Aug 31, 2014

A curious difference


2nd Suite  in D minor  BWV 1008


Bar 27, 3rd beat, 3rd note, all the 4 manuscripts shows g, not f as later printed editions.

Menuet 1

Bar 7, it is very curious the difference between Kellner and Anna Magdalena Bach (AMB).



This difference and others (such as Gigue's "half-bar" of 1st suite) lead us to the conclusion that Kellner and AMB copied from different autographs of Bach. Probably, Kellner copied from Bach's composing score and AMB from Bach's clean copy. Therefore we must think the differences between Kellner and AMB not only as problems of mistake but also as results of revision of Bach himself.

A strange half-bar (1st Suite: Gigue)

1st Suite  in G major  BWV 1007



Bar 32: We find this half-bar only in Anna Magdalena Bach's copy.

I think Bach added this half-bar to his autograph later.
I imagine the process as follows.

 Why did Bach add this half-bar?

Until the 6th phrase, each phrase consists of 4 bars. But the 7th phrase is interrupted at the 3rd bar suddenly (compare with the 3rd phrase). That create confusion about beat. In addition, because of the accents by the appoggiaturas of the second half of bar 29 and 30, we feel the reversion of downbeat and upbeat at the end of the 8th phrase.

Therefore the 9th phrase begins from the second half of bar 31 that is "downbeat". For this reason, Bach inserted later the half-bar as "upbeat". And with this half-bar, we can finish our 1st suite satisfactorily because the 9th phrase become complete 4 bars!

Rostropovich plays this half-bar in his video (at 15:35 and 16:04).

The "Hemiola" (1st Suite: Sarabande)


1st Suite  in G major  BWV 1007



Bar 11, 2nd beat: Most editions show the trill above the 8th note (b), but in the manuscripts of Kellner and Anna Magdalena, it is above the 16th note (a).

Here, we see a Hemiola (3 beats of half note in the 2 bars), so I think it is better the trill on the 16th note than on the 8th note.

Aug 29, 2014

Bach's "Calendar" (1st Suite: Prélude)

Bach's hidden numbers

We must notice the numbers about these double stoppings.
They begin at the bar 33, 3rd beat and continue during 3 bars (12 beats) and at the beginning, 3 notes must be played consecutively. What does it mean?

The number 3 means God (the Trinity), so here, Bach glorify God with these double stoppings.

And in this Prélude, how many bars are there?

Yes, there are 42 bars. What number is it, 42?
7x6? Yes, it is one of the answers because 7 is the number of perfection. And others?

I suppose you know very well that J.S. Bach loved numbers especially the number 14 because it is his number (B=2, A=1, C=3, H=8, 2+1+3+8=14).

Yes, 42=14x3. That means, I think, Bach (14) glorify God (3).

And that is not all. I hope you will study the structure of this Prélude by yourself before looking at the following diagram.

It is almost a miracle.

This Prélude really consists of 3 blocks of 14 bars!

This is the "Gloria" of Bach's Cello Suites!

Neglected double stoppings (1st Suite: Prélude)


1st Suite  in G major  BWV 1007



It is the greatest mystery of Bach's Cello Suites:
"Why did no cellist play them in double stopping for 200 years, from Dotzauer to our days ?"

From bar 33, 3rd beat to bar 36, 2nd beat: All the four manuscript copies show that the a notes must be played in double stopping because they have double stem. Especially at the beginning (bar 33, 3rd beat), 3 notes must be played in double stopping consecutively.


   Anna Magdalena Bach (AMB):

   Source C:

   Source D:

But Dotzauer published his edition in 1826 as follows. 

It is a complete misunderstanding but all the editions of 19th and 20th century such as Bach-Gesellschaft-Ausgabe, Wenzinger and even New Bach Edition (Hans Eppstein/1988) followed it until Werner Icking's edition appears in 1997 (!!!).


However, AMB's copy was published by Diran Alexanian in 1929. Since then, more than 80 years already passed. Why don't we yet play them in double stopping?

   Fingering suggestion:

If you are still doubtful about double stopping, Bach himself will answer to your question in his famous "Chaconne" for violin solo (BWV 1004).

From bar 173: I suppose there is no violinist who doesn't play the sixteenth notes in double stopping because they have double stem.

   J.S. Bach's autograph:

And if Bach wanted single stopping, he would write them like from bar 229.  It is just the same manner as Dotzauer !