RegisterLoginFAQ

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

You should only play pieces that you’re willing to marry.

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Nov 03 13, 4:08 pm


It's been a while since I've posted on the forum. Life has been quite busy since the start of the summer. However, I played a concert last night at the Talent Education Suzuki School, where I'm the Chair of the Guitar Department. Here's a video from that concert.

It's the Prelude from the 1st Cello Suite by Bach. A piece that is played often, and hundreds upon hundreds of versions can be seen on youtube. I like to think that mine is a bit unique. Like the Sarabande and Gigue videos I posted before this, it's in A major, which to me really brings a different quality to the suite. Enjoy!

phpBB [video]




Nick Cutroneo
 
Posts: 131
Joined: Oct 30 2012
United States (us) Manchester, CT
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by Paul McGuffin » Nov 04 13, 7:29 am


Not sure how I feel about the key you used, but I like your phrasing. Nice hold there, in the middel part. Most player run through the piece like a house on fire.
PM




Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability....
User avatar
Paul McGuffin
 
Posts: 424
Joined: Mar 15 2013
United States (us) Gadsden Purchase, AZ
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by Jack o' Diamonds » Nov 04 13, 12:06 pm


Prefer Duarte's drop D transcription especially his minor 3rd extravaganza from bar 37 onwards.




Jack o' Diamonds
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Aug 16 2013
United Kingdom (uk) North East
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Nov 07 13, 6:03 am


Paul McGuffin wrote in Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude:Not sure how I feel about the key you used


Jack o' Diamonds wrote in Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude:Prefer Duarte's drop D transcription especially his minor 3rd extravaganza from bar 37 onwards.


My choice is keys directly relates to how I want the piece to be perceived. To me, placing the piece in D major simply makes it 'wimpy' sounding. And was one of the major factors of what I never got excited to learn the piece before. Sure, you are able to extend the lower range, add lots of counter lines to the piece and make it more of a lute/guitar performance. For some performers, this is what they want and play the piece quite effectively that way (note Barrueco's recording of this piece). Those extra basses and at times completely new contrapuntal lines certainly fill in the space left by placing the melody a 5th higher then the original pitch.

Using A major as the key places the melody in the same range as the original. Instead of a 5th higher and playing the melody mostly on the 2nd and 1st string, A major places the melody on the 2nd and 3 string mostly. Since the cello's range (string wise) is comparable to the guitar from strings 6-3 I find that A major fits to bring out the richness of the suite. Playing on the 1st string is equivalent to playing in the higher positions on the cello, however the melody is a fairly low register. I tune the low 6th string to D to reach the lower notes towards the middle of the piece. In the original cello version there's a 5th below the G (low C - the instrument's lowest pitch). With the D as the 6th string, I'm able to recreate the same movement from A down to the low D.

This transcription is more able bringing out the brilliance of the cello writing, rather then adding supportive lines to fill out the range. The different versions in D major are great, and serve a certain purpose. However, for me it's not how I envision the piece, which is why I chose to put it in A major.

As for the minor 3rd progression chromatically up the scale at the end of the piece, I must admit I tried something similar in my initial version. It make the section far too complicated, and I found I was able to achieve the same drama with being able to get a fat rest stroke sound and the range that the melody was placed (which is much lower then the D major versions). It would have been nice to add something like that in, but it was a compromise I had to make.


Paul McGuffin wrote in Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude:... but I like your phrasing. Nice hold there, in the middel part. Most player run through the piece like a house on fire.
PM


There are some great harmonic changes during the middle section of this piece, all under an E pedal. I've heard by several musicians that Bach was the 'jazzer' of his time, and this section certainly reminds me what Jazz players do, outlining chord changes through melodic passages of scales and arpeggios. To me, it's a great moment in the piece.




Nick Cutroneo
 
Topic Author
Posts: 131
Joined: Oct 30 2012
United States (us) Manchester, CT
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by ceciltguitar » Nov 07 13, 9:02 am


After hearing this tune played on the guitar in the key of D for decades, I finally heard it played on the cello in the original key of G a few years ago. At that point, I decided that I wanted to play it it G, which is easily accomplished by the almost-cello tuning of 5 = G and 6 = C.




ceciltguitar
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mar 08 2013
United States (us) East Coast
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by ceciltguitar » Nov 07 13, 9:06 am


I enjoyed listening to your performance! Thank you for sharing it.




ceciltguitar
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mar 08 2013
United States (us) East Coast
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by d.raleigh.arnold » Nov 07 13, 6:47 pm


You got the key right. Bach wrote it as a solo for a bass voice, and raising it only one step keeps its character. If you want to play Duarte, play Duarte's arrangement. If you want to play Ponce, play Segovia's arrangement. Etc. etc... In D, they're all arrangements, but they're not Bach. There is a published arrangement in C also, but why would anyone want to play that? If you are willing to essentially rewrite it, any key will do. Otherwise, i think best to stay close to G.

When I arranged it in A, I took advantage of another opportunity to use the intensity that you can get climbing up the 3rd string, and then did the same up the 4th. You did that only at the end. Try it, you'll like it. I'm sure you'll have no difficulty finding it, having a hint.

We are not the first to play it in A. I heard it a bit of it on the radio long ago, but I don't know who was playing. :-(
Regards, Rale




d.raleigh.arnold
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Oct 25 2012
United States (us) Idylwood, VA 22043
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Nov 07 13, 7:58 pm


ceciltguitar wrote in Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude:After hearing this tune played on the guitar in the key of D for decades, I finally heard it played on the cello in the original key of G a few years ago. At that point, I decided that I wanted to play it it G, which is easily accomplished by the almost-cello tuning of 5 = G and 6 = C.


I thought about that. In the end, I don't like how unstable the 6th string down to C sounded. I played a piece by Terry Riley which required my 6th string down to C (and 5 to G - although I think that was my tuning change), and found that the string was just too unstable for that low of a pitch. Any dynamic over a mf and you could hear the beats until the string stabilized. Plus keeping the 6th string in tune too a lot. Thus A major was my compromise.




Nick Cutroneo
 
Topic Author
Posts: 131
Joined: Oct 30 2012
United States (us) Manchester, CT
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by ceciltguitar » Nov 08 13, 8:42 am


The arrangement presented in the original post works well and was nicely performed! I agree that the key of A works well here.

A couple of things that I do to help with the 2 step change of intonation tuning 6 down to C, and to keep from spending too much time re-tuning:

- before tuning 6 down to C, play a couple of pieces with 6 = D and 5 = G.

- tune the 6th string about a quarter step below C, then stretch the string, then slowly bring the intonation all the way, or almost all the way almost all the way up to C.

- then, play two or three tunes using the same tuning.

The one other nice thing about playing the cello suites in their original keys is that you can play them straight off of the cello music - which has the added benefit (initially slows you down) of increasing familiarity with the bass clef.




ceciltguitar
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mar 08 2013
United States (us) East Coast
 

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Nov 08 13, 11:29 am


My current concert program does not allow for pieces in the tunings you are describing. If I was playing pieces like that I'm sure the keeping the 6th string stable wouldn't be a problem. However, it does not resolve the issue of the instability of the pitch when playing at a louder volume.

Either way, I don't keep a low D in the bass for all the movements. The Prelude, Allemande and Courante use the low D, but the Sarabande, Minuets and Gigue I tune back to E. Transcriptions are always about compromises and certainly I've had to make some.




Nick Cutroneo
 
Topic Author
Posts: 131
Joined: Oct 30 2012
United States (us) Manchester, CT
 

Next

Return to Performances & Music Discussion

Currently viewing: 0 members and 0 guests