Prelude from the Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major

Posted by Patrick Francis

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach has been widely transcribed for classical guitar, including a vast array of pieces originally written for solo cello, solo violin, lute, and keyboard. Over the years, Bach's suites for solo cello have been a favorite source of material for transcribers, not only because of Bach's compositional genius and the suites' beauty, but also because the works transfer relatively easily to the guitar. Such is the case with the Prelude from the Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, transcribed here and found on plenty of recorded interpretations by great classical players like Andrés Segovia and John Williams.

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Bach's brilliance, mastery of counterpoint, and single-line writing are highlighted in his solo string works, where a single line may imply two or three voices. The sparseness of this single-line texture invites guitarists to add bass notes, displace octaves in the bass line, and “fill in” chords. In this arrangement, the Prelude is transposed from the original key of G major to D major, using dropped-D tuning. I've tried to strike a balance between adhering to the original score and adapting the work as a transcription for solo guitar. My arrangement’s first six measures are shown here.

Excerpted from AG 191 November 2008

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