Hexachord fantasia

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

Hexachord fantasia in F Ionian

About this work

Built on a very simple theme, little more than an ascending and

descending chromatic scale, this is an exercise in ornamentation

and development.

Sweelinck explores the full range of the instrument (the organ) from

pedals to the top of the keyboard. He brings much variety to the

presentation, and some repetition. This piece doesn't modulate - change

key - and isn't strictly fugal, but the use of various stops (voices)

add interest. The rhythm is steady, the tempo doesn't change at all.

But the piece ends with fast runs of notes, by subdivision of the beat.

This is like geometry or plane-division,

like another Dutchman, M. C. Escher.