An extract on #fenerli
The aria is a sarabande in 3/4 time, and features a heavily ornamented melody:
The French style of ornamentation suggests that the ornaments are supposed to be parts of the melody; however, some performers (for example Wilhelm Kempff on piano) omit some or all ornaments and present the aria unadorned.
Peter Williams opines in Bach: The Goldberg Variations that this is not the theme at all, but actually the first variation (a view emphasising the idea of the work as a chaconne rather than a piece in true variation form).
The first of the regular canons, this is a canon at the unison: the follower begins on the same note as the leader, a bar later. As with all canons of the Goldberg Variations (except the 27th variation, canon at the ninth), there is a supporting bass line. The time signature of 12/8 and the many sets of triplets suggest a kind of a simple dance.
Like the passepied, a Baroque dance movement, this variation is in 38 time with a preponderance of quaver rhythms. Bach uses close but not exact imitation: the musical pattern in one part reappears a bar later in another (sometimes inverted).
Each repeated section has alternate endings for the first or second time.
The sixth variation is a canon at the second: the follower starts a major second higher than the leader. The piece is based on a descending scale and is in 38 time. The harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick describes this piece as having "an almost nostalgic tenderness". Each section has an alternate ending to be played on the first and second repeat.
This is another two-part hand-crossing variation, in 34 time. The French style of hand-crossing such as is found in the clavier works of Francois Couperin is employed, with both hands playing at the same part of the keyboard, one above the other. This is relatively easy to perform on a two-manual harpsichord, but quite difficult to do on a piano.
Most bars feature either a distinctive pattern of eleven sixteenth notes and a sixteenth rest, or ten sixteenth notes and a single eighth note. Large leaps in the melody occur. Both sections end with descending passages in thirty-second notes.