This is a public version of the members-only Classical Guitar with Jason Vieaux, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Classical Guitar with Jason Vieaux.
Join Now

Basic Classical Guitar
Classical Guitar Reference Topics
Intermediate Classical Guitar
Advanced Classical Guitar
Special Guests
30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Classical Guitar Lessons: Bach: Courante from BWV 996

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Basic Classical Guitar

+Intermediate Classical Guitar

+Advanced Classical Guitar

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Classical Guitar

This video lesson is available only to members of
Classical Guitar with Jason Vieaux.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Classical Guitar with Jason Vieaux. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Classical Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
Hello, in this lesson,
we're going to study the Courante BWV 996
by Johann Sebastian Bach.
This is a particularly thorny piece
because it has a lot of notes,
a lot of ornaments and a lot, a wide
variance of subdivisions of the pulse.
And even the pulse itself is grouped into
two different meters.
Which is not indicated by your the number
three that you see
at the beginning of the piece, which is
indicating the, the time signature.
And it is vague for a reason because in
this French,
highly French stylized currant.
The, the, the French style was of course
to have a lot of ornamentation and
a lot more rhythmic complexity than say an
Italian [FOREIGN].
Which is more flowing.
Which is more straight eighth notes or
subdivisions of the pulse in a more of a
flowing style.
The three is just is, is a bit more vague.
You notice they don't say it's not marked
as three, two or six,
four, because it's both of them, depending
on the measure that,
that you feel, that, that you play.
And so I'm going to give you two examples,
that, where, where the measure and,
and these six quarter notes are grouped
into two, large beats.
In other words, six four, one and two and.
So, those, in other words,
the, those quarter notes are grouped into
two large dotted half notes.
And then, I'll give you another example of
a few measures that happen in a row where
those six quarter notes are grouped into
three equal beats of a half note each.
One and two and three and one.
So we'll go to measures those measures are
measures six, let's see.
No, the measures four, five, and six.
It's really the second phrase of the first
half of the Currant.
It starts at measure six.
And I'll play, I'll play a little bit
Tha, those measures are clearly grouped in
three half-note pulses.
The, so the, the, so the measures are
divided into three equal beats.
One, two, three,
one, two, three, one,
two, three, and one.
Now, the other, again, there's two types
of ways that these are grouped.
The other example is that, is in six-four.
Three-two the time signature of three-two
six-four have the same number of beats.
Six quarter notes.
This example here in measure 11.
You'll hear the beat emphasis shift to a
two-beat feel.
So clearly, even though it's not really
indicted by the time signature,
clearly that must be felt in a one and two
So that piece of information is essential
to understanding how to play the and
how to phrase it.
The other thing I would like you to study
in this and, and a way to
break it down a little bit and practice it
is to take the ornaments out first.
This, this piece had, there's a lot of
there's a lot of performances out there
that are not rhythmically very accurate.
And that's understandable.
I, its because its just very, very
As I said, if this were an essay, this,
this would have a lot of very
tough sentences that would be very
difficult to articulate.
A lot of sentences that are quite a
mouthful here.
So if you, if we take that.
Let's see, let's look for an example here.
If we take the first line, that first
like one of the toughest things in the
entire first lute suite.
If we take those ornaments away, it'll be
a lot easier to,
to be able to understand the rhythm as you
play it.
So for example, I'm taking the ornaments
out of measure one.
It would sound like, something like this.
And, actually, going on I'll continue to
play further.
So on and so forth.
And with some of those trickier measures
with a lot of ornaments in it,
it really helps to, it really helps me to
more clearly understand the rhythm.
And then you can practice those ornaments
on separately, one at a time.
You have that mordent in the beginning.
That second beat in the first measure's a
real bear.
It requires a very light touch.
By the way on the third beat,
on the third quarter note of measure one I
recommend I M A, P.
It's a little bit of a move that you kind
of, that you have to work with in the
right hand.
But it's really the only way to,
it's a really good way to get those super
quick 30 second notes out.
While you want to play that trill on beat
three fast enough.
See you have a little bit of wiggle room
to play the quick 30 second notes right
So there you have it.
That's a lesson on the courante from the
first Lutz suite BWV 996 by Bach.