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Bach Suites

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by dragonetti11, Mar 15, 2003.

  1. dragonetti11


    Jun 20, 2002
    -- Bach Suites --

    What do you think--
    to play in solo tuning or to not play in solo tuning?

    Gary Karr--solo tuning
    Edgar Meyer--solo tuning
    --I'm not sure about others--
  2. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Solo tuning?.......how's about alternative tuning? I don't know what specific tuning Karr uses, but I know that Meyer uses non-standard tuning. It facilitates a more open sound and eases fingering.

    So, that might be the more appropriate query.
  3. George F. Schmidtt

    George F. Schmidtt

    Dec 21, 1999
    The beauty of the Bach Suites is that you can pretty much play them any way you feel sounds good to you. I was brought up playing the Sterling Editions in "orchestral" tuning but if the bass sounds better with "solo" tuned strings, go for it. I've recently been playing the Kurtz edition at cello pitch and it's provided excellent upper position exercises - although I needed to adjust my action to spend time up there. Just for kicks I'll occasionally play the Kurtz edition an octave lower. It's not something I'd do regularly but it provides some challenges all it's own when you're playing in the heavier lower strings. As the previous post said, you if you want to start going with alternate string tunings you can experiment with playing the Suites in Keys other than the usual Kurtz (traditional cello) or Sterling (traditional bass)and you need not worry about having to transpose the piano or orchestra part.
  4. Dondi


    May 3, 2003
    I grew up playing the Sterling edition, which changes the original keys, but I just found an edition that doesn't change the keys. Its a PWM (polskie wydawnictwo muzyczne) edition. I' finding it quite a challenge.
  5. contrabajisimo

    contrabajisimo Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    I'm studying the 2nd Suite in the normal bass register (low E to middle G "harmonic"), I just read that a lot of people are doing it in "pitch" but I just started on thumb position... so my question is... how normal is that to play the Suite in the bass register? Any ideas?
  6. I've got the Baerenreiter Uertext edition which is the most true the original composition publication available. I recommend learning at cello pitch rather than one of the transcribed versions. It won't be long till everyone is playing these at original pitch. That is unless one needs to play a specific edition for audition purposes of course. Solo tuning or orchestral tuning is a matter of personal preference since the suites are unaccompanied. Most solo stuff sounds best in solo tuning IMO since the bass sounds more open and less labored. Edgar myer uses solo tuning except for the bottom string which is E. This is the appoach I use for solo tuning as well since the bass resonates better that way, and most solo stuff rarely goes down to the low string anyway. It also makes it easier to change strings since you can leave the E string alone. Edgar also uses an extension where appropriate to get certain other low notes like CC and DD and their octave harmonics I think.
  7. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    sorry for an of thread question, and for my ignorance but I've only very recently started playing any classical music at all.
    What is solo tuning?
  8. dragonetti11


    Jun 20, 2002
    F#BEA v.s. EADG
  9. A different kind of string set meant to be tuned a whole step higher, with a correspondingly "edgy" degree of brilliance and volume. Mainly for playing as a soloist "against" an orchestra.

    as someone hinted,
    The G string is now up to A,
    the D is E,
    A is up to B
    low E up to F#
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The problem is with the Piano part!.. Like with the Dragonetti, the Piano is written in A and the Bass is written in G. If you play alone, regular tuning is fine but if your playing with Piano accompaniment then you need solo strings one step higher.......
  11. Ken - I'm sure you're aware that the Bach suites for unaccompanied cello require no piano part. ;) There are also Orchestra tuning piano parts for several of the common pieces in the repertoire. Furthermore, there is a website which someone here pointed out has free midi files of accompaniments to scads of bass lit which you can download, and you could run them through your notation software if you needed to change the key. I know that when I was a student, the published piano parts in standard tuning were a better option than shelling out for another set of strings, plus the hassle of having to switch back and forth.
  12. the great thing about the cello suites, is that you can play them a million ways... solo, no solo, loud, soft, fast slow etc... people have different views as to how they should be played... wow. what great music. I love the fact that the music let's us decide how to play the suites. I saw a master class with 4 great cellists and they all argued about how bach should be played, and they all said different things, yet they were all right.
  13. contrabajisimo

    contrabajisimo Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    yeah, it's an amazing experience to be ABLE to play these.
  14. I would argue the same could be said about all of J. S. Bach's musicÂ…

    - Wil
  15. contrabajisimo

    contrabajisimo Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    how many of you play the Suites in the thumb position regardless of the tuning?
  16. As of yet I have only attempted prelude to number 1, but I tend to play this mostly across the fingerboard in thumb position rather than shifting a lot. I play at cello pitch and use the open G string wherever possible.
  17. I'm considering playing one of the Bach Cello suites for an upcoming audition. I'm clueless about this sort of thing, I do know that it drops below my open tuning range, i was just looking for some suggestions on the best way to deal with this. Transpose the key? move up on the neck? Alternate tuning? combinations? is there any sheet music for it particularly on bass? any advice is welcome.
  18. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    The Peters edition is transposed for DB. You don't need to change the scordatura to play the suites in that edition.
  19. a. meyer

    a. meyer

    Dec 10, 2004
    portland, oregon
    It depends on what you want to do with them. One and two are relatively friendly (not to say easy) when played "at pitch" in standard tuning; in other words, at the cello pitch level in thumb position. There are lots of open strings and harmonics there to help out. Three is hard in standard tuning (many play it in G maj. instead of C maj.); four might be impossible. I haven't even looked at six. I'm working on five in standard tuning with the C on my extension open, reading mostly up an octave but dropping the low C whenever possible. This is strictly a hobby of mine, and a way of improving my C string technique. Maybe I'll be able to perform it someday but I'm just enjoying the struggle for now. I see no reason to use solo tuning to play any of the suites. F#BEA tuning is only used when you have to be heard over an orchestra. If you are going to re-tune, use a tuning that gives you as many open strings and harmonics as possible. Have fun and be fearless! If you are new to thumb position, the first suite is a great way to find your way around up there. Have fun and be fearless!
  20. Thanks for the reply guys, but I'm having trouble finding the peters edition. Can you tell me who's the publisher?

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