This short Bach guitar lesson is going to cover Invention 1 for two guitars. This piece is the perfect vehicle to learn the basics of Baroque music, how to ornament lines, and will help with playing with others. So keeping time, and counting.
Invention 1 by J.S. Bach
Invention No. 1 is a two-voice keyboard work in the key of C major. Its creative seed is a single idea (motif) contained in the first bar. There are two versions of this piece, as Bach elaborated on the autograph score at a later date, adding in triplet runs. Its “simple” two parts enable you to concentrate on Bach’s music, while still performing with another guitar.
Invention No. 1 was probably first composed around 1722–1723 in Cöthen, Germany. The piece arose out of a very simple need: Bach was trying to teach his second child, Wilhelm Friedemann (1710–1784) the family trade—music. He compiled a book of the basics, which included clef and note names, ornaments, and a selection of his “simple” pieces from a variety of sources, such as the French Suites, and Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier, to systematically teach composition and the clavichord.
Bach Guitar Lesson Video
There are four short micro studies to this lesson, with TAB, that will help you play in time, count in time, make musical decisions and of course improvise (or ornament) a line of Baroque music.
Above the first micro study tackles playing those awesome Bach lines that move in a series of sequences. This is great for timing and for RH finger choices. Of course this can be extended to tone choices, and matching tones and a whole host of other lessons. But first and foremost – keep time!
Bach Guitar Devices
The Bach guitar lessons also simplifies the devices that Bach is using in this Invention to compose it. So play through these above, they have been transposed into C major, and then see if you can spot them as you play. This micro study also focuses on being able to bring out complex musical ideas when playing as a duo. So tone choices become important.
Baroque Ornaments Bach’s Lesson
Bach was the most complete teacher, he left a wonderful guide to how he wanted his ornaments, and even how he improvised over the music. And Invention 1 is a wonderful entry into improvising your own lines in this style. Why? Well Bach left two versions of this piece, a basic copy; and a second ornate version in the Italianate style – very florid, and fast.
Above is a section from both that highlights the two main ornaments Bach used, and how to play them on guitar. And then how he conceived improvising over these lines.
Bach Time Keeping
One of the most terrifying things playing in a guitar duo can be counting. This micro study will help with this. Here you need to count -carefully. It is a great simple idea, with no real technical challenge, other than counting. So work it in repeats, use both guitar parts to really get the most out of it!