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Bach Cello Suites

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by quindecima, Sep 11, 2018.


  1. quindecima

    quindecima

    Sep 18, 2016
    Oregon
    20180911_171826. I just got a copy of the suites by Hal Leonard and wanted to start with No. 6. I happened to glance at the Tab and noticed a discrepancy between the notation and the tab and I have included a pic. why, in the first measure does the tab show a different procedure than the notation? ie. the notation is D,D,D etc but the Tab shows a open D and a 5th fret D, what is the reasoning behind this? Also, what is the number 2 in front of the second D in the triplet? I can find no reference to number 2 at the bottom of the score or appendix.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  2. CaseyVancouver

    CaseyVancouver

    Nov 4, 2012
    Play that D with your second finger.

    The Bach Cello Suites are a big deal. Interpretation, timing, intonation if you are on fretless, dynamics, they require everything. Really advanced stuff.

    Here is my favorite bassist Rinat Ibrigamov demonstrating what I mean about the Suites. Have fun exploring them.

     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
    GrooverMcTube, Jones64 and MarkA like this.
  3. ChrisDev

    ChrisDev Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2009
    Belgium
    Ritter Instruments Team & Owner BassLessons.be
    There's someone at Hal Leonards who's too lazy to double-check the tabs. Try all open, or all 5th fret and see what works best for you
     
    Luigir likes this.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Bach wrote it that way on purpose. Alternating between fingered notes and open strings gives an interesting musical texture. The Cello Suites are larded with this technique, starting with a famous example in the opening G Major Prelude. The technical term is bariolage: Bariolage - Wikipedia

    The number 2 is a fingering suggestion to use your 2nd (middle) finger to fret the D at the 5th fret. This puts your hand in position to use your 1st finger for the F# and your 4th finger for the A and high D.

    The Hal Leonard arrangement has some pretty big differences from the original version as written by Bach. If you fall in love with this music, I recommend eventually learning the original cello version as well. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  5. MarkA

    MarkA I believe in countermelody. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I would listen to some cello recordings of the pieces (I'll recommend those by Bylsma, Rostropovich, and Fournier, off the top of my head, for three mature but different takes on the pieces), among other study. I'd also pick up a copy of the sheet music as originally written for cello so that you can compare with the Hal Leonard version that you have.

    Edgar Meyer has recorded some of the Suites on doublebass. I know that John Patitucci did at least some on electric bass, but I'm not familiar with his versions (aside from a Suite 1 Prelude on youtube).
     
  6. quindecima

    quindecima

    Sep 18, 2016
    Oregon
    I'm a big fan of Yo Yo Ma, I may even have his CD in my classical collection. I'll check it out
     
  7. MarkA

    MarkA I believe in countermelody. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I like Yo-Yo's recording (actually, he did a couple -- I have the first) of the Suites, too, though I haven't listened to it in awhile. It was the first that I heard. :) These are deep pieces -- they can be approached on a number of levels, but there is a lifetime (multiple lifetimes) of exploration in there, if you are up for it.

    There is a Rostropovich DVD documentary where he talks about the Suites and performs them -- very worthwhile insights/perspectives in that one.
     
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    It's a fingering suggestion and I, for one' agree with it.

    When plucking or tapping the same not in the same place, there will be a staccato effect due to the slight muting involved by either lifting yiur tapping finger or "pulling" the string with your plucking finger.

    Using the method suggested here, you can literally have exactly zero space betweeen the two notes, drastically smoothing out the performance.
     
    Rayjay likes this.
  9. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Precisely.
     
  10. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    My favorite recording of these is the Janos Starker from 1997. Starker took liberties with tempo that gave that recording a different flavor.

    I'm sure everyone knows that Patitucci did the G Major prelude on the "Heart of the Bass" album. It's fine.
     
  11. quindecima

    quindecima

    Sep 18, 2016
    Oregon
    I'm actually starting into these a little early in my Bass career, I played 99% classical when I played Piano but at my age now I have trouble with finger extension and 45 years of construction have not been good to my hands BUT that is not a deterrent for me I will plug on and I will learn two or three of them.
     
    Michael F Clef likes this.
  12. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Morro Bay, CA
    This. Also, these cello suites were written for...cello! To be played arco, with a bow. So plucking/pizzicato are not considerations in this specific section. Cello suites with TAB, never thought of that!!!
     
  13. ChrisDev

    ChrisDev Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2009
    Belgium
    Ritter Instruments Team & Owner BassLessons.be
    For cello yes, this is a bass book.
     
  14. CaseyVancouver

    CaseyVancouver

    Nov 4, 2012
    The Bach Cello Suites have been discussed extensively over at the double bass side. Lot of very experienced folks have commented.
    Here is one thread:

    What is it about Bach Cello Suites?

    David Potts, the OP of the above post, is a symphony pro.
     
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  15. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Morro Bay, CA
    ...of a piece written for cello. It is written (even this Hal Leonard edition) to be alternating strings on that part. Which answers the OP’s question as to why the TAB is different than the notation. It isn’t different. It accurately shows what is written and how to play it. And it’s written that way by Bach because of the unique sound from alternating strings while bowed. Pizz also gets a similarly unique sound from bouncing the same note back and forth across two different strings. But this pizz sound effect is not why this selection of this piece is notated that way in this Bass book. It’s because that’s how Bach wrote it for arco cello.
     
  16. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    My 'cello version (Barenreiter) shows it like this, with up and down stems, in the same way as T and B are separated in grand-stave SATB.
    20180912_201127.
    This is a similar section from Prelude 1, which we all know...
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Ethan Block

    Ethan Block

    Aug 14, 2017
    Chicago, IL
    The reason for the odd figering has to do with the tone of the open string vs the fingered string. It is common in classical music to pick (more) difficult fingerlings to achieve the desired tone.

    JS Bach was a baroque composer who composed music for baroque instruments, to state the obvious. The way these instruments were played was very different from their modern counterparts. The upbow was weak and quiet, the downbow was attacked and loud. It is likely that Hal Leonard wrote the first measure that way to mute the upbow.
     
  18. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Here's the "easy" one: the prelude in G. It's been keeping me busy for several years now, and I've still got a long way to go. I like the beat-up Precision.

     
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  19. Fragile Thunder

    Fragile Thunder self-proclaimed

    Jan 2, 2014
    Central NY
    I've always enjoyed listening to Pablo Casals play these.
     
  20. MarkA

    MarkA I believe in countermelody. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Can't believe I forgot Casals! One of my heroes and arguably the man responsible for rescuing these wonderful pieces from obscurity, if not oblivion.

    Worth noting: the pieces were originally written for cello (and that is how I most strongly identify with them), but Bach himself transcribed them for lute.
     

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