Tempo in Cello Suites

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ddray
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by ddray » Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:24 pm

I believe he means "we" as in "we who comment at this site". Several of us went over much of this same ground on another "Bach on the guitar" thread on some other subforum.

Conall
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Conall » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:13 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:17 pm
Conall wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:14 am
prawnheed wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:24 am
I’ve said this before, but I cannot stop myself from saying again how much I like these pieces played on the cello (whichever form) and how unsatisfying I find them for guitar. Beautiful rich textures vs plinky plonky.
I think we've had this discussion before.

The guitar will never have the resonance, power or expressive ability of the cello - but at least we can play the chordal movements pretty convincingly (especially the preludes of the 1st & 4th). In my opinion it also helps to play on an extended range guitar in order to play at the original piich or close to it (but Eb major of suite 4 is, predictably, pretty horrible - E is better on guitar if still very difficult. I intend to try it in D on an 11 string).
The Quechua language is interesting in the respect that there are two forms of the first person plural. There is an inclusive "we". and an exclusive "we" which does not encompass the person being addressed. I assume you are using the latter.
Ha ha - maybe, can't remember if I directly discussed with you personally but I do remember there was a lot of debate at one point on another thread about these suites & their suitability or otherwise on guitar & it was either your good self or another member who made a similar point about the superiority of them on cello compared to guitar. If it wasn't you I apologise!

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prawnheed
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by prawnheed » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:31 pm

Conall wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:13 pm
prawnheed wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:17 pm
Conall wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:14 am


I think we've had this discussion before.

The guitar will never have the resonance, power or expressive ability of the cello - but at least we can play the chordal movements pretty convincingly (especially the preludes of the 1st & 4th). In my opinion it also helps to play on an extended range guitar in order to play at the original piich or close to it (but Eb major of suite 4 is, predictably, pretty horrible - E is better on guitar if still very difficult. I intend to try it in D on an 11 string).
The Quechua language is interesting in the respect that there are two forms of the first person plural. There is an inclusive "we". and an exclusive "we" which does not encompass the person being addressed. I assume you are using the latter.
Ha ha - maybe, can't remember if I directly discussed with you personally but I do remember there was a lot of debate at one point on another thread about these suites & their suitability or otherwise on guitar & it was either your good self or another member who made a similar point about the superiority of them on cello compared to guitar. If it wasn't you I apologise!
I am the one to apologise as now you mention it, I do remember. The thread had a somewhat trollish title - “Bach on the guitar causes cancer.” or something like that.

Conall
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Conall » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:09 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:31 pm
Conall wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:13 pm
prawnheed wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:17 pm


The Quechua language is interesting in the respect that there are two forms of the first person plural. There is an inclusive "we". and an exclusive "we" which does not encompass the person being addressed. I assume you are using the latter.
Ha ha - maybe, can't remember if I directly discussed with you personally but I do remember there was a lot of debate at one point on another thread about these suites & their suitability or otherwise on guitar & it was either your good self or another member who made a similar point about the superiority of them on cello compared to guitar. If it wasn't you I apologise!
I am the one to apologise as now you mention it, I do remember. The thread had a somewhat trollish title - “Bach on the guitar causes cancer.” or something like that.
Aha! That does ring a bell! Well in (yet another probably repetitive) answer to that bold statement - thankfully it has not caused big C in my case as yet - but in contrast playing Bach on guitar (& a lot less well on piano) has helped to make my live worth living!

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prawnheed
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by prawnheed » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:20 pm

Conall wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:09 pm

Aha! That does ring a bell! Well in (yet another probably repetitive) answer to that bold statement - thankfully it has not caused big C in my case as yet - but in contrast playing Bach on guitar (& a lot less well on piano) has helped to make my live worth living!
I’m glad you’ve found something rewarding that is, at its worst, harmless to others.

Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone had the same skills and tastes.

Conall
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Conall » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:43 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:20 pm
Conall wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:09 pm

Aha! That does ring a bell! Well in (yet another probably repetitive) answer to that bold statement - thankfully it has not caused big C in my case as yet - but in contrast playing Bach on guitar (& a lot less well on piano) has helped to make my live worth living!
I’m glad you’ve found something rewarding that is, at its worst, harmless to others.

Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone had the same skills and tastes.
I'm not sure my wife would agree that my tortuous attempts at playing Bach's "48" on the piano are harmless....but thanks anyway.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Stephen Faulk » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:46 am

Bach on the guitar does cause cancer.

To guitarists, try getting the original score, forget about any bowing marks. Get any good score edited after 1955- before the Berenrieter edition of the mid fifties the fingering will be messed up.

Get a .056 wound bass string put it on where your bass E goes and then tune it to low two steps below your E string. Lower your regular A to G - leave your D as it is and raise a low tension G to A.

