A copy of the Bach Partita no. 2 Allemande

January 4, 2015 at 09:13 PM · Does anyone have a copy of the Bach Partita 2 Allemende with the bow markings and the finger positions on where to shift?

Replies (37)

January 4, 2015 at 09:45 PM · Consider purchasing a well-marked edition, such as the Galamian. Modify from there.

January 4, 2015 at 10:30 PM · Greetings,

not sure what your audition is, but if you are ready to play the Bach you should be able to bow and finger it up to a point.

There are two schools of thought on this. Some teachers insist you start with the clean urtext and work it out for yourself. they then discuss it in the lesson. The other is to work form a good model. Personally I think szeryng is pretty much the best. I can`t say I like the Galamian so much but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Very solid.

Are you really in the habit of having other people giving you bowings and fingerings without questioning them?

I guess you can get the Bach free from IMSLP and then figure it out. There is a point in all violinists live when we do have to start finding our own voice through our own fingerings and bowings.



January 5, 2015 at 04:35 PM · What he said.

January 5, 2015 at 04:44 PM · Another edition worth looking at because of the excellent fingering suggestions is the free one by Werner Icking, also available through IMSLP now that WIMA has merged with them.

January 5, 2015 at 05:26 PM ·

January 5, 2015 at 08:47 PM · If that were the case, Liz, the OP wouldn't be asking strangers on the Internet for 'em. :-)

Teachers who dictate fingerings/bowings to advanced players are doing them a disservice. Learning how to choose these intelligently for yourself is an important skill.

January 5, 2015 at 11:08 PM ·

January 5, 2015 at 11:12 PM · "Teachers who dictate fingerings/bowings to advanced players are doing them a disservice. Learning how to choose these intelligently for yourself is an important skill..."

In general I agree with you, but it is a murky area. In reality, many students--even advanced ones--still need assistance. Though I wish they would come to the same conclusions as I, it rarely happens. Let's face it: for those of us who are professionals, we've invested years in working out our fingerings and bowings. We've been over the same repertoire with many different teachers, thought and rethought, and done lots of erasing.

I would like to instill certain principles, like when to shift or when it's ok to break up slurs. But it doesn't always "stick" when applied to new material. I could imagine that some experienced teachers out there have found it expedient to simply dictate rather than to expect a stage in musical development that may not happen till the graduate school level.

January 6, 2015 at 03:15 AM · When I was a kid, my teacher would explain the logic behind the fingerings and bowings he chose, but he would also encourage me to take a first crack at doing them before he would suggest potentially better alternatives. That largely remains the case with my current teacher as well, especially when he feels that a solution will work but it may break down under the stress of performance.

And anyone playing orchestral and chamber music repertoire is likely also going to have to come to solutions without the aid of their teacher, starting in the childhood years. (I became the concertmaster of a generally middle-school-age youth symphony when I was a 10-year-old. Myself and the other section leaders were expected to agree on bowings. The conductor only intervened when he thought we'd missed the stylistic intent.)

January 6, 2015 at 07:36 AM · I very much agree with everything Scott and Lydia have said.

Guidance from teachers but also encouragement for students to think for themselves.

Liz, I knew David Martin although never studied with him. There were issues with advanced students over fingerings and I personally knew two who left him for other teachers and to become orchestral leaders and front desk players in London orchestras. (One also joined a well known string quartet as second violin for a while, whilst still a student).

I always found David Martin a charming and pleasant man, and I'm sure he was a very good teacher for many of his excellent students. He was a great friend of my teacher, Frederick Grinke, and I think they both came from Canada at the same time to study in Europe. (F G was a Carl Flesch pupil).

January 6, 2015 at 11:01 AM · Liz,

re:- "I have heard that the London (Royal Academy) teacher David Martin was quite insistent that students using the bowing and fingerings that he dictated.".

Whilst preparing for a Cambridge MusB practical I had lessons with David Martin that included the Bach G minor unaccompanied Sonata.

Whilst he let me spend some time perusing his own copy, from which he expected me to extract hints'n'tips, he never insisted that I slavishly follow his "edition".

If he ever did insist on a pupil following his bowings and fingerings without alteration, I'd think that would have been with the purpose of instilling discipline in a much younger pupil. We all have to go through the stage of learning to faithfully read, and play from, the copy in front of us.

By then I was well beyond my ABRSM Grade 8 distinction and destined for a professional career as a player.

There has to become a time when the player learns to spot and evaluate alternatives, IMHO.

I'd think that were you to ask me, Dr. Cole and Peter Charles to bow and finger an "urtext" of this piece, you would get 3 different results !!

I'm sure that by now Ivan Zundel has received an emailed pdf or two. I hope there are not too many confusing discrepancies between them !

January 6, 2015 at 11:51 AM ·

January 6, 2015 at 12:25 PM · David

"I'd think that were you to ask me, Dr. Cole and Peter Charles to bow and finger an "urtext" of this piece, you would get 3 different results !!"

Absolutely right! I've recently (i.e. in the last 10 days or so) changed the bowing quite a lot in the Allemande. In fact I have not even penciled them in, but I know what they are. I do not even have the Urtext edition, but one by a certain Mr Flesch, which I'm not that keen on. But there is the original Bach version underneath each line, which is a plus.

