Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist.

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Squiggly Line Above Note

I just found a Bach score, and there is this squiggly line above the A eighth note in the first measure (and a few other places). This is the score. What does it mean?
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Should chords in Bach's solo violin pieces be arpeggiated if not marked as such?

So I came across this interesting statement about the way we should play Bach's solo violin pieces. One source claimed that Bach was not a lousy writer — he was actually a very accurate and ...
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Chord in the Bach d-minor prelude

I'm playing the prelude in Bach's d-minor suite. My teacher and I were wondering what the third to last chord is. We didn't find that A, E and D form a chord, but do they? Is the D maybe a "queuing" ...
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What is the relation between the preludes and the fugues in wtc of js bach?

So I have been studying Bach's famous WTC on piano. Even though I really enjoy the preludes and fugues, and I have found some nice preludes to warm up and exercise my touch and fingers, why did Bach ...
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Why are the Goldberg Variations considered a demanding work?

In print, the Goldbergs (Goldberg Variations) have a quasi-legendary status, a hallmark of technical difficulty. I was perusing the score and it doesn't look terribly intricate for what's possibly a ...
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Bach: How is this mordent to be realized? Why do people play it like a trill?

So, the old Invention No. 1 by JSB: http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/7/72/IMSLP63611-PMLP03267-Bach_Oeves_Complets_Peters_Liv_7_BWV_772-786_2748.pdf The B on the 4th beat of the 1st ...
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BPM marking doesn't check out or am I just reading it wrong?

So, Czerny, in his edition of Bach's two part inventions, says 138 BPM (crotchets per minute) is appropriate for the first invention: ...
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Were the Goldbergs meant to be played in one go?

See, in this very interesting interview (http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2012/03/16/148769794/why-i-hate-the-goldberg-variations) Jeremy Denk has the following to say: The piece is ...
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Why did composers of the Baroque sometimes write two of the same dance in a suite?

In Jacquet de la Guerre's Suite No. 3 in A Minor, there are two Courantes. Later on, in Bach's English Suite no. 1, there are two Courantes, two Doubles, and two Bourées. In fact, all of ...
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What are the characteristics of a Sarabande?

I am playing Bach's English Suite in a minor, and am currently working on the Sarabande. I know it is a slow dance of Spanish origin, but not much else. What are some characteristics of the Sarabande? ...
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iii9 - I progression in Bach?

In the last of his 15 Sinfonias (aka Three-Part Inventions), Bach uses quite a daring approach to the tonic chord. Occurring in a sequential progression by downward thirds, it can be described most ...
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Is it orthodox to use the pedal when playing Bach on the piano?

It is my understanding that Bach's keyboard works were written for the harpsichord, and thus no (damper) pedal is used while playing Bach on the harpsichord. On the piano however, I have heard ...
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290 views

Switching from piano to harpsichord

I have been playing the piano for the most part of my life, but I am becoming increasingly interested in the harpsichord. Has anyone made this "transition" before? Are there some pitfalls which one ...
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1answer
228 views

Harmonizing Bourrée in E minor

Out of interest and just to give myself practice in part-writing, I've been trying to harmonize the popular Bach Bourrée in E minor from his lute suite. It only has two voices, so there is a lot of ...
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246 views

Good non-Henle urtext edition of Bach?

I am looking to buy a copy of the English Suites, and need an urtext edition. Normally I'd just go to the music store and buy the book; however, they only have the Henle edition, and being a student, ...
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108 views

How were tuning/temperaments indicated on scores (if they ever were)?

Bradley Lehman claims that the details of the intended tuning for the Well-Tempered Claivier are encoded in the squiggle at the top of the manuscript (related wikipedia link). Are there other ...
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Learning the musical concepts in the book “Gödel, Escher, Bach”

I am reading the book "Gödel, Escher, Bach", in which the author tries to present concepts in mathematics, drawings and music as instances of a certain "pattern", that he calls "strange loops". He ...
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Why does the first note is the second Bach cello suite(Prelude) sound like C#?