Then read the original score in bass clef and work out the various fingerings offered. Then you'll get a idea if how it works and why Bach made certain choices.

The reason the suites work is locked into the sonorities and pedal tones of fifths tuning.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Stephen Faulk » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:57 am

But please don't take my word for it. I only studied both instruments, cello and guitar to the level where I can play cello suites on both cello and guitar, so obviously I'm at a disadvantage to those who play the suites on piano, Indonesia nose flutes and guitars.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Stephen Faulk » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:00 am

I'll never say another word in the presence of the always correct and august guitar world.

Lol
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Conall
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Conall » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:10 am

Stephen Faulk wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:57 am
But please don't take my word for it. I only studied both instruments, cello and guitar to the level where I can play cello suites on both cello and guitar, so obviously I'm at a disadvantage to those who play the suites on piano, Indonesia nose flutes and guitars.
Nose flute? Now that would be interesting!

You have definitely an advantage if you can play the suites on both cello & guitar.

But do you play the 6th on 5 string cello? Or any of the suites on violoncello da spalla or violoncello piccolo - as suggested elsewhere above?!

While I agree the cello suites do sound better on cello or related instrument (viola is pretty nice too) I've come to the conclusion that no matter what instrument Bach wrote for all instruments have their advantages and disadvantages & restrictions. So just because Bach wrote them for cello or related instrument it doesn't necessarily mean that the limitations of the instrument (eg having only 4 strings if 4 string cello) allow the "ideal" production or interpretation of a phrase - which might in fact be better realised on another instrument. By "ideal" I mean if you were to take a phrase and think about how it would "best" sound on ANY instrument, it might not be realisable on cello but might work on a guitar, say. The inverted commas are there in recognition of the fact that "ideal" and "best" are subjective.

A simple example is block chords. Cello can't play all 4 notes of a chord together. It breaks chords in (in my opinion) a slightly ungainly fashion. Guitars can play all notes as a block or break chords in a "natural" sounding way (note the inverted commas).

My viola playing friend put it well recently: ' "Don't worry about whether your instrument is the original one or whether it is exactly what Bach would have wanted: choose a "good" arrangement & play it "beautifully" ' (my italics). As far as I'm concerned If I play a cello suite to my satisfaction that's all I really care about. If one other person likes it the way I play it, it's a bonus.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Stephen Faulk » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:07 pm

I see Bach writing for the tuning in regards to the violin and cello solo works. Including the violin accompanied sonatas and concerti. His ideas are seated in the tuning.

There's a way he mounts the counterpoint in the key and the tuning in fifths that doesn't transpose without changing the inversions he used to move through chord cycle. That's what makes them seat into the violin and cello respectively

It doesn't matter that they were written for five string picolo or spalla- all tune in fifths and the only scordatura really used in the cello family in that time was to lower the A string one step to G.

Anyway, if you want to see how they actually work you have to explore them with the original inversions Bach set them in. No one believes this until they take it on. As far as chords, the reason it works is because the chords are broken. You don't have to sound all the intervals at the same time. In the movements that are more French, the 'broken style' stile brise' can be part of the interpretation. During the time of Bach the top if the bridge was customarily flatter than the cello bridge today. They also could have used a bow with a clip in frog that depended on finger pressure to tension the hair. In that time a player could play the chord very broken, or sound intervals at once. The rules for bowing were far from being codified.

Baidarov is a fine maker and if I could get a spalla- from him or a few other makers I know I would. But bear in mind that the narrative they put forward isn't baroque music law. There are other things to consider. There's a good book called The Baroque Cello Revival which goes in depth on the movement. My first cello teacher in the 70s was in Holland when Anner Bilsma began working by with the suites with a Baroque set up. She had a baroque cello set up in her studio. I got to hear it then when I was in high school. I've been around that scene on and off for a while.

You can do it with a Mando cello too. Mandocello is a mandolin in CGDA Bach voicings come alive.

Ahh who really cares anyway....
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Conall
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Conall » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:37 pm

Hi Stephen,

I'm not sure what this means?

"There's a way he mounts the counterpoint in the key and the tuning in fifths that doesn't transpose without changing the inversions he used to move through chord cycle."

Inversions?

At the moment I play the cello suites on 8 string in original keys (apart from suite 4) tuned CDEADGBE natively then change tuning slightly to accommodate pedal notes (eg change the open A down to G for open pedal G or open B to A 2nd string etc) when needed.

I play all notes in most suites in their original register and all chords in their written inversions. I admit to rarely adding a few basses to the melody (not existing chords) elsewhere where they seem to make musical sense but that's about the only addition / change. Do you mean inversions of the chords? First inversion / 2nd inversion etc?- because I don't change these.