What works for Dr. Cole, or you, may not work for me.

I was very taken with Nigel (of the Kennedy tribe's) playing of the Sarabande on TV (recorded by me) - so I've nicked his bowings, which on reflection would have been similar to mine as well, had I not got a bum steer from the edition of Mr Flesch!

After we become more experienced players (and I've yet to get to this point) - we can more confidently "do it my way" and even get close to what some might think is not too bad. (Just putting the bow on the string and playing a nice pure note is often quite a struggle for me, especially after a couple of pints, and with all those lovely girls passing by my front window. I have to resort to cuddling the dog ...).

January 6, 2015 at 04:33 PM · The question doesn't surprise me. The obvious answer is to just buy a published edition, but my guess is that the OP already knows that. The implication is that one of our pencil-marked copies should be somehow *better* than just using a published edition ... that the Great Collective of violinist.com contributors will possess hidden secrets in the fingerings and bowings that make the piece easier to play, and to play more beautifully than one can hope to achieve using either a published edition or one's own homespun edition.

I see the point about being able to write bowings and fingerings for something that one professes to be ready to play, and I warmly agree with the pedagogical value of having a student prepare his or her own edition before referring to one that is already published. Presumably then the student goes to his or her lesson, and the teacher fixes and completes the student's edition.

But then where and when do commercial editions enter the picture? Presumably, an edition is prepared by someone who is a recognized master of the violin, someone who has performed and taught those pieces, and who has studied both the original texts and the previously existing editions of that particular piece quite extensively before setting pen to paper. Editions differ, but shouldn't each to be at least internally consistent with respect to the overall logic, efficiency, authenticity, and musicality of the fingerings, bowings, and other markings? Is there no value in picking up an edition and feeling in one's own hands how Szeryng or Galamian (or Nigel Kennedy!) would have played these important works, or at least, how they instructed their students to play them?

Suppose you start with a very plain urtext, and you take a series of 16 notes and divide it into four bowed phrases. You take it to your lesson, and your teacher approves of this bowing. Then you check three published editions and they all have all 16 notes in a single bow. Now what?

January 6, 2015 at 04:46 PM · Some confusion here.

The "urtext" we start from in these works isn't an entirely blank canvas. Easily obtainable are photocopies of manuscripts copied out by, I seem to recall, one of Bach's daughters - probably Anna Magdalena. Sorry, but it's been a while, so I cannot be sure !

The small print original in the Carl Flesch edition seems to have come from such a manuscript.

These "originals" are pretty comprehensively "phrased". Deciding on bowing is relatively simple..

The biggest task for us, therefore, is to sort out fingerings.

For example, in that d minot Allemande we might decide to begin in second position.

There are hardly any serious ambiguities in the phrasing in those "originals".

January 6, 2015 at 05:15 PM · Paul - you are right - every edition has a value. Over time of course editions like the Flesch (which has a lot of high G string fingerings) may have become a little dated to our way of thinking. The early music people have also had an effect on how we may now do things.

We have an advantage in a way now as we can see and hear on Youtube how great players bowed passages, and even how they finger them.

In the end I think we are influenced by things from here there and everywhere. And we put into the mix our own bowings and fingerings too, in the effort to get something that we may perceive as being pretty good. So the influences are all around us, and long may they continue to be.

January 6, 2015 at 05:44 PM · "I'd think that were you to ask me, Dr. Cole and Peter Charles to bow and finger an "urtext" of this piece, you would get 3 different results !!"

Oh, I suppose I could make my editing match you guys.

But then we'd ALL be wrong....!

January 6, 2015 at 06:38 PM · My question/comment about the role of published editions in modern pedagogy extends beyond the Bach S&P. I've seen some of the "manuscripts" and I thought they were fun to look at, but I really felt that I would benefit more from a scholarly edition. In terms of capturing the composer's intentions, surely someone like Szerying is more qualified to do so than I.

People studying to be scientists and engineers rarely go back to the original writings of Faraday, etc., rather they find it more efficient to have that knowledge condensed, illustrated, updated, and contextualized by a studied professional and presented to them in a publication commonly known as a "textbook". This is how I view published editions. Once one has learned the notes, played the music, and experienced some of the difficulties for a while, then perhaps going back to the manuscripts has even more value?

January 6, 2015 at 07:25 PM · Greetings,

I really like Szeryng`s fingerings. There are usually well suited to me because our hands are similar (a key point!)and the bowings are , as one would expect, solutions of the highest artistic level. They are also fairly scholarly in that he has a coherent theory of why he does them to correspond to voices in a choir. This give s his version amazing consistency. However, I found, for example that following this consistency sometimes just does not work. For example the end of the Allemande he finishes up the last few notes on the g string. Over time I concluded I -really- hated that fingering .Just for me, it`s over romantic, lush and completely out of character. The more open, ringing sounds of the lower positions seems vastly superior (not to mention easier.)

Ones critical faculties must never switch off because of name factors.



