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Discovering the Hidden Polyphony behind Bach´s Complete Cello Suites

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach / arr. Theodor Milkov

Instrument: Marimba

Level: Advanced

Published: 2022

Price: €60.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • Arranged and adapted by Theodor Milkov


      In his solo repertoire for string instruments, Johann Sebastian Bach manages to create a sense of polyphony within a single musical line. Through my many years of teaching and lecturing across the globe, I’ve noticed a lack of awareness within the percussion community about this hidden polyphonic structure. 

      The following collection provides a useful visual outline of the hidden polyphony within the six cello suites, and should also be used as a general guide for interpreting any solo work by J.S. Bach. 

      The ability to expand a single musical line into multiple voices is an incredibly powerful skill. Because each voice has its own color, character, timing, direction, intonation and meaning, one can hone a refined concept of musical phrasing and interpretation through this exercise. 

      Begin your practice by working on each voice separately. Give each their own character, color, etc. Only join them together once you are satisfied with your interpretation. 

      I intentionally refrained from adding sticking or dynamic suggestions. I encourage you to explore your own musical ideas as you return to these pieces at various stages of your musical development. 

      Theodor Milkov

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba (5.0 Octave)

  • About the composer +
    • Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over three hundred cantatas of which around two hundred survive. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth. 

      Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

      Russian-Greek percussionist Theodor Milkov is widely recognized as one of the most innovative marimba players in the world. Well-known for his pianistic approach to the instrument, revolutionary ideas and technical abilities, he has succeeded in bringing the art of marimba performance to entirely new heights. Milkov's repertoire includes virtuosic transcriptions of music originally written for harpsichord and piano, as well as contemporary compositions dedicated to himself.

      Milkov began his percussion studies at the age of seven at the Municipal Conservatory of Patras, Greece, under the supervision of his stepfather Maxim Mankovski. Subsequently, he studied at the Musikhochschule Detmold (Germany), the Royal Conservatoire Den Haag and the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam (The Netherlands), taking lessons with prominent teachers such as Peter Prommel, Hans Zanderoep, Fedor Teunisse, Luuk Nagdegaal, Nick Woud and Gustavo Gimmeno.

      In 2017, he hosted the first Milkov International Marimba Summer Camp (MIMSC) – a rigorous training course based on his marimba method "My Pianistic Approach” which is presented in this book. MIMSC quickly became one of the most popular annually recurring percussion events, attracting eager participants from all over the world: USA, Japan, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, China, Latvia and Hungary.

      Since 2017 Theodor is a Yamaha and Vic Firth/Zildjian artist

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
      Photos: © Thanos Bikos
      Portrait: Damian Aronidis
      Engraving: Ary Golomb
      Editing: Eduardo Meneses
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER