Air On the G String by Bach for Guitar

Air “On the G String” by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – PDF sheet music arranged for classical guitar. From Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068 arranged for classical guitar. Includes both a notation-only edition and TAB edition, left hand fingering. The level is intermediate, around Grade 5 or 6.

MY PDF Sheet Music Edition

My arrangement takes the 1st violin part and the bass part from the original and keeps them intact except for some of the octave leaps. This arrangement was created for students or guitarists playing gigs such as weddings. It should be pretty straight forward in general. The original is an orchestral suite so clearly some reduction has taken place. I try to keep the violin melody intact and the notes in the bass are accurate but it was necessary reduce the octave leaps in the bass to fit on the guitar. Here’s the YouTube Lesson Link if you want to watch it there.

Samples & Promo Cover

More about this work

Bach’s third Orchestral Suite in D major, composed in the first half of the 18th century, has an “Air” as second movement, following its French overture opening movement. The suite is composed for three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, strings (two violin parts and a viola part), and basso continuo. In the second movement of the suite however only the strings and the continuo play. This is the only movement of the suite where all other instruments are silent. The music of the “Air” is written on four staves, for solo violin, violins, violas, and continuo. The interweaving melody lines of the high strings contrasts with the pronounced rhythmic drive in the bass. – via Wiki.

“The Overture in D major BWV 1068 has been preserved in a set of parts dating from around 1731; additional parts added later prove that Bach’s second­-eldest son Carl Philipp Emanuel borrowed this work of his father’s during his years of study in Frankfurt an der Oder (1734-1738) in order to perform it with his fellow students in the Collegium Musicum there. It is one of Bach’s most impressive and magnificent orchestral works. The character of the work is determined to a great extent by the sweeping first movement with its wealth of harmonic nuances; between the dotted rhythms of the grave sections which frame it a very fast fugato Allegro section unfolds, which in places displays concertante features. No less fascinating is the famous Air which follows; above the constant pendulum movement of the bass the first violins soar up in one of the most mysterious and tender melodies the composer ever wrote, gently counterpointed by the restrained counter-­melodies of second violin and viola. After this point of rest the work finds its way back to its basic festive mood in three lively dance movements.” – By Peter Wollny, Excerpt from this Naxos album.

Here’s another video of the piece at a slightly slower tempo and zoomed in a bit.

More Sheet Music and Lessons for Bach


Ask a Question or Leave a Positive Comment

  1. Upon re-visiting this piece, I realize that in measure 7, I have been holding on to the first B through out the length of the tie and don’t play the C note until the 32’nd C after the second beat. Is this a bad idea?

  2. I just bought this a couple weeks ago and I think this is a great edition. Some of the fingering suggestions took me by surprise, but they will lead you in the right direction. This piece is much more accessible to all guitar players due to your fine work. Good job.