Guitar Transcriptions wtih Scordatura for Lute Suites by J. S. Bach

Bach with guitar decafish signature

Purpose of this site Scores Other notes Target and details of the transcriptions 日本語

BWV996 BWV998 BWV999 BWV1006a

This site has transcriptions for a guitar with scordatura of lute suites and tunes by Johan Sebastian Bach, and the word "Scrodatura" means non-standard tuning. Using Scordatura, it is aimed to obtain unique sound and avoid fingering difficulties. All scores are built using Lilypond.
Please try to play them.


Purpose of the site

Performing Bach lute tunes by a guitar

J. S. bach left behind several lute tunes. All the tunes are the masterpieces and frequently performed nowadays. But

  1. Lute tunings at Bach's era are different from those of present guitar
  2. Bach regarded technical issues as insignificant matters
  3. Some tunes are not for a lute

It is a fact that we amateurs are apt to feel difficulties in technical issues.

Therefore, many transcriptions and arrangements have been made to overcome the difficulties. In these transcriptions several means are used to reduce fingering difficulties to each levels, such as

  1. changing octaves or omitting phisically unplayable notes
  2. omitting grace notes
  3. reducing voices, especially omitting mid voices
  4. simplify base lines
  5. morevore, simplify melody lines
  6. difficult tunes in spite of these are removed from its suites

The aims and the features of the transcription

It is very important to make efforts to reduce the difficulties because we can undierstand Bach's music deeply not only to listen, but also to play.

However, it is also regretful to listen to or play his tunes without knowing the original notes. So, in the transcription,

"Scordatura" here means tunings of each strings of a guitar are fixed by keys of the tunes instead of standard tuning,
E-A-D-G-B-E

For example, in BWV1006a, open strings for the third string "G" are not frequently used because BWV1006a is in E-major key. A player often meets open for "G" string if the third string is tuned to semitone lower "Fis" instead of "G" and he is alleviated from fingering and phrasing. On the contrary, other problems are occurred by adopting Scordatura. The detailed discussion will be made later.


Download sheet musics

Scores will be uploaded one by one when completed.
Links to IMSLP pages for each suite are posted for reference.

BWV996

The third string is dropped to Fis (F#) in the transcriptions. The keys are all E-minor same as the originals.

IMSLP page
  1. Praeludium
  2. Almande
  3. Courante
  4. Sarabande
  5. Bourrée
  6. Gigue

BWV998

In these transcriptions, the third string is dropped to Fis(F#) and sixth string is droppted to D. The keys are all D-major (The original keys are Es dur/Eb-major).

IMSLP page
  1. Prelude
  2. Fuge
  3. Allegro

BWV999

The transcription is not used scordatura (normal tuning) but fingering is done under same manner. The key is D-minor (the original is C-minor).

IMSLP page
  1. Prelude

BWV1006a

All transcriptions use scordatura with thrid to Fis (F#). The keys are all E-major same as the originals.

IMSLP page
  1. Prelude
  2. Loure
  3. Gavotte en Rondeau
  4. Menuette I, II
  5. Bourrée
  6. gigue


Other notes

About Notations

The original notes are referenced from Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe in IMSLP or Downlaod pages of Bach Gesellschaft. Neue Bach Ausgabe (New bach Edition) are not referenced simply because of economical problems of the author.

The author wrote original notes in Lilypond format to modify for guitars. Lilypond has a function to assign fingering or other technical notations but the author cannto use the function because it is too difficult to fix the fingering and to write it to a source file simultaneously. The fingering notations are made independently after the Lilypond compilation.

All scores have not only Bach's notes but also his musical symbols but other notations that do not appear in the originals are not included. The author thought it is unkind but faithful.

About Technical Difficulties

The scores here are not always for beginers because of the features. there are many transcriptions for beginers with certain levels but if you guitarist want to know Bach's original notes and how to play them, The scores here are suitable for your intention.

About Tunes Impossible to Transcript

BWV995, BWV999, BWV1000 are not suitable to scordatula. These tunes should be played with normal tunings.

About Copyright

Bach's original notes are the open source. Transcriptions here are all available for free. But rights to change musical symbols in the transcriptions belong to the author since the idea that Guitar with scrodatura for Bach's Lute tunes belong to the author.


Target and Details of the Transcriptions

Coming soon.