Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996

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Suite in E minor, BWV 996, is a musical composition written by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) between 1708 and 1717. It is probable that this suite was intended for lute-harpsichord.[1] Because that is an uncommon instrument, it is in modern times often performed on the guitar.

Musical structure[edit]

The work consists of six movements:

  1. Präludium: Presto
  2. Allemande
  3. Courante
  4. (Sarabande)
  5. Bourrée
  6. (Gigue)

Instrumentation[edit]

Bach wrote his lute pieces in a traditional score rather than in lute tablature, and some believe that Bach played his lute pieces on the keyboard.[2] No original script of the Suite in E minor for Lute by Bach is known to exist.[3] However, in the collection of one of Bach's pupils, Johann Ludwig Krebs, there is one piece ("Praeludio – con la Suite da Gio: Bast. Bach") that has written "aufs Lauten Werck" ("for the lute-harpsichord") in unidentified handwriting.[3]

Some argue that despite the annotation about the lute-harpsichord, the piece was meant to be played on the lute as demonstrated by the texture.[3] Others argue that since the piece was written in E minor, it would be incompatible with the baroque lute which was tuned to D minor.[4] Nevertheless, it may be played with other string instruments, such as the guitar, mandola or mandocello, and keyboard instruments, and the fifth movement (the bourrée) is especially well-known among guitarists.[5]

See also[edit]

  • Bourrée in E minor, other uses of the fifth movement bourrée from this suite in classical and popular music

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ripin, Edwin M. & Wraight, Denzil. "Lute-harpsichord". In L. Root, Deane. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ Nancy Bachus; Daniel Glover (2000). The Baroque Spirit, Bk 2: Book & CD. Alfred Music Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-7390-0502-6. 
  3. ^ a b c Hannu Annala; Heiki Mätlik (2008). Handbook of Guitar and Lute Composers. Mel Bay Publications. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7866-5844-2. 
  4. ^ Johann Sebastian Bach; Jozsef Eotvos (2002). J. S. Bach: The Complete Lute Works. Mel Bay Publications. p. vi. ISBN 978-0-7866-6819-9. 
  5. ^ Elizabeth T. Knuth. "Bourrée". Retrieved 2007-12-18.