Bach minuet in G, or in A?

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sayar
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Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by sayar » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:12 am

I am practicing the book "Progressive Classical Guitar Method: For Beginner to Intermediate Students [Book 1] " by Jason Waldron. The famous minuet by JS Bach which everywhere else is in G, is presented in A in this book. This is a simplified (short) version for beginners.
I am practicing on this piece but would also like to learn the "real" one later which is in G.
My question is, how different are these two? How can a music that is originally in G, be converted to A and still make same sound?
Answer may be too obvious, but I'm a beginner and am trying to understand things better.
Thank you

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David Norton
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by David Norton » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:39 am

It is very common to transpose music written for piano (harpsichord, etc) into another key which is better suited to the guitar. The key of A major (on guitar) allows the use of open bass strings, so it is very guitar-friendly. G major is a more technically demanding key (on guitar), and so that is why the change would be made.

Getting bogged down in the whole "I want to play it in the original key!" mindset is a surefire path to stress and upsettedness. Because, while this particular Minuet "can" be played in G major on guitar, and sound rather nice, what about a piece originally written in Bb major, or Db minor? Then the technical demands on the left hand become immense, far disproportionate to the level of music involved.
David Norton
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Jeffrey.C

Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by Jeffrey.C » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:16 pm

It won't give the same effect but if playing it in the same key makes it unnecessarily difficult, you can consider transposing it to a key that's easier. For the minuet that you're talking about, I'd say playing it in G is perfectly reasonable.

As for how they can 'convert' (transpose) it from G to A, they shift all of the notes of the piece up a tone and it'll be in A-major. It won't really make the same sound (since it's one step higher in pitch than the original) but it'll still be recognisable as a piece because all of the harmonies will be the same (relative to the tonic) and the melodic contours/rhythms will be too.

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Vlad Kosulin
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by Vlad Kosulin » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:38 am

Don't forget that Bach did not write with A=440 Hz pitch in mind. Organs he played we set to A=480 Hz, for example, and who knows how his harpsichords were tuned. Modern Baroque players on historic instruments use pitch from 415 up to 466 Hz.
IMHO, all these transposition worries are way exaggerated. It all comes to what we get used to.
Regards,
Vlad
(still testing various strings with 2006 Sebastian Stenzel and Olinda OC-300)

JohnPierce

Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by JohnPierce » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:37 am

Vlad Kosulin wrote:Don't forget that Bach did not write with A=440 Hz pitch in mind. Organs he played we set to A=480 Hz, for example, and who knows how his harpsichords were tuned.
And on top of that, he wasn't writing for 12 tone equal temperament. While there's much argument over exactly what temperament he used, we know for certain that it wasn't what we use now. The sizes (measured in cents) of intervals between notes were not the same in all keys, so each key had its own particular sound (its "color"), and composers took advantage of that fact. This has the most effect on fixed pitch instruments - keyboards, fretted strings, recorders, etc. Examples of the different temperaments are all over YouTube and are worth listening to.
IMHO, all these transposition worries are way exaggerated. It all comes to what we get used to.
Amen.

JohnPierce

Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by JohnPierce » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:49 am

The issue of how J. S. Bach's harpsichords were tuned is interesting. C. P. E. Bach did say that his father was very picky and tuned his own instruments, but apparently never bothered to say *how* he tuned them. This is a good thing, actually: it has increased the length of the publication lists of many academics, which helps to keep them employed, which in turn keeps them from going on welfare or composing Justin Bieber songs.

simonm
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by simonm » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:16 am

jwp wrote:... This is a good thing, actually: it has increased the length of the publication lists of many academics, which helps to keep them employed, which in turn keeps them from going on welfare or composing Justin Bieber songs.
However, Justin Bieber songs would probably be more lucrative.

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:57 pm

Whilst the minuet's being discussed why not put in a word for its composer, Christian Petzold? It's more than 30 years now since it was first (re)identified as belonging to one of his suites and it's still being misattributed to JSB by all and sundry from Jason Waldron to Willie Nelson. Poor old Christian, he isn't remembered for much - it seems a shame that he's continually robbed of this, his most famous (if slight) work.

We can change it - tell everyone - "Minuet in G" by Christian Petzold.

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Vlad Kosulin
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by Vlad Kosulin » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:47 pm

Thanks Mark, I did not know this. Reading Wikipedia right now.
By the way, Jason was not alone in transcribing BWV Anh. 114 in A.
For example, Bach per la Mia Chitarra by Venancio Garcia Velasco (Ricordi, 1977) also has it in A
Regards,
Vlad
(still testing various strings with 2006 Sebastian Stenzel and Olinda OC-300)

FrankBlack
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by FrankBlack » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:10 pm

(Jumping in on this old post) If the above posts don't make you feel better about playing it in the key of A Major, I believe Segovia recorded the piece in A Major on his album, "The Intimate Guitar/2". You are in good company.

Crofty
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by Crofty » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:51 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:57 pm
Whilst the minuet's being discussed why not put in a word for its composer, Christian Petzold? It's more than 30 years now since it was first (re)identified as belonging to one of his suites and it's still being misattributed to JSB by all and sundry from Jason Waldron to Willie Nelson. Poor old Christian, he isn't remembered for much - it seems a shame that he's continually robbed of this, his most famous (if slight) work.

We can change it - tell everyone - "Minuet in G" by Christian Petzold.
Actually Mark, I wrote it.

RobMacKillop
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:09 pm

I've lost count of the number of times I've brought up Petzold as composer. It's getting tiring. As Mark mentioned, it's been thirty years. I suppose people are still using old books. I'd like to hear the whole suite the minuet comes from.

DaveLloyd
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by DaveLloyd » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:24 pm

And there was me thinking it was written by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell for 'The Toys' - It became their 1961, No. 2 hit single "A Lover's Concerto".

soltirefa
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by soltirefa » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:35 pm

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is another (G or A?) piece.

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Frank Nordberg
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Re: Bach minuet in G, or in A?

Post by Frank Nordberg » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:49 pm

I prefer to play Petzold's minuet in G. It may be only because I'm used to eharing it in that key but in my ears it gets a much fuller sound than it does in A.

It's not that hard to do either. Apart from one or two slightly tricky stretches, it's about the same difficulty level as Bach's E minor Bourrée.

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