Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin: For Cello

The manuscripts for Bach’s unaccompanied violin music, unlike his Cello Suites, are in Bach’s own handwriting. Therefore no “Manuscript Comparison” edition is necessary. We do however – unlike for the cello suites – need a “Literal Version” of this music, which is the simple unadulterated transcription of this music transposed to a key one fifth lower. We need this edition because these violin pieces often require some “arranging” to adapt them to the cello, most notably in the revoicing of chords and possible suppression of impossible double-stops. This means that the “Performance Versions” (both Edited and Clean) often have some note changes from the original violin version. The “Duo Versions” of this music are also the “Easier Versions” in that not only have we added a “walking bass” line under the solo part, but also we have very often taken the harmony notes (from chords and double-stops) away from the “solo” voice, giving them instead to the 2nd cello, in order to liberate the melodic line. By doing this, we can also quite possibly play these pieces in their original key (one fifth higher than in the “Solo Cello” versions).

  1.   Sonata I (BWV 1001)
  2.   Sonata II (BWV 1003)
  3.   Sonata III (BWV 1005)
  1. Partita I (BWV 1002)
  2.   Partita II (BWV 1004)
  3.   Partita III (BWV 1006)

For more detailed information about the peculiarities of playing this music on the cello, see:

Playing Bach’s Solo Violin Music on the Cello