Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
Minuet in G is a lower-intermediate level arrangement of one of J. S. Bach's best known pieces. It's a typical baroque piece, composed for harpsichord and is included in a book of keyboard pieces dedicated to his wife Anna Magdalena.
The video contains the music for Minuet in G 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. To see it larger and clearer, click on any stave.
J.S.Bach - Minuet in G
Minuet in G - PDF file.
Click to open and download a PDF file of Bach's 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 period that is synonymous with the works of Bach, the undisputed master composer of this period. The two sections: A & B are repeated, so the playing order is:
- A - A - B - B
The time signature is 34 'three-four', meaning three beats per bar and each beat is worth a quarter note. As it's a minuet, it should be played with a light 'dancey' feel.
Fingering for both picking hand and fretting 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 they're not a feature of harpsichord music - the instrument that Minuet in G was composed for. 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, leads us away from the new key and back to the original home key of 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.
J. S. Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of all time. He was born in Eisenach, Germany, and as a child studied violin, organ and harpsichord. As an adult, he worked in some highly prestigious positions including as Director of Music for Prince Leopold and as Royal Court Composer to Auguste III, King of Poland.
Bach never composed any music for guitar, unfortunately, but many of his compositions for other instruments (especially the lute) have been transcribed for guitar and form an important part of the classical guitar repertoire.
He also produced some musically talented sons who, although not in the same league as their father, are remembered as respected musicians and composers with published works still heard today. The most famous of these are (probably) C. P. E. Bach and J. C. Bach.
Bach belongs firmly in the Baroque period of music, which fits between the earlier Renaissance period and the later Classical period. Lots of independent themes and very intricate counterpoint, but simpler harmonies, were typical of music composed in the Baroque period.
You can learn more about J. S. Bach on Wikipedia.
Some Easy Classical Guitar Pieces to Try
Check out some of my easy classical guitar arrangements (at least, easier than Minuet in G) here on HubPages:
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
Minuet in G is composed by J.S. Bach (1685-1750) 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 chasmac
Benas Levy on July 25, 2018:
WEll done very appropriate for students of the guitar