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J.S. Bach technique

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by EFischer1, Oct 7, 2002.

  1. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I am playing the gigue from the Bach first cello suite and was wondering if anyone had suggestions about phrasing, dynamics, TRILLS, or otherwise. Thanks
  2. Groovski


    Sep 20, 2002
    My happy place
    Way above my head buddy, Sorry. Maybe you can answer my question on hand position.
  3. Buy a copy of the Suites that has the manuscript version available. Try the one published by International Music for cello, (editor: Kurtz) it has the "Anna Magdelena" manuscript on one page, then a cleaned-up modern-printing version on the opposite page.

    That way you can look at "the original" and see what slurr/phrase marks were in the "original" and go from there.

    As far as trills, et cetera, they're pretty much not needed; Bach wrote all the embellishments into the music. A more creative way of approaching this might be to try to write-out the melodys and BassNotes throughout each movement - get rid of all the other notes. So you have to decide which of Bach's notes are essential, and which ones are ornamental. Here's a hint: about 60% of the notes are ornamental.
    Now play "just the melody" a few times, then go back to playing all the notes and see how "having discovered the melody" affects your phrasing and dynamics.
  4. George F. Schmidtt

    George F. Schmidtt

    Dec 21, 1999
    You didn't mention which version of the Gigue you're using - I assume that you're using the Peter's Edition transcribed by H. Samuel Sterling. KPO offered some excellent advice to which I would add, for the Gigue, try to play it at tempo - marked a dotted 1/4=100 - and as you approach this tempo, everything else will take care of itself. There is no one wat to play the Bach Suites but for ideas, try to listen to some recordings of cellists to see how they phrase the passages, starting with a couple by Casals and Starker. Avoid modeling your prasing from the recodings of the Suites by the "esteemed" bass solosts. Technically they are phenomenal but as someone remarked, without an accompanist, the Bach Suites leave you very exposed.
  5. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    kpo, are you suggesting that he do a reduction a la H. Schenker? The way I did it was to do a counterpoint evaluation. I pinpointed the soprano line and isolated that as well as doing the same thing with the bass line. I found that dealing with these suites in terms of linear harmony gave me a much more concrete sense of how to tackle them then just sitting down and playing.
  6. Yes, and yes.
    First pick out what is the melody and then pick out what chord it is (the "Schenker" aspect), so you can pick the right bass note. Eliminate all the notes that aren't melody or bass note (which, peculiarly, leaves OUT a fair amount of the sporano and "bass"/lowest notes), and then you have the basic structure, which will illuminte the phrasing and "linear harmony".
    But it is most essential that you at least start with an "original" manuscript part, rather than an "edition".

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