The 5ths tuning just makes chords a lot more difficult and it's often much harder to slur consistently (I notice this when I do have to tune from A5th down to G, making a Perfect 5th between G5th and D4th).

I admire your ability to play the suites on both cello & guitar - but is there any point on playing them on guitar if you can play them on cello?

Those of us who love Bach's music but who unfortunately don't play one of his instruments have no choice but to play it on our instrument or not at all. Tuning the guitar in 5ths might be a useful insight into what cellists have to put up with in the left hand but if the suites work well technically & musically in our native or slightly adapted tuning then why not use that instead (and it's easier to read too)?

What I have noticed with the 8 string guitar is that the Low C major chord that Bach uses a good deal does indeed "come alive" when playing the suites in the original register - maybe because it's reminiscent of the cello original (if less resonant).

Maybe I'll have to get cello lessons from you.....then we can fight about what type of cello to use!

Right....better get back to that Sarabande....

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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by pogmoor » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:44 pm

Conall wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:44 pm
Crofty wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:14 pm
If anyone is seriously interested in the cello suites then copies of all six [for the cello] are available online for nothing...
Yes, and one of the easiest way to arrange these suites is to borrow someone else's arrangement & transpose them for free in Musescore! There are sometimes mistakes but there are often some good transcriptions that are no worse than some of the published ones!

https://musescore.com/user/12088996/scores/2901791
If anyone is tempted to use this MuseScore transcription of the prelude to the first cello suite beware that there are two bars missing. The transcriber has evidently mistaken bar 34 for bar 36 and missed out the real bar 34 and bar 35.
Eric from GuitarLoot
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Conall
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Conall » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:01 pm

pogmoor wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:44 pm
Conall wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:44 pm
Crofty wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:14 pm
If anyone is seriously interested in the cello suites then copies of all six [for the cello] are available online for nothing...
Yes, and one of the easiest way to arrange these suites is to borrow someone else's arrangement & transpose them for free in Musescore! There are sometimes mistakes but there are often some good transcriptions that are no worse than some of the published ones!

https://musescore.com/user/12088996/scores/2901791
If anyone is tempted to use this MuseScore transcription of the prelude to the first cello suite beware that there are two bars missing. The transcriber has evidently mistaken bar 34 for bar 36 and missed out the real bar 34 and bar 35.
Ta - I should have checked.

But I just read from a cello score which is why I didn't notice!

And yes, that is the disadvantage of the often amateur transcriptions on Musescore. But even these can be used as a basis for a better arrangement. Just check with a more reliable source to find mistakes like the ones you mention.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Tempo in Cello Suites

Post by Stephen Faulk » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:28 pm

Conall wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:37 pm


The 5ths tuning just makes chords a lot more difficult and it's often much harder to slur consistently (I notice this when I do have to tune from A5th down to G, making a Perfect 5th between G5th and D4th).

I admire your ability to play the suites on both cello & guitar - but is there any point on playing them on guitar if you can play them on cello?



What I have noticed with the 8 string guitar is that the Low C major chord that Bach uses a good deal does indeed "come alive" when playing the suites in the original register - maybe because it's reminiscent of the cello original (if less resonant).

Maybe I'll have to get cello lessons from you.....then we can fight about what type of cello to use!

Right....better get back to that Sarabande....
The tuning in fifths allows the open strings to ring and support the chord and counter point. For example if you play a d note on the A string the D string resonates. So you say big deal, the same thing happens on the guitar. Yes that is true, but the open strings in fourths tuning don't pick up the resonance points on notes related to the key center or the tonic of a particular chord at the right time. Or support the third or fifth of the chord at the right time. The pedal and over tone support on the guitar for the melodic line and chord tonic is rearranged so much that the piece is changed significantly. It's the natural ways the open strings ring that makes the work enjoyable to play in a way that the guitar arrangements push off center.

One of the other things about slurs is that they are designed for bowing, and the jury is out on what is correct. All the solutions you encounter in the cello scores are variations on Anna Magdalena's notes on how to slur. that those markings have launched a thousand different ideas among cellists about what is right based on whether we want to be historical or modern. And all the spaces in between. On the guitar why stick with slurs on the cello score? In historical playing, HIP stuff, there's a case to be made for detache' bowing, detached bowing, one note per bow stroke- up down-up down. It's like picado. So way play with some interpretation of romantic era bowing, or with Anna Magdalena markings, when we know that detached bowing is also a viable historical option? If you play Bach on the guitar there's a case to be made to trash all the slurring related to bowing. This the chords voiced in fifths become liberated from cello notions of slur based on how a cellist has to take passages with a bow.

So if you're going transcribe it then toss the bow markings. It makes the fifth tuning work better, and because there is a precedent for cellists to work Bach with different approaches to bowing it's not wrong if it's musically meaningful.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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