Bach Bourree for Guitar: Full Video Lesson

This full lesson video tackles a J.S. Bach Bouree, from the 4th Suite for Solo Cello (BWV 1010).  It was originally written in E flat Major.  Luckily, we kick it up to the key of A so it plays more nicely on the guitar.

It’s perhaps surprising how well most of the Bach music for unaccompanied strings fit on the classical guitar.  The cello suites, and the violin sonatas and partitas are all just beautiful on the guitar.  Some lay easier than others, but they all sound good.  This Bourrée is a popular piece for intermediate classical guitarists, and is a wonderful study in balance and creating beautiful lines in the melody.

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Serving Multiple Masters: The Challenge of This Piece

One of the main challenges you face in this Bach Bourrée is to make sure that the upper line and the bass line are clearly separate in the ear of your listener.  To do this, you must first know exactly which notes belong to each part, then connect the notes together in each part.  This can be a bit tricky, but by practicing the upper melody and lower bass line separately, you can learn to hear the individual lines, and to phrase each line with intention and good musicality.  After you have both lines perfected, you can then put them back together and work out the issues that arise from the pairing.

Conflicting desires….

Sometimes, the two lines want to go in different directions with their dynamics (volume, swells and fades).  When this happens, there is nothing to do but buckle down and put in the practice to be able to balance the parts.  This sort of work can be difficult and challenging, but ultimately is the work that will develop your technique, develop your “musical ear”, and bring you forward as a player.

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Also mentioned in this guitar lesson are a couple of other tutorials:

How to learn any piece, in 7 easy steps

The Five Major Scale Shapes on classical guitar

To view, download, and print the pdf sheet music and video slides for this lesson, click below.

Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 

I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.

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