Sep 18, 2014

The finale (6th suite: Gigue)

6th Suite  in D major  BWV 1012



Bar 8, 4th note: Most editions show e according to Anna Magdalena Bach (AMB) (and Sources C and D):

But it is probably a mistake because the 7th chord of next bar requires c-sharp as a preparation of suspension. Only Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA/1879) take c-sharp according to Kellner:


   BGA (but the chord of next bar is a mistake since Paris first edition):

I show you the harmony reduction for easy understanding:

A similar example from the Allemande of the 6th Suite (bar 6, 2nd and 3rd beats):

Bar 18, 2nd half: Some editions take e, c-charp, e in 8th notes according to AMB (and Sources C and D). But I think it is AMB's error. I can't prove it but I can't find any reason to modify from charming figuration same as bar 2 into three 8th notes. They are too poor, dull, unnatural. So I took Kellner's figuration.

   AMB (2nd bar of figure below):


Sep 5, 2014

Two forgotten sharps (6th Suite)


6th Suite  in D major  BWV 1012


in Sarabande

Bar 31: 1st bass note is g-sharp, not g (c-sharp, not c in G major). We see it in Kellner's copy. Anna Magdalena has forgotten to write it.

   Kellner's copy (attention! the first bar (bar 30) is the alto clef):

in Gavotte 1

In this case, we see it in Anna Magdalena's copy. Bar 7: First bass note is e-sharp, not e (a-sharp, not a in G major) although most editors of Cello Suites neglect it. (But the highest note of the last chord is a mistake. It is not e, but c-sharp)

Both sharps form natural chromatic processions of bass and both sharps are so charming, aren't they?

In the case of Sarabande, it corresponds to preceding chromatic procession of bass (bar 28 - 29).

   Gavotte 1:

It is very interesting that all the later sources are different from each other about bar 31 of Sarabande.

   Source C:

   Source D:

    Paris first edition (same as Anna Magdalena):

We can imagine Source G (the matrix of these three sources; see Preface) was the same as Anna magdalena. But the copyists of Sources C and D were not content with it. Yes, they are right. I show you last three bars of Anna Magdalena's copy (= Source G) by omitting all the rests and anticipations.

We understand easily that extended g of bass is too long, unnatural. It must be changed into another note at the second bar. The copyists of Sources C and D tried each solution. Paris first edition (and naturally Source E) did not change it.

Two neglected g (6th Suite: Prélude)


6th Suite  in D major  BWV 1012



Bar 86, last note: Here, I took g (c in G major) according to Kellner. I think Anna Magdalena has mistaken. It is a little thing, so a (d in G major) is also possible but g is more natural than a. 

Bar 91, last note: 4 manuscript copies show (c  in G major) unanimously.
What a beautiful 7th note it is! Why most editions took a, except Bazelaire and Henle edition? It is a shameful tradition from Paris first edition!


   Anna Magdalena:

   Source C:

   Source D:

   Paris First Edition (written an octave higher):

Sep 4, 2014

The 6th Suite isn't difficult

The 6th suite was written for 5-string instrument tuned in c-g-d-a-e. Therefore it is too difficult to play it with normal 4-string cello. So I transposed it in G major, fifth lower than original.

It will be very practical not only for amateurs but also for professional cellists and if you have a chance to play 5-string cello, the fingerings for 4-string can also be applied to 5-string.

Now, the 6th Suite isn't difficult. Let's try it!

6th Cello Suite transposed in G major (without slurs) edited by Shin-Itchiro Yokoyama PDF

With Lute arrangement (5th Suite)


5th Suite  in C minor  BWV 1011



Bar 5, 2nd beat (3rd quarter note), we find this "turn" in Anna Magdalena's copy.

Most editions (except Markevitch and Bärenreiter scholarly critical edition) mistook it for quarter rest, but Bach called it "cadence" in the "Explication" in his "Notebook for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach".

 Anna Magdalena's quarter rest is like below; it is completely different from "turn".

   an example of execution:

   this is the same rhythm as bar 7:

From bar 43 to bar 46, it is a little complicated. Kellner and Anna Magdalena are the same, so we can say that is Bach's thought. But the arrangement for lute by Bach himself (BWV 995) is different from them.

I show you another score for better understanding.

Please look at the large noteheads. In Kellner and Anna Magdalena, they are e-flat, e-natural and d-flat, d-natural. In lute arrangement, e-natural, e-natural and d-natural, d-natural. Both are logical and both are beautiful. So we need not change the notes.

Bach did not arrange the 5th suite for lute faithfully. Its typical example is the last chord of Prelude. In Cello Suite, it is major chord but in Lute Suite, minor !

Bar 193, 3rd note, most editions take g according to Anna Magdalena. But Kellner and Lute arrangement show a-natural. Therefore I take a-natural. I suppose Anna Magdalena corrected it from g to a (look at the notehead, she has rewritten it) but she had forgotten to add an accidental.



Bar 25, there are two problems.

1. First bass note: See the article "The bizarre chord ?"

2. After the chord above: the rhythm of c-d-b is two 16th notes and a 8th note, not a 8th note and two 16th notes. Kellner and Lute arrangement are the same, therefore it is indisputable.

   Lute arrangement:


   Source C:

   Source D:

Sep 2, 2014

Errata of the New Bärenreiter Urtext

Attention ! This article is about the "Scholarly Critical Performing Edition" of the New Bärenreiter Urtext (2000) of Bach's Cello Suites.

Bärenreiter published four editions of the Cello Suites:
   1. Bärenreiter Urtext edited by August Wenzinger (1950)
   2. New Bach Edition edited by Hans Eppstein (1988)
   3. The New Bärenreiter Urtext edited by Bettina Schwemer and Douglas Woodfull-Harris (2000)
   4. New bach Edition, Revised Edition edited by Andrew Talle (2016)
Please don't confuse them.

The "Scholarly Critical Performing Edition" shows the differences among all the four manuscripts and Paris first edition, such as:

This idea is very good, but the gravest error of this edition is to be too arbitrary. The editors say "Apart from correcting the obvious mistakes in the sources, the editors have done their utmost to remain as neutral as possible..." Oh no! They have omitted the most important things as shown below. It should be the users, not editors who decide which is error or which is true.


1st Suite  in G major  BWV 1007


From bar 33, 3rd beat: It neglects double stems (= double stoppings).
See the article "Neglected double stoppings"

   Grave error:

   Correction (the little staves were omitted):

Bar 26: Error:


Bar 27: Error:



Between bar 31 and 32: It neglects the half-bar (why!?).
See also the article "A strange half-bar"

   Grave error:


To be continued...