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)?

1 Answer 1


Very interesting !! Just listened to the opening bars, and it's in C#minor. That's probably why it sounds like a C#, not a D. Now whether the recording has been slowed down a smidgen is conjecture, or whether the cello is actually tuned differently I don't know. So, yes it sounds like C# 'cos it is. Couldn't find one in 'Dm'.Unless, of course, the tuning was not well tempered.

  • 15
    Are you referring to a specific recording? Many recordings these days would be made on a Baroque cello tuned to A=415, which is one half-step lower than the "modern" tuning of A=440. This is more or less the tuning that Bach himself would have used. It is not a question of "well-tempered" or not; that refers to temperament, which is not much of an issue on solo cello. Rather, it is a question of the base pitch (diapason, or kammerton) used for "A" in Hz (cycles per second).
    – user1044
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 18:31
  • Out of several I listened to there were none in concert D as of modern tuning. When a solo instrument is played, it makes not much difference, 'D minor' becomes academic.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 19:34
  • 7
    Then they were in concert D as of Bach's tuning, which is A=415. It makes a difference, particularly if it is a Baroque cello with sheep-gut strings rather than a modern cello with steel strings.
    – user1044
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 20:33

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