Lesson 39: Bach Cello Suite

Here’s a very simple lesson taken from the 1st two bars of the second Bach Cello Suite prelude.  The melody outlines the chord progression i minor to V7 b9.

First, sing the melody until you hear it like a nursery rhyme. This is really important ground work and in some ways the most important step; if you can’t sing it, you can’t hear it, and if you can’t hear i,t than it’s likely you’re playing music primarily by muscle memory and thought.

Second, visualize the fingerings while singing the melody and think clearly of the specific tensions or chord tones that the melody outlines over each chord (i.e. 1, b3, 5, b3, 9, 1 over the i minor chord and 3, 5, b7, 1, b9 over the V7b9 chord).  Lastly, play the melody on your instrument around the circle of fourths.  Use a metronome, stay relaxed, listen, and try to “feel” the strong beats of the measure – the underlying harmonic rhythm.

If you want add some interesting variations, try displacing the melody by an eighth note or playing it in all triplets starting on the 1st, or 2nd or last triplet of each beat.  You might also try simply improvising from those limited note choices over each of the chords (i.e. 1,9,3,5 on minor and 1,b9, 3, 5, b7 on V7).


Lesson 39: Minor Bach Melody PDF

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