It’s difficult to decide when to celebrate J. S. Bach’s birthday due to the discrepancies between the Old (Julian) and New (Gregorian) Style calendars. According to the Old Style calendar and most historical literature, his birthday was on March 21. However on the new Gregorian calendar, the date of his actual birthday is on March 31.
Today, we can be certain that if Johann Sebastian Bach was still alive, he would be 335 years old. By contemporary standards, Bach is regarded by many as the greatest composer of all time. His works represent the highest level of mastery in counterpoint, harmonic, polyphonic and motivic organization, as well as, the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad (particularly from Italy and France) to German music.
Playing transcriptions of Bach’s music on a classical guitar can be incredibly challenging, even for the best performers! Showing all details of a counterpoint structure on a guitar requires from a player precise control over all polyphonic lines while overcoming the difficulties connected with uncomfortable left-hand shifts and fingering. However, the guitar also offers performers an advantage over other instruments, such as the broad range of sound colors, thanks to a direct contact with the strings.
On the occasion of Bach’s birthday, we’ve prepared for you a special YouTube playlist featuring almost 60 videos with Bach’s music which we’ve recorded at GSI throughout the years. Enjoy!
Nowadays, many of our friends are using the extra time they have during this global quarantine to sight-read Bach. We hope that this playlist provides you some inspiration to learn or revisit guitar transcriptions of Bach’s pieces.
Here are our top 3 picks from the J.S. Bach GSI playlist:
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