Tag Archives: Johann Sebastian Bach

Cello sheet music: Adagio from Bach Organ Toccata

Folks, more free Bach cello music can be found in this new article. This is part of the Clean and Free Sheet Music initiative I’ve undertaken.

I took a detour from my usual Bach cello suite transcriptions this time. A few weeks ago someone on Reddit posted a question asking for identification of music. It was a recording of Mstislav Rostropovich playing the cello for the Emperor of Japan, at the White House in 1994. The first piece at 0:37 caught my attention. I swore that I knew this music well – I could hum along ahead of Rostropovich. But I could not recall what this was. The music stuck in my head for days. The mystery drove me crazy.

I tried all sorts of “find the music” magics online, including by singing, by humming, by audio file, by playing on a on-screen keyboard, by entering notes explicitly, and by typing in the contour (shape). Nothing worked. Clearly this was a famous cello piece, but I just could not find it.

Not until I randomly searched for “Rostropovich” and various terms, that I hit the right combination of words. In hindsight, I could have found it in a few minutes, with just “Rostropovich adagio”. So, it turned out that this piece was actually Bach’s organ toccata, BWV 564. Pablo Casals transcribed it for the cello, and apparently it was one of Rostropovich’s favorite piece. Continue reading

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Allemande from Bach Cello Suite 1 (BWV 1007)

This is one of the free and clean Bach cello music I am making available, as I transcribe them. See the parent article for context.

Here is a clean sheet showing only notes. You can print it out and add your own bowing and fingering marks. Click on the image to go to the PDF file. Continue reading

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Prelude from Bach Cello Suite 1 (BWV 1007)

This is one of the free and clean Bach cello music I am making available, as I transcribe them. See the parent article for context. This is one of the most well-known piece, and as a result was the first I played. But it is the last one I entered into Sibelius.

Here is a clean sheet showing only notes. You can print it out and add your own bowing and fingering marks. Click on the image to go to the PDF file. Continue reading

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Minuet 2 from Bach Cello Suite 1 (BWV 1007)

This is one of the free and clean Bach cello music I am making available, as I transcribe them. See the parent article for context.

Here is a clean sheet showing only notes. You can print it out and add your own bowing and fingering marks. Click on the image to go to the PDF file. Continue reading

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Gigue from Bach Cello Suite 1 (BWV 1007)

This is one of the free and clean Bach cello music I am making available, as I transcribe them. See the parent article for context.

Here is a clean sheet showing only notes. You can print it out and add your own bowing and fingering marks. Click on the image to go to the PDF file. Continue reading

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Courante from Bach Cello Suite 1 (BWV 1007)

This is one of the free and clean Bach cello music I am making available, as I transcribe them. See the parent article for context.

Here is a clean sheet showing only notes. You can print it out and add your own bowing and fingering marks. Click on the image to go to the PDF file. Continue reading

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Sarabande from Bach Cello Suite 1 (BWV 1007)

This is one of the free and clean Bach cello music I am making available, as I transcribe them. See the parent article for context.

It is the shortest piece in the suites. Here is a clean sheet showing only notes. You can print it out and add your own bowing and fingering marks. Click on the image to go to the PDF file. Continue reading

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Minuet 1 from Bach Cello Suite 1 (BWV 1007)

This is one of the free and clean Bach cello music I am making available, as I transcribe them. See the parent article for context.

This is one of the shortest pieces in the suites. So I transcribed it first. Here is a clean sheet showing only notes. You can print it out and add your own bowing and fingering marks. Click on the image to go to the PDF file. Continue reading

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Clean and Free Sheet Music for Bach Cello Suites

I have over the years looked online for sheet music for Bach Cello Suites. It usually happened when I engaged in one of the annual holiday rituals in my household. This is where I brought my cello of out its cold storage, wiped dust off, and played it until I redevelop finger strength and rediscover the joy of growing callouses on my fingertips.

In the early days of the internet, one had to pay for this 300-year-old music. And usually lots of money got you poorly scanned copies of poorly printed scores. Nowadays the quality is better in general. In addition, good folks have been transcribing this music, and have uploaded them them for you to download, for free, such as this and this.

Some of these modern PDF files are full of transcription errors. Even with the professionally-typeset scores, most of the times bowing and fingering marks don’t work for me. Normally I would white out all markings from a downloaded score. Then I would write my own, on top of the notes. This was the only way I could play this beautiful music without making unpleasant sounds, given my poor skill set.

I imagine I am not the only one to want to do this. So I am going to start making these clean, unmarked sheet music available from now on. I am transcribing them in Sibelius as I play them. At the rate I play, I may not be able to finish them all before I kick the bucket. But it’s still worth a try. It may help a soul or two. I’ll also post my own markings. They probably only work for myself. Use my markings if they help you. Ignore them if they annoy you. Continue reading

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