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Visual symbolisation: how Bach illustrates the ecclesiastic context of his compositions

In several compositions such as in the St Matthew’s Passion or the St John’s Passion for example, Bach uses the crucifixion symbol in his notes to refer to the sufferings of Jesus Christ by means of visual symbols. A four-note motif is used, in which the first and the fourth note are the same or almost the same, whereas one of the two notes in between is higher, the other lower; thus he reminds of the crucifix.

Thank you, Nikolaus Harnoncourt!
Did you know that Bach had a good sense of humour?