Bach, "Fugue BWV 998"
Perfection in Music...Heaven on Earth...
Johannes Sebastian Bach a man I sincerely believe is now in the Glorious Presence of God, in other words a Saint. I have this intimate certainty that Johannes is receiving all the glory that a man of his total dedication to live according to his faith deserves.
Visit the Prelude BWV 998
Bach raised 21 children... Yes, 21 ! He signed all his work S.D.G. -All the Glory to God- his sacred music is known to have converted both atheists and agnostics. He did his work to such a degree of excellence that we can affirm that he is the greatest musician who ever lived. He knew his share of the Cross, the death of his wife, blindness that made his work almost impossible and the limitations of musician that were simply not capable of reproducing the genius of his work to his expectations. Add to this that I pray an Hail Mary to ensure he gets more and more glory in the Heaven he so hardly pursued.
Fugue BWV 998, and her opening Prelude, are in my opinion pieces that show that humans can really tough the Heavens here on Earth. These pieces are perfect ! The Fugue introduces musical ideas that speak of the future of music... I believe that the lute music Bach wrote is his best solo instrumental music.
They are only rivaled by the piano -klavicord- works that were elevated even higher by the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. Another great gift of our Lord to humanity... and of course the Chaconne in D Minor for solo Violin.
This transcription is my tribute to St Johannes. I am putting my whole self to the service of such a monumental work to ensure that it adds to the glory that a piece of this stature deserves... I fingered the work so naturally that you can master a staff and commit it to memory in just a few minutes.
I recommend you do not rush though and rather leave nothing to chance and play slowly enough so as to have total control of every single move of your hands.
Left Hand Presentations
The Green and Orange Dotted lines indicate the lane of the left hand knuckles. The color indicates how much or how little the left hand knuckles are parallel to the strings. Typically I shift the color of the dotted lines from Green to Orange to Red.
I offer an alternative transcription for some staffs. Click the Orange Button underneath the staff -where it says Click Here for Version 2-. You will see that it flows better and the musical sacrifice was minimal, actually I believe that the musical sacrifice is not doing more. In the example above you will see I changed fingers 3 for finger 2 and finger 2 for finger 1. The reason is that this change will force you to relax the left hand. This is something which is crucial and more essential to the safe continuation of the execution of the Fugue. It cannot be stressed enough how crucial fingering is to making guitar music sound beautiful. I am not exaggerating it is ESSENTIAL. The guitar can be defined as the "transcription Instrument per excellence". Its root and it success in the music world has be conquered one one transcription after the next. Guitar players can become masters in transcribing and therefore in Fingering. The only time we fail is when we forget the limitations of the instrument and neglecting its weaknesses is ignoring it many assets. Deciding which notes will stay on the score must be your first decision and you must weight all the possible factors and scenarios available. It is always preferable to play a note or more less in a chord than trying to play all the written notes only to sound sloppy and very probably making a mistake. The mistake was actually conceived in your fingering stage of the work. Other valid instances can be the type of guitar you use. For instance when Andres Segovia played his Hauser, with the tremendous 3rd string he used to arrange pieces to exploit this asset. When he passed to the Ramirez, he would leave the 3rd alone more often and changed fingering accordingly. You will see me use the word RELAX throughout the work. In those instances you must release all tension from the body or you will not sound well or even make lots of mistakes. When your body asks to tense up, do the opposite, RELAX. Read all about relaxations HERE>>
Staff and Video 1
The Baroque Fugue is an art within the art. It is one of the toughest types of compositions and if the composer was not a part of "Composing Royalty" he knew he better stay away from this amazing form. The rules that govern the Fugue are quite strict and only the best of the best can compose unimaginably beautiful fugues... the rest, would probably write a long and boring piece. Fugue BWV 998 starts like all Fugues: It introduces the main theme to the listener. This main theme will reappear in different parts of the work in different voices and in disguised forms... Bach will keep you in awe throughout the piece and when it finishes, you wish it lasted much longer. Do not adornate the opening and present the main theme as simply as you can. The transformations begin the second the main theme presentation of the main teme (first 8 notes in light Blue) is through. Immediately followed by the Answer (notes in Purple) which had to be 5 notes higher or 4 notes lower than the Main Theme.
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