Christian Gotthilf Tag, Befiehl du deine Wege

in Music2 months ago (edited)

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It's already more than a year ago I published something from Christian Gotthilff Tag. And there are a few more of his compositions available in manuscript form or in the form of an early edition. So, to make a good start of 2021, here is a newly typeset score of one of Tag's choral preludes.


The melody is perhaps best known as belonging to the text "O Haupt ful Blut und Wunden", but it was in fact used for several chorals. "Befiehl du deine Wege" is one of them.

One of the beautiful characteristics of this melody is that it does not firmly belong to one of our modern tonalities, as it was written in one of the old church modes (Phrygian). It is possible to harmonize it as a melody in a major scale, but it is equally possible to harmonize it as a melody in a minor scale. Tag emphasises this by constantly flipping between E flat major and c minor. The introduction and the final coda are written in firm E flat major, however. Almost as if Tag wanted the counterweigh the tonal duality of the choral melody.

The recording was done with the Hauptwerk software and the sampleset, made by Sonus Paradisi, of the Schittger organ in the St. Martini-kerk, Groningen (

Score available here:

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Hi @partitura!

Great work from you as always. I didn't know about that old church modus Phrugian. I would just say that it oscillated between E flat Major and C Minor. Thanks for the information. 😀

I observed your left hand and its independence. I think I have my right hand a lot more dominant than the left. You just play whenever you have to switch hands with the same ease! 👌

Ah, minor typo on my part: should be Phrygian. I'll correct it.

As for left hand independence, I think I'm lucky to be left-handed. My left hand is more agile than the right hand by nature. As I started out as pianist, I've played lots and lots of exercises (Czerny and such) aimed at right hand dexterity. As a result both hands are about equally agile.
And that's very handy (pun intended) for organ music with it's often polyphonic nature.

I hadn't noticed your left hand being weak in your performances, so I'll just have to take your word for it 😀

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So it was Phrygian! Than it has sense 😁

Hahahah, I am jealous now 🤣 I have many pianist friends who are left handed, and than the majority of the literature is for developing the right hand, so you are lucky guys !! 😜

My left is not so weak, but I do feel the difference between my two hands.

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