January 6, 2015 at 07:33 PM · I'm a great admirer of Szeryng too, but I would never end the Allemande on the G string! It's open D and 3rd finger on A string for me. (Octave D).

January 6, 2015 at 07:52 PM · I agree. I like open D at the end of the Sarabande too. I think baroque composers, especially Bach and Handel, where much more welcoming toward the sounds of open strings on the violin than many violinists are today.

January 6, 2015 at 07:58 PM · Paul - I'm afraid I love the D on the G string at the end of the Sarbande - I suppose I will have to do 200 Hail Maries ...

Incidently, that is a hard movement!

January 6, 2015 at 09:46 PM · I'm really enjoying the Szeryng version, which I've been going through over a period of years. I've rejected quite a lot of the Galamian fingerings and bowings that I learned as a child, though I love the Galamian edition for the manuscript in the back, which I refer to very often.

January 7, 2015 at 12:57 AM · Peter, the Sarabande sure is hard, but its also short. Even though I dont play it very well (yet!) I think I've learned a lot by working on it.

January 7, 2015 at 01:04 AM · I would use Bach's facsimile so you can interpret exactly where the slurs go, and nowadays with IMSLP it's free...

Same thoughts with everyone else, if you're working on solo Bach but are asking for a stranger's bowings and fingerings to know where to shift...oh dear.

January 7, 2015 at 01:18 AM · "People studying to be scientists and engineers rarely go back to the original writings of Faraday, etc., rather they find it more efficient to have that knowledge condensed, illustrated, updated, and contextualized by a studied professional and presented to them in a publication commonly known as a "textbook". This is how I view published editions. Once one has learned the notes, played the music, and experienced some of the difficulties for a while, then perhaps going back to the manuscripts has even more value?"

That's a wrong comparison...the clear advantage of modern editions is that most of the time it's easier to read. But unlike scientific knowledge where things are constantly being disproved and revised, what Bach wrote down is what it is. I think a lot of people are just not even aware they have the option of looking at the facsimile. It's fun and interesting to see how for example Szeryng approaches something different than Galamian, but what's really valuable to a student is to try your own fingerings first, go to your lesson and find out why it sucked if it didn't work, than try to absorb your teacher's fingering logic, and than later compare that to other editors.

Also when you're learning from an edited version, you're learning stylistic decisions chosen by editor, and sometimes rather arbitrary markings and even wrong notes. Those are the most aggravating, you pay money for wrong notes...

January 7, 2015 at 01:37 AM · Sorry, I just wanted to see how other people shift so I could figure the best quality sound.

January 7, 2015 at 03:55 AM · I would visit a library!

January 7, 2015 at 09:05 AM · Greetings,

just in case the OP feels they are not getting value for money, after much experimentation I found the best fingering for me in the opening is first position (4th finger d), going up to third position on the g of the D string. This gives one great security at the start but then all the advantages of the 3rd position immediately after. best of all worlds in my opinion. Apparently it was the brainchild of Busch although Fred Blodger of Moribund Street , Memphis Tennessee was probably also using it at the time.



January 7, 2015 at 02:20 PM · I was taught to start in 3rd position. 2 feels more secure than 4 on the opening d, and it makes the unison easier to reach, but I never really liked how the e and f sound. I will give your way a try.

Next measure!

January 7, 2015 at 09:43 PM · triggered by what Paul Deck writes about Bach and Handel being more welcoming to the use of open strings: I've always been puzzled by the liberal, almost obligatory, use of open strings by so-called historically informed performers. because Leopold Mozart in his treatise on violin playing explicitly advises against playing on the open strings because they have such a different sound quality than fingered strings. it could be that this was his original opinion, but more likely is that this was already an established notion when he himself learned to play the violin and he is simply passing on the advice in his book.

January 7, 2015 at 11:19 PM · The Flesch edition of Bach's solo violin works includes Bach's original interleaved with Flesch's edited version. I don't think I'm really competent to comment yea or nay on the merits of Flesch's version, but having that and the autograph version clearly visible on each page is surely useful to any user.

I was lucky enough to come across a complete hard-bound copy of the Flesch, in good condition, for sale in a second-hand book shop a few months ago, and eagerly paid the miniscule sum of £1 asked for by the proprietor :)

Incidentally, unlike Bach's solo violin works there unfortunately seems to be no autograph of his solo cello suites in existence :(

January 8, 2015 at 08:56 AM · Being an unconventional awkward blighter I start in 3rd Pos and slur from the third note (i.e. the E). Don't do what I do - it's too 21st Century ...

January 8, 2015 at 09:15 AM · Greeting,

I usually slur from the third sip these days,



January 8, 2015 at 09:18 AM · I only slur after 8 pints ...

January 8, 2015 at 03:06 PM · for me...after 8 pints my playing would become quite "grave"......in fact that is where I'd probably be headed to........

January 8, 2015 at 08:52 PM · In reality I rarely go over 3 pints and often just two.

But British musicians are known for their fairly good sightreading, and ability to consume quite a lot of beer. But the beer can sometimes blur the sightreading, which some might see as a slur on British players ... So the slurs may lead to the blurs ...

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