easy Bach

October 17, 2018, 5:02 AM · Anyone know of a graded student book of Bach violin solos?

Replies (11)

October 17, 2018, 5:45 AM · "The student Violinist:Bach". (https://www.amazon.com/Mel-Bay-Student-Violinist-Bach/dp/0786621176)
Also digitally downloadable in sheetmusicplus and others. Really easy stuff, all within SUZUKI 1

Cherry picking the bach pieces that sprout in the suzuki books is IMO a better selection.

Out of excerpts and from several sources, I have the most famous violin Bach pieces graded/ordered thus:

Violin Sonata G major BWV 1021
g minor BWV 1020
Violin Sonata b minor BWV 1014
Violin Sonata A major BWV 1015
Violin Sonata E major BWV 1016
Violin Sonata G major BWV 1019
Violin Sonata e minor BWV 1023
Violin Sonata c minor BWV 1017
Violin Sonata f minor BWV 1018
Concerto for 2 Violins and Orchestra d minor BWV 1043
Sonata I g minor BWV 1001
Partita I b minor BWV 1002
Partita III E major BWV 1006
Sonata II a minor BWV 1003
Partita II d minor BWV 1004
Sonata III C major BWV 1005


This is an investigation, not my experience.

October 17, 2018, 7:36 AM · A lot of Bach makes use of strong harmonic and rhythmic cadence with repeated themes. This makes many of them easy to follow, play and memorize if they are simplified to match the skill set of the student.

I have transcribed several works to remove variations in key and the results are great tunes, easily playable from first position for a beginning student.

I did a quick review of the first three compositions on your list. I would not list them as "easy bach" without extensive transcription.

Have you tried playing any of them yourself?

October 17, 2018, 7:38 AM · When I say easy, I mean up to and including British grade 8.
I'd rather have original Bach than adapted stuff.
Apart from that, thanks for your reply, Carlos.
October 17, 2018, 9:07 AM · Carlos's graded Bach list is very strange. Partita II is much easier than Partita III, with the obvious exception of the Chaconne which deserves a separate listing. The fugue in the g minor solo sonata is more difficult than any of the partitas. And it completely omits the concertos.
October 17, 2018, 10:52 AM · The Bach Unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas should be tackled last in the learning process. Within the collection there are three levels of difficulty; the single-note movements, the double-stop movements, and finally, the fugues and the Chaconne. Before that set, in no particular order; the keyboard-violin sonatas, the cello suites transcribed for violin, the concertos. At an easier level there are the Handel Sonatas and the Telemann Fantasias.
Edited: October 17, 2018, 12:46 PM · Joel quivey wrote: 'At an easier level there are the Handel Sonatas and the Telemann Fantasias.'

Although, in my opinion, some movements of the Telemann Fantasias are harder than some movements in the Bach Sonatas and Partitas.

October 17, 2018, 1:12 PM · I've got some baroque compilation books, so I fancied specifically Bach. I'll look into the Suzuki cherrypicking idea, but it sounds expensive. Or maybe I can find some free pdfs online.
October 17, 2018, 4:39 PM · I cannot comment on British grade 8, but at US-ABRSM grade 8 I would think most, if not all, the listed Bach pieces would be playable.

But at Grade 1, none of those pieces would be playable.

Edited: October 18, 2018, 2:25 AM · By British I mean ABRSM. No, nothing at grade 1 unless insultingly amended. I think I noticed Bach starting to creep in round about grade 5, but I'll take a closer look.
October 17, 2018, 9:00 PM · The above list comes from the difficulty grading of Henle Editions (https://www.henle.de)
I use their filters of difficulty, composer, instrumentation to look for the "what next" in my practice.

I prefer to play whole works so even if in one composition most movements are a difficulty 6, if it has one with difficulty 8, I grade it as 8.

Like all lists, it's a reference, not the ten commandments.

Edited: October 17, 2018, 9:15 PM · Kind of the same approach as when I studied violin in school: an assumption of graded approach - based on technical skills acquired by practicing scales, studies and short romantic pieces. The result is in fact that one will play Bach just like Kreutzer, or even worse.
If there were an easy Bach piece, it could be found perhaps in the 2nd violin parts one of his numerous cantatas.... or one of Cello solo sonatas transcribed for viola. However, a real path ought to be in studying Bach predecessors in detail. Bach is challenging technically, but the main challenge is in music and style of the era. No shortcuts, sorry.


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