Bach, cello suites, dance

Document Type



Before J. S. Bach, the cello was rarely used as a solo instrument. With his suites for solo cello, however, Bach took the instrument out of the background of dance accompaniment and basso continuo, and placed it on the center stage for musical audiences. He accomplished this by using dance movements, a style in which the cello was already a familiar accompanying instrument. The forms of these dance movements were also used in such a way as to uniquely express the cello’s potential as a solo instrument. Ultimately, it was these suites that would inspire other composers to write solo works for the cello. By looking to the past, Bach created a work that looked to the future. This paper explores the musical elements in this work that contribute to their lasting influence.




DigitalCommons@Cedarville provides a publication platform for fully open access journals, which means that all articles are available on the Internet to all users immediately upon publication. However, the opinions and sentiments expressed by the authors of articles published in our journals do not necessarily indicate the endorsement or reflect the views of DigitalCommons@Cedarville, the Centennial Library, or Cedarville University and its employees. The authors are solely responsible for the content of their work. Please address questions to dc@cedarville.edu.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Musicology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.