Chafe seeks to suggest those disciplines that are essential for understanding
s cantatas. Since these cantatas were written for events that transcend pure musical performance, we cannot study them neglecting the theological content of the text they were written for and the principles according which this content has been formulated in a way that allows to address to the listener as an individual. The supreme intention was the cantata to reflect what may be described as the high-powered character of the experience of faith, of a series of
and forms that had tendency to be most completely understood by the believer.
At the same time, it is necessary to understand the processes and the transformations that bridged the 16th century tonal practice (the theory of modes and hexachords) with that of the 18th century. Contemporary notions about the relativity of major and minor tonalities, about the affinity of tonalities, about dominant and subdominant polarity within a certain tonality, have been formulated on the basis and through the older theories about modes. These changes – many of which were extremely new at
s time – are of decisive importance for understanding the ways that the relation between music and theology determined the structures of the cantatas of Bach.
The review displays and underlines the important contribution of Eric Chafe on a methodological level with his questioning about the effectiveness of the widespread systems for musical analysis, as well as with his specific understanding of musical allegory to which he concluded as a result of his research. The review approaches also and scrutinizes
s contribution on the level of musical analysis that illuminates the musical tradition in which
s cantatas are placed, their relation to Lutheran theology, as well as the specific place that Bach occupies in the process of transition from modality to tonality with his unique capability of composing and compiling the most diverse ideologies in a contrapuntal interaction.