On Motivation and the Senior Slide

Over the Christmas Festival Weekend, I had an idea to look into BWV 80 Ein Feste Burg for my final paper/podcast combo. I started researching. I listened to it. I immediately got bored. I’m not quite sure why I felt so unmotivated by this topic, but I decided to try to follow something I was more passionate about.

I really want to look into the Magnificat (D Major, BWV 243) and specifically the 3rd and 4th movements – Quia Respexit into Omnes Generationes. The third movement has such an incredibly different sound than anything else in the Magnificat; the chromaticism, the descending lines, and the starkness of oboe and basso continuo aren’t seen anywhere else in the Magnificat. Right now, I have a lot of ideas about this piece and am not fully sure where to take them. These movement focus on the section of the Magnificat dealing with humility: “He hath regarded the lowliness of His servant, for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” It’s clear that Bach intended to apply an entire mood to this movement, but I find the incredibly quick change into Omnes Gereationes startling and interesting. I feel like there’s something there.

Right now, I’m doubling back on the Rathey and Heller articles we read earlier. I really want to avoid just regurgitating information that we already discussed, and I’m hoping that by focusing on the two movements will allow me the freedom to discuss many things about those movements. One interesting thing that I want to pursue more is when one author (and I honestly thought it was Rathey, but now I can’t find it) called Mvmt. 4 a turba chorus. Of course, I have no idea where this thread will go, but right now I’m digging to see if there’s anything important there.

One last idea that I think would be interesting is analyzing how these two movements are inherently Lutheran Marian theology as opposed to Catholic Marian theology. This would require a comparison of the religious side of things and an application directly into the text. This is super intriguing to me but I’m scared to dive in because of the difficult research and sort of abstract method of coming to a thesis.

All in all, I’m glad that I’m at least excited about my topic now. It will possibly be more difficult, as I really have to make sure I’m not copying the articles we read already, but at least the motivation is there. Fight the senior slide. It’s only fall semester.

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