Exploring J.S. Bach Mass in B Minor is a site sponsored by the Hinkle Charitable Foundation, Northern Arizona University, University of Oregon, Hänssler Classic SCM and the Oregon Bach Festival. The site provides a photograph facsimile of the autograph manuscript of the Mass in B Minor by J.S. Bach. The score is accompanied by a recording of the work by the Gächinger Kantorei and the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart conducted by Helmuth Rilling. In addition to the score and recording the site provides the text and translation, 200 “cuepoint” in the score which link to additional information and media on J.S. Bach, the Mass in B Minor, performance practice of the era, the form of the Mass in B Minor as well as other historical information. The homepage of the site also contains links to an introductory history of J.S. Bach and the Mass in B Minor.
To study the score and music of the Mass in B Minor by J.S. Bach and explore the history and performance practice of the Baroque period.
Target Student Population:
This site would be appropriate for undergraduate and graduate students as well as professional musicians. The site could also be used for high school students with teacher guidance.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Upper level music students with knowledge of the Mass, the Baroque period and the music of J.S. Bach will be a better equipped to gain the most from this site. A student should be able to read music to fully use this site.
Type of Material:
This site is ideal for individual, class and lecture comparison studies of the Mass in B Minor. The site is also ideal for a variety of historical assignments on the music, life and times of J.S. Bach and the Baroque period.
The technical requirements to use this site are a standard browser and flash support.
Evaluation and Observation
The quality of the content of this site is excellent. The site contains excellent quality photographs of the autograph score accompanied by an accurate performance of the work. The “cuepoints” include accurate historical information and performance practice information as well as analytical comments on the score. The information is significant in students developing concepts on the music of J.S. Bach and understanding the Mass in B Minor in the context of the Baroque period.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site provides a rich and broad study environment for students to learn about J.S. Bach, the Mass in B Minor and the Baroque period. Students with only an introduction to the Baroque period will learn a significant amount of detailed information on J.S. Bach and the Mass in B Minor especially when using the “cuepoint” media annotations. For advanced students this site provides a baseline study and comparison environment to develop a sophisticated understanding and interpretation of the Mass in B Minor. The interactive multimedia used in the site brings together and focuses information in a variety of forms increasing a student’s potential learning experience. The site does not have a specific learning goal but instead exists as a study environment. This approach increases the potential for teachers to create assignments that integrate into many different pedagogical goals.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This site is easy and intuitive to use. A detailed explanation on how to use the site is given on the homepage at the “Exploring” link. There is an excellent video that shows how to us the different tools in order take advantage of the site. The layout is consistent and easy to navigate. The site does not require additional documentation, technical support or instruction to use. The site is very attractive and inviting to the user.
The Cuepoints, little dots over the score that link to videos and comments, has to be turned on by the user. If that is not understood, the user will miss the most important part of the site. Maybe they should be on by default.