Different recordings and arrangements of the Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach were evaluated on cognitive, emotional, and perceptual dimensions. In Study 1, eight different renditions of the piece were classified as Classical or Romantic interpretations. Both harpsichord and piano versions of each style were included. Only minimal differences were found in subjects' appreciation for the harpsichord versus the piano recordings. Comparisons between the Classical and Romantic styles also revealed only slight differences in subjects' ratings. In addition, no differences were found in subjects' enjoyment of different recordings made by a single artist at different points in his career. In Study 2, the structure of the piece was modified by rearranging the order of the variations. A preference for the original version over the modified arrangements was indicated on only 1 of the 15 dimensions measured. In Study 3, specific triplets of variations were played to subjects in their original order and in a random sequence. No differences were found in subjects' appreciation for the original versus the modified versions.
The Effects of Instrumentation, Playing Style, and Structure in the Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach
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Heidi Gotlieb, Vladimir J. Konečni; The Effects of Instrumentation, Playing Style, and Structure in the Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach. Music Perception 1 October 1985; 3 (1): 87–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/40285323
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