Suite in E Minor, BWV 996 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – PDF sheet music for classical guitar. Popularly known as Lute Suite in E Minor. Comes with both a notation-only edition and a tab edition. Left hand fingering. The overall level is advanced but certain movements are easier than others. Movements: Praeludio-Presto, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Bourrée, Gigue.
Sheet Music and/or Tab Edition (PDF) – Includes both notation-only edition and TAB edition.
I’ve played through this suite for years but wanted to create my own edition based on the Johann Gottfried Walther (1684–1748) copy while curiously looking at the Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber (1702– 1775) copy which are both available on IMSLP. I believe my additional unfingered edition will be of great interest to professional guitarists just as the fingered edition will be to students. Although any performance of this suite on the guitar will require some editing due to register, I wanted my score to embrace as much of the manuscript as possible.
These pieces are advanced in level and are not always idiomatic to the six string guitar. They were likely written for the lute-harpsichord (lautenwerk), an uncommon Baroque keyboard instrument. For a variety of reasons and a few surviving lute tablature manuscripts (for other similar works) the suites became popularly known as the Lute Suites. Bach was familiar with lute players of the day such as Sylvius Leopold Weiss (1687–1750) and so it is not inconceivable that he could have imagined or even intended a lute to perform the works. For this suite, in terms of the manuscript, performance difficulty, key signature, and suitability, this is a keyboard composition. However, the overall lighter texture compared to his keyboard works hints at the texture capable by a lute. Nevertheless, modern guitar players have embraced the work and have found various arranging solutions for successful performance. Any serious performer will want to consult various editors but I hope this edition is useful and engaging.
An unfingered edition is also available upon request after purchase. The Bouree is also available as a free score.
Performance & Lesson Videos
The below performance and lesson plus free sheet music for the Bouree is from a other previous edition since it is so popular on its own.