link on the PlentyMusic home page and search for the score. In the organ arrangement there is the possibility of adding an additional trill on the G# in bar 31. Trills begin on the note. There are many arrangements of this particular movement and the music editor suggests that along with Schumann’s other Studies in Canon they are ideal works to introduce players to chamber music playing. It is quite understandable that other composers and arrangers have re-visited the Studies in Canon by Schumann, in a practical way, with arrangements for various instrument combinations. These arrangements encourage a clearer understanding of the contrapuntal aspects of the original composer’s writing. Explore the solo piano, piano duet, two piano and trio versions available on the PlentyMusic website.





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