A comparison of selected editions of Johann Sebastian Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite Number Six in D Major BWV 1012 transcribed for the viola

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Performance

First Committee Member

Pamela McConnell, Committee Chair


This study examines six viola transcriptions of the last of six unaccompanied suites written by J. S. Bach for cello. This suite, actually written for a five stringed instrument, has been transposed for viola by numerous individuals. The usual transposition is one octave higher than the original. It has also been transposed up the interval of a fourth, to G major. Six different editions of the D major transposition were compared. The editions concerned were those of Robert Boulay, Leonard Davis, Milton Katims, Samuel Lifschey, Simon Rowland-Jones, and Louis Svecenski. They are each compared to the copy made by Bach's second wife, Anna Magdalena Bach (1710--1767). This is in the absence of an original from the hand of the composer. Other aspects included in this composition are tempo and expression markings, bowings, notation, and rhythm and note differences. The essay concludes with an edition of the sixth suite by Joong Oh Lee.



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