Bridging two worlds: baroque violin performance practices as a model for the transcription of selected movements of J.S. Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin on the modern guitar

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This document explores the role of the baroque violin practices of bowing, chord playing, and slurring in arrangements for the modern guitar, of selected movements of J. S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas (BWV 1001-1006) for solo violin. This document aims to expand the range of possible solutions for all guitarists interested in playing Bach’s unaccompanied solo music by making a “bridge” between these essential performance practices of the baroque violin and the capabilities of the modern guitar. Some practices associated with other baroque instruments such as the lute and the harpsichord are also considered. The guitar arrangements included at the end of the document were conceived taking into account techniques that were intrinsic to Bach’s conception of these violin pieces as violin music. As a consequence, the musical content has a primary position in the final product. The methodology is primarily based on the study of the bowing practices, and the slurring practices of the baroque violin (both of them essential aspects of the technique of the instrument) and their realization in terms of modern classical guitar technique. These elements of violin technique are the structural pillars of the proposed bridge. Secondary to them, the way chords are played on the baroque violin and how it can promote ease of playing and good voice leading in the guitar arrangements is also part of the methodology. The rationale that represents the “bridge” is first presented and then compared to other approaches found in various published editions of Bach’s violin music arranged for the modern guitar.
J. S. Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001-1006), baroque violin, performance practices, guitar transcriptions
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Document (D. Mus.)--Indiana University, 2012.