Partita for Violin No. 3 (Bach)

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First page of opening preludio

The Partita No. 3 in E major for solo violin, BWV 1006.1 (formerly 1006),[1] is the last work in Johann Sebastian Bach's set of Sonatas and Partitas. It consists of the following movements:

  1. Preludio
  2. Loure
  3. Gavotte en Rondeau
  4. Menuets (I and II)
  5. Bourrée
  6. Gigue

It takes about 15–18 minutes to perform.

Bach transcribed the Partita as a suite, cataloged as BWV 1006.2 (formerly 1006a).[2] The music critic Wilhelm Tappert claimed in 1900 that this arrangement was for lute solo, but present research[by whom?] indicates that it was for an unspecified instrument.[3]

The Preludio consists almost entirely of semiquavers (i.e. sixteenth notes). The Preludio was also transcribed by Bach for use in two cantatas:

Bach Gavotte from Partita 3 for Violin.png

The "Gavotte en Rondeau" is included on the Voyager Golden Record and often heard in TV or radio programs.[4]

In 1933 Sergei Rachmaninoff transcribed for piano (and subsequently recorded) the Preludio, Gavotte, and Giga from this partita (as TN 111/1).[5] An arrangement of the Preludio for jazz trio by Jacques Loussier appeared on his Reflections of Bach album of 1987[6] and was used as the theme of the BBC Radio 4 music quiz show Counterpoint.[7]


  1. ^ "Partita no. 3, E BWV 1006.1; BWV 1006". Bach Digital. Leipzig: Bach Archive; et al. 2020-04-09.
  2. ^ "Suite, E (arr. of BWV 1006.1) BWV 1006.2; BWV 1006a". Bach Digital. Leipzig: Bach Archive; et al. 2020-04-29.
  3. ^ Titmuss, Clive, "The Myth of Bach's Lute Suites", in Classical Guitar website, accessed 27 April 2015
  4. ^ Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record. New York: Ballantine Books. 1979. p. 170. ISBN 978-0345283962.
  5. ^ Rowat, Robert (2 October 2018). "Here's the arrangement of Bach's Violin Partita in E Major you didn't know you needed". CBC Music. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Jacques Loussier: Bach's Instrumental Works". Bach Cantatas Website. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Counterpoint". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 17 April 2022.

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