Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
Minuet in G Bach
Known worldwide as "Bach's Minuet in G", this well-known piece wasn't in fact composed by J.S. Bach but by the lesser-known German composer Christian Petzold.
It's a typical Baroque-period piece composed for harpsichord and is included in the famous Anna Magdalena Notebook, a book of keyboard pieces that Bach compiled and dedicated to his wife Anna Magdalena. For centuries it was believed that Bach had composed this minuet until research carried out in the 1970s firmly established Christian Petzold as the original composer. Bach never claimed to have composed this piece; it was just assumed that he was the composer due to its inclusion in the Anna Magdalena Notebook. The vast majority of keyboard pieces in the compilation are composed by Bach.
This guitar transcription of Minuet in G is of lower-intermediate level of difficulty and is well worth learning. The video contains the music score written in standard notation (staff notation) and also guitar tablature. The accompanying audio track is converted from the MIDI output of Finale, the notation software that I used to create the score. Make sure to use the highest playback quality setting on the video to ensure the clearest display.
The score underneath the video is the same score, except it doesn't change in time with the music. Use that for study purposes if you want to learn this piece.
Minuet in G
Download Minuet in G as a PDF file
Click to open and download a free PDF file of Minuet in G for offline viewing and printing
Learners' Notes for Minuet in G
The form of this minuet is 'two section' or binary form, which is a very common form for music of the Baroque period. The two sections: A & B are repeated, so the playing order is:
- A - A - B - B
Typical of minuets, the time signature is 34 'three-four', meaning three beats per bar and each beat is worth a quarter note. Also, as it's a minuet, it should be played with a light 'dancey' feel.
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Fingering for both picking hand and fretting hand is shown at various places, but they are suggestions only. Feel free to use any fingering you prefer. If you're not familiar with finger labels used in classical guitar, see the fingering chart.
Slurs (Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs)
I haven't included any hammer-ons or pull-offs in this arrangement because slurs aren't a feature of music written for early keyboard instruments. Put them in wherever you feel they enhance this guitar arrangement, though.
G B D
Tonic (Home chord)
C E G
A C E
D F# A
Dominant (leading to tonic)
E G B
Submediant (pivot chord)
A C# E
Secondary Dominant (leading to new tonic, D major)
Key and Chords
The key is G major with a modulation (key change) to D major in the second section, starting at bar 20 with the introduction of the out-of-key note C# and the out-of-key chord A major. The chart shows the chords that Minuet in G consists of - either played in full or spread out through the bar.
By bar 24, the modulation to the new key of D major is complete and then immediately cancelled by bringing in the C natural bass note on the last beat of the bar. This implies a D7 chord, which being the dominant 7th chord of the original key, leads us away from the new key and back to G major.
The chord E minor is known as a pivot chord in this context because it belongs to both keys (G major and D major) and provides a neat way to modulate from one to the other, without the key change seeming too abrupt.
Working in Dresden, Germany, the composer Christian Petzold (1677-1733) was a contemporary of J.S. Bach. Despite not achieving the exalted status of Bach, he nevertheless was a successful composer and keyboard performer of his time. Little of his music is known today, but the inclusion by Bach of this now highly popular piece in the Anna Magdalena Notebook is testament to the high quality of Petzold's compositional skills.
Some More Easy Classical Guitar Pieces to Try
Check out some of my easy classical guitar arrangements (at least, easier than Minuet in G) here on Spinditty:
- Giuliani: "Etude in A minor"—A very popular and easy classical guitar study by Italian guitarist and composer Mauro Giuliani.
- Carulli: "Waltz in D major"—Another easy classical guitar piece by another Italian guitarist and composer, Ferdinando Carulli
- Dowland: "Orlando Sleepeth"—A Renaissance-period piece by Elizabethan composer, John Dowland
Formerly attributed to J.S. Bach, Minuet in G is composed by Christian Petzold (1677-1733) and is in the public domain.
The score arrangement, audio track and cover image are by chasmac and produced on Finale, Goldwave and Photoshop.
Questions & Answers
Question: Could you make a version of this arrangement with just the sheet music rather than with the sheet and tab? I'm terrible at stopping myself from looking at the tab and never can memorize a piece that way.
Answer: Print out the PDF version from the link below the score and black out the tabs. I can't add a notation-only version to the article.
© 2014 Chas Mac
Benas Levy on July 25, 2018:
WEll done very appropriate for students of the guitar