Suite 2 in the Bach suites is in D minor howcome the first note sounds like C# even though its written on the 3rd line(d)?
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Authorship of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565

An earlier question mentions the disputed authorship of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565. Several musicologists allege that the work has stylistic elements that are problematic for the ...
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How to interpret notes outside of the key signature?

Lets make this question a bit clear. If you're playing Bach's music, it shows you that its' key is E minor, or A major or anything. But, when you play something like: He add sharp in his notes. ...
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German in Bach's Cantatas

My German is very rudimentary (A1) and I have no regular exposure to the language except what I get listening to Bach. Recently, I have been very interested in Bach's cantatas (I have a huge box set ...
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Trill in Bach fugue WTC 1 BWV 851

In the second bar of the J.S. Bach d-minor Fugue in WTC 1 (BWV 851), we have How should this trill be played?
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What is the correct way to play the two ornaments in BWV 541?

This Prelude and Fugue for organ has two ornaments in it, and those two ornaments, in the Urtext, are the same: In the middle of the Prelude (please excuse the score markings, and the "lighter" had ...
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355 views

Are instructions on organ stop settings included in the notation of Baroque organ music?

I am currently listening to a collection of Bach's complete organ works for the organ. I love Baroque music and Bach in particular, but I am not very familiar with the organ from the performer's ...
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What instrument is this and why is it held so strangely and played?

Looking at this orchestral performance of sinfonia from Bach's 29th Cantata (BWV 29), it is really curious to see the trombonists (?) holding the horn/trombone with one hand and the way they are ...
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Are repeated octaves permissable in a fourt part SATB?

I am writing a four part SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and wanted to know if repeated (that is, successive) octaves are permissible? I know that parallel fifths/octaves are not allowed, but what ...
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piano finger spread

I'm a self-taught piano novice, can play easier two handed pieces (e.g. Minuet in G maj), struggling with chords. My favourite piano listening piece is BWV582, Bach's Passacaglia/Fuga from an Angela ...
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How do I finger the interleaved 3rds in Goldberg 23?

The bottom line is what I'm talking about. They're interleaved and I'm playing it on one piano (though it's written for two). I've been doing 2/3 in each hand, with the left hand over the right, ...
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Appreciating the music of J. S. Bach

I have been learning piano for many years and am able to really enjoy the music of Beethoven and Chopin. However, when it comes to Bach, I must shamefully admit, I can't see why he is held in such ...
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How do I finger these descending treble fifths?

From BWV 914, Toccata in E minor, Fuga: My Henle edition marks 5-1 for the first four pairs of fifths starting from F#, E, D, C#, but doesn't give fingerings for the next 6 pairs of fifths. What ...
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Learning Order of Bach's Inventions and Sinfonie

Inspired by the question Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier Order, I thought I'd ask what order people would recommend learning to play Bach's Inventions and Sinfonie.
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J. S. Bach's place in musical history

Was there any reason Bach didn't follow the trends of the times? He was surely very much in touch with contemporary composers, and knew of Handel's and Scarlatti's works specifically. Amazingly, he ...
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Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier Order

I have played a few pairs of pieces from this collection, however it was some time ago. I have the ambitious goal to work my way through the entire collection. It will obviously take me some time to ...
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Training and Influences of J. S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach is undoubtedly among the most celebrated of Baroque composers, and to many the great composer in all history. The era of the late 17th and early 18th centuries in which he lived, ...
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What kind of edition and tuning to use to study Bach's fifth cello suite ?

As is well known, this suite was composed for a cello with a scordatura tuning C-G-d-g instead of the classical C-G-d-a. I have seen almost every possible combination: edition for specially-tuned ...
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Bach's Bourree BWV 996 timing issue

I'm currently learning Bach's Bourree, although I'm into second part of it, I have troubles getting the timing correct. Usually it follows a 3 bar flow (except few places, where it really speeds up), ...