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Bach Suites again

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by t-bag, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. t-bag


    Oct 21, 2008
    I know the Bach Suites have been discussed to death but I still have a few questions. I know there are some bassists out there who only play the Bach Suites an at concert pitch (i.e. an octave above written pitch ). As a former cellist I have many (cello) editions of the Suites but I wanted to know in what other keys the Suites are played on bass. I have been listening to bassists on youtube play the Suites in many keys. When I think of playing the Suites on bass I think the best way is to have most of open strings, especially arpeggios, available to you, as a bassist.

    Anyway long story short how do you find the Suites best positioned on the bass, each one please.

    Thanks Tom
  2. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    I'm not sure what the point is of playing Bach at pitch, to be honest. I like to play the suites in keys where the real bass voice of the instrument shows. I have a student working on the 4th suite in a G major transcription.
  3. bassrome


    Jan 7, 2007
    New Jersey
    My feelings are that playing the Bach Cello Suites on the bass will teach you everything you need to know about playing the bass. It doesn't matter what key you play them in. In fact I think it's good to try them in different keys. I personally feel that transcribing them up a 5th (sounding down a 4th) makes the music more resonant on the bass. I've transcribed the 4th Suite up a major 7th to D major. If you tune up a half step it will sound at pitch and you will have the luxury of using a lot of open strings and harmonics that cellists cannot. Now, playing them in a recital is another question. It takes only the best to really pull that off.

  4. Most of the suites fit very well on the bass at pitch. There are tons of challenges, but that is what they are, challenging. I can see 4 and 5 transcribed in a different key But A minor is better for the 5th suite from what I have seen of transcriptions, and I haven't given the 4rth suite to much looks yet. The rest lay toooo well on the bass to transcribe. I don't think up a 5th is to good. The 3rd suite is popular in G and it sounds ok and plays ok in G. But it plays very well and lies very easy on the bass in C.
    I would play them and let them sound where they are supposed to be. It is 'cool' to play them when you are younger on the bass in lower keys, but when you are at the level where you want to transcribe them or have a 'bass' edition, then you probably shouldn't be playing them yet, except for the gratification of playing something that many people will recognize. Most of the Bach suites are not very physical. They are technically intricate, and require a greater sense of musicality.
    Don't start running through Bach way to soon. I have learned this the hard way. But if you choose to do Bach, you should be proficient enough with the bass to play it first, and you should take your time.
  5. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti

    Jun 7, 2005
    Dude. Come on.

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