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Bach Cello Suites Harmonic Analysis

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Music_for_life, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Music_for_life


    Aug 6, 2010
    How can we as bas players use this material applying harmony to know how the music was composed???
    I want to know the baroque forms of music and composing using this suites... From a bassist perspective we lack of books that deal with this type of information...And instead we use this books as patterns within a tonality...What can you recommend???
  2. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    Right! ....you need to learn classical style analysis! Right now i have no books to recommend cause i learned this in university 15 years ago ...but if you google Classical
    Music Harmonic Analysis you should find a wealth of info.
  3. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    From what I recall of the first cello suite the opening line is a G Major arpeggio, followed by a CMaj/G to a Dmaj/A. I-IV-V baby nicely voice led. Probably not coincidentally "Classical Thump" by Victor Wooten follows the same progression with the same voicings.

    Stay Brown,
    Rev J
  4. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    markjsmithbass and angryclown5 like this.
  5. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    When I teach the Prelude of the first Cello Suite, I point out things like the movement from tonic to dominant back to tonic, and the accompanying analysis of the register starting from very wide and open arepeggios, to very narrow scales, to open arpeggios again. The reason I do this is because Bach did this: he establishes a baseline (tonic, arpeggios), creates tension (dominant, scales, culminating in a chromatic scale), and releases that tension (tonic, arpeggios). After I show my students that framework, we go in and look at what's happening on a microscopic level (usually for the benefit of their reading and analysis skills). What you need to do as a musician is to see the big picture (the tonic-dominant-tonic scheme, or open-narrow-open, or calm-tense-calm, or ABA, or whatever). Then, you can start looking at the nuances that make up the details of that story. Patterns like the ones I discussed above are omnipresent in Western music, and even in non-Western music to certain extents; you would do well to learn how to spot them.
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  6. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    A very musical approach to theory. Are you aware of Schenker Analysis? He has a whole system for this kind of thinking.
  7. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    I'm vaguely aware of Schenkerian analysis, but I know little of it beyond this thing:


    Maybe I should look into Schenker a bit more.
  8. zoom14st


    Apr 14, 2015

    J.S.Bach Cello Suite V is written in 'scordatura' (i.e. different tuning) at CGDG. But the music is in 'written' -- not 'sound', therefore if you play it with other instrument needs to be transcribed to 'sound' notation.

    I had spare time to transcribed it, took even more time to entering it to score. Enjoy.

    Bach Cello Suite V Sound Transcript

  9. Schenkerian Analysis is great. Some of the background lines you uncover can really change the way you hear some melodies and progressions.
    BassChuck likes this.