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Classical Guitar Lessons: Bach: Prelude from Cello Suite No.1 BWV 1007

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Johann Sebastian Bach's prelude from the
first cello Suite.
Very popular piece with guitarists.
Of course, as you've seen, we're getting a
lot of the,
the greatest hits here in the curriculum.
This is a, a piece that has, that contains
a little bit of mystery because of,
of the phrasing and, and how to do it,
and, but, I wanna, I,
I'd like to take a little bit of that some
of that mystery away with,
with this piece, and then just show you a
couple tips here and there.
And some damping, and building the second
This we, we covered, I actually used the
example of the first four measures
of this piece in in a lesson on phrasing.
And so the first four measures are pretty
easy to phrase because
Bach does his typical thing of having four
bars where the first bar is tonic
the second is a four chord, the third bar
is a the five chord and
then the fourth bar is once again, the one
quarter, the tonic.
And [SOUND] that's his way of just kind of
getting your ears accustomed to the key,
and also the texture, and what you're
about to hear.
And then from there it's a very typical
Bach, he kind of explores other key areas.
It's after that measure four where there's
different opinions or a lot of confusion
as to how to phrase.
But if you really look at the structure of
the piece
there's a couple two-five-one turn-arounds
if you will, what they call in jazz.
But basically two-five-one chord
progressions that you can,
you should feel free to, to come down
dynamically for
the two crescendo through the five, and
arrive at the one chord.
And a couple of those places I'm thinking
of would be,
let's see well measures eight through 11,
we have B minor.
So when the B minor
is the, is the, sorta the two chord,
we basically have a two-five-one and A
So B minor
E may, E major
becoming dominant seven.
The dominant seven relationship.
And then arriving at the A, at A minor.
And so those kinda phrases, whenever you
see a two-five-one in there,
I think you can feel, you know, feel free
to go ahead and phrase right through that.
Then there are other more simple phrases,
which is having kind of a dominant tonic
relationship, or a five-one relationship
like this here.
That's really another two-five-one,
A diminished two chord
going to B dominant seven.
And then cadence in E minor.
I do you can steal this from me in terms
of arrangement.
I like the,
the D sharp low in the bass like this,
then I resolve it step-wise upward, and
then go up an octave, then continue
step-wise for
the two-five-one, and then down.
For that phrase,
the cadence is in B minor.
So there's just a lot of phrases that,
that, that cadence to a certain chord, and
they have all these two-five-one
So, I mean, I think you can phrase it
There's a damping, this is a good,
there's a good damping exercise here in
measure 20.
20, 20 and 21.
Sorry, playing the wrong bass note there.
Let's see where, let me start from the
measure before.
I like to make this da da de da da da more
like a, a melodic line,
rather than a chordal thing where I'm
ringing certain notes over other notes.
So how you do that is, this is a left hand
damp, which is something more of an
advanced move, but you can kind of,
you can use this passage to get used to
this and try, try to practice it.
as I place the second finger on the C
sharp, this is measure 20.
I use my this part of my first finger as a
kind of an arched bar,
kind of a hinge sort of thing with my,
with my hand, and
then as I play the C sharp, as I come down
with the C sharp, I,
I damp the open B string that I just
played before with my first finger.
So that's a good example of a left hand
which we'll cover in more of the advanced
It gives it more of a cleaner,
more melodic sound.
And then the same thing happens in the
next measure, measure 21.
If you like ringing that whole chord
that's fine.
That's a nice, that's a nice sound on its
own as well [SOUND], but
just remember that [SOUND] the chord
itself in measure 21
[SOUND] is A dominant seven, with the
seventh in the base [SOUND],
which with Bach is usually a, more of a,
it's a momentous kind of chord.
And [SOUND] B doesn't really belong to it,
you know.
So ringing it I think, really does sound
Kinda modern actually, if you want to put
a new sort of sound on it.
But if you like to damp it, it's the same
Zero-two, zero-two.
And when you play the second, the C sharp
with the second finger,
at the moment you play it with the right
you damp with this hingy kind of, this bar
hinge with the first finger.
Okay, good.
One more point.
The piece is cut into two, you know, big
sections, really.
If you can look at the form that way.
All these phrases that cadence and build
and go into different key areas of
the first section, that culminates in this
in this aforementioned A dominate seven
To just this single high A here.
That cleaves the piece in two equal parts
right there.
I think that's something very special
about this prelude.
From then on, the second section is,
is what is known as a a dominant pedal
So, we hear a lot of melodic material over
a continuous A in the bass.
And so the A being the dominant of D
[SOUND] we think of this as a dominant
So all the while, the chords are changing
over the A but
the A of course being a pedal, remains the
And, and that was a technique in the
Baroque era, that you could, you could
actually superimpose over other harmonic
information, over this dominant pedal.
And then it kinda so this, that whole
section from 22,
I recommend you start playing very softly
at measure 22, and
build all the way through to about measure
where there's something of a valley if you
will, dynamically.
At that point, you can come down really
See how softly you can play while still
maintaining a good sound.
And then it starts to build again.
And then comes down again dynamically.
And then for the final push right here,
which I like playing in sixths.
And that prelude
should finish strong,
almost triumphant
sounding I think,
if, if you like.
So that, so the piece really has some,
some peaks and valleys, but
ultimately, it's, it's finishing at the
And, and, with the feeling of, of
In another video, there'll be a lesson on
the performance of this piece.