Guitar Tablature: “Minuet in G” by J.S. Bach
Learning to play Bach’s “Minuet in G” on guitar will give you a chance to use all your scale practicing in a real song. J.S. Bach, a composer who lived and wrote during the Baroque era (1600–1750), originally wrote “Minuet in G” as a simple piano piece for student pianists (a group that included his wife). Despite its simplicity, the song’s melody has become universal. It even made its way into pop music in the 1965 hit by the Toys, “A Lover’s Concerto.”
As the title notes, Bach’s minuet is in the key of G. The song begins in 9th position, and the starting note is the 4th finger. To begin, place your left-hand 1st finger hovering above the 9th fret, and then plant your 4th finger on the starting note G on the 4th string, 12th fret.
Notice that at the beginning of the music you see a repeat sign (the combination of thick and thin vertical lines with two dots), which tells you that you repeat some portion of the song. So look for a corresponding repeat sign that defines the ending and outlines the passage for repeating; in this case, it comes at the end of bar 8. But this repeat uses first and second endings, indicated by the lines with “1.” and “2.” above the music. For music with first and second endings, you play only the first ending the first time through and only the second ending the second time through.
Bach’s original work has a section of music that we cut in the interest of brevity. At bar 11, the final section begins, and you switch positions so that you play a major scale in 2nd position. The passage leads off with some string skipping, so make sure that your right hand plays the correct strings. Notice that between bar 11, beat 3 and bar 12, beat 2, three notes in a row are all played on the same fret with the same finger (the 4th) but on different strings. Tip: You have a choice of how to play these. You can do either of the following to play the 2nd-string note:
Use the tip of your 4th finger and “hop” to the different strings
Play the first note with the tip, as usual, and then flatten out your finger, forming a mini-barre (a partial barre that covers just two or three strings)
Many real-world situations call for the “flattening” approach, but in the case of Bach’s minuet, the tempo is slow enough that you can play the notes comfortably by finger hopping if you’d like.