This guitar lesson shows you how to learn the awesome fugue from BWV 1000 by J.S. Bach. It has a series of videos that will walk you through how to practice & effectively perform each section of this piece. Giving fingering tips, any hacks, and many more insights into learning this old masterpiece. Along with a fully tabbed score, see below.
Get Bach Fugue BWV 1000 Score
Grab your copy of the in depth study guide that goes along with these video lessons. Fully tabbed out, so there is no guess work to where your fingers need to go, along with all the left hand hacks and guides you need to perform this piece confidently.
Learn Bach’s Youthfull Fugue (BWV 1000)
This piece was originally from BWV 1001 – violin sonata no. 1 – in G minor. Composed around 1720 in Kothen Germany. The version we are playing today, resides in a lute manuscript, by one of Bach’s contemporaries, Christain Weyrauch.
- A section, opening chord I to V
- B section, CHORD V to I
This fugue is an early work of Bach’s, and was composed around 1720. It has three other versions that Bach recomposed. There is the violin version, BWV 1001 (G minor) ; and then we have a version for organ, BWV. . Both of which are worth listening too, and even checking out in score form. As it will help you understand the slight variations Bach makes for each instrument.
It is normally paired with prelude BWV 999 to make a complete performance.
Bach BWV 1000 Fugal Voice Entries
This opening is very iconic, we have a four voice entry, beginning with the alto, then tenor, soprano, and finally bass voice. All in a very typical structure: V (alto), I (tenor), V (soprano), I (bass). Unusually, the first note is off the beat. A characteristic that bach exploits throughout this fantastic fugue.
Right & Left Hands in BWV 1000
Left-hand fingering is going to be the main issue with this fugue, try and keep the voices on. My fingering has opted to keep voices on certain strings, for as long as is musically possible. But I have not been a slave to this ideal.
The right-hand will not need to “mark” out each voice entry. Trust Bach, he has done a fabulous job already with that. Your goal is for a lovely, even tonal texture, with chord voices controlled. Occasionally you will need to separate voices, but not that often.
The video below will help with the opening section ideas. Take it slow, and make sure you are very clear about where, and what, your left hand fingers are doing.
First Italianate Section in BWV 1000
I adore this fugue for one very good reason, it has a sprinkling of every major device Bach ever used in music. (Just about!) This next lesson will deal with the first set of running sixteenth notes that appear in this fugue. Use open strings to cover ground, when needed, and try and separate out the voices. Again we have a classical Bach feature, implied polyphony.
Next Fugal Entries for BWV 1000
Bach then decides to place the next set of voice entries up an octave, but not in a strict 4 voice entry pattern. We have more of a canon idea happening here. So the entries are: V (Soprano), I (Alto), IV (Soprano), III (Alto). The idea has been developed by an added sixteenth note, which he then playfully employs to write canons, between the two voices. Very clever part writing.
Bach Canon in the Fugue
This next section is a little challenging as it involves the first set of chords. It has the feel of Bach sitting at an organ, working through the ideas. Take your time and work through each new chord voicing slowly. The main trick will be to joining them up smoothly.
New Voice Entry & Development
This next video lesson dives into Bach starting to extend his main fugal idea for BWV 1000. Here we find ourselves having to playing two, and three, part harmony as the voices begin to build up and across one another. Again we have a playful canon idea waltzing through here. And a cycle of five.
Chords & Thirds in the Fugue
This next section is the first mini build up we have, Bach uses sixths, and thirds eventually, to propel the ideas forward into the next Italianate section. The challenge here is to play legato, make sure those thirds are nice and even, and flowing
Italianate Section 2 for BWV 1000
This next section is a joy to play through, it just flows wonderfully over the fretboard. We have a series of running sixteenth note arpeggios, that move in a short cycle of five. There are options to this part of the arrangement, so be sure to check the score, and the video, to see where you can place your bass notes.
Bach Fugue BWV 1000 Complete
That is it, all done. This is the final lesson of this massive baroque fugue. You are finished with learning this amazing musical statement. You just need to practice it. To begin with, break the sections up into slightly smaller chunks, and add them slowly up together, to form a whole section. Be very clear on how each section develops, or whether it is a voice entry section, Italian sixteenth section, chords, etc. This knowledge will help you learn, and memorise, this wonderful Fugue from Bach.
Get BWV 998 Prelude Fugue & Allegro
So you have want more? Then your next Bach Piece should be BWV 998, it is the perfect next step on a Bachian learning journey, with its homage to lute Prelude, and the mature fugue in the 2nd movement.
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