Crofty wrote:My own view is that they were composed by Bach in the way they were, to a large extent BECAUSE of the pitch of the cello ...
Not only pitch but sonority, speaking time, natural sustain, timbre etc. They are intrinsically bound up with the technicalities of the instrument which is where the real art of arrangement lies ... how might we recreate that compositional/instrumental synthesis when transferring the music to the guitar?
We should be more careful regarding the language used around the cello suites. Describing them as not having a bass is plain wrong
... and misleading to the extent that arrangers often don't even apprehend the lower voice already provided by JSB, many times destroying its effect through the addition of weaker offerings of their own.
The inclusion of senza basso
in the title-page description does not
mean that there is no bass "line" but serves to further clarify that there is no intention, indeed no requirement
, to provide a figured bass accompaniment.
Cellists are as guilty as guitarists in not seeing the wood for the trees in this regard; mere "note players" for the most part, apparently unable to spot even the most obvious examples.
The "lute" version of suite five, while it gives us a clear example of how Bach might
have made use of the more flexible contrapuntal possibilities of the guitar, is remarkable when one examines just how little is added
... where this occurs and why. Even then, being composed in such an overtly French style, it doesn't really offer a reliable model for the other suites, merely a glimpse of Bach's process.
Another example might be drawn between the violin partia (sic) BWV1006 and its counterpart BWV1006a - here too additional bass support is minimal, very often a simple, one-pulse indication followed by silence.
In a nutshell - it would be fruitful to spend a good proportion of one's early study of this music working with the original cello score, with at least some attempt made to understand the musical construction before adding anything at all.