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Baroque Period (Guitar Lesson)

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Danny Voris

Baroque Period

Danny discusses and demonstrates a piece from the Baroque period.

Taught by Danny Voris in Classical Guitar seriesLength: 22:17Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (05:56) Introduction to Baroque Lesson Objectives

-Learn how to play J.S. Bach's famous minuet in G.
-Learn key historical and stylistic elements of the Baroque period.
-Learn key compositional elements of the minuet form.

Note: Stylistic information pertaining to each of the five periods of Western art music (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern) will soon be posted in the Articles section of JamPlay. This section can be accessed through the left-hand side of the homepage. Learning this information will help you interpret written scores in a stylistically appropriate manner. Without knowing the background information and the approach that went into composing a piece of music, you will not be able to play it as it was meant to be performed.

Process of Learning a New Piece of Music

Always follow the steps listed below when learning any new piece of music.

1. Listen to Several Recordings of the Piece

This is one of the most frequently recorded pieces from the Baroque period. Bach's classic Minuet in G has been recorded by keyboardists, string players, and by countless other instrumentalists. Listen to a variety of different recordings to explore all possible interpretations of the piece.

2. Note the Title and Composer

A. Minuet

The minuet is an elegant dance movement played in triple meter. Remember that a triple meter is one in which each measure can be subdivided into three sections. Common examples of triple meter are 3/4, 3/8, and 9/8. 6/8 and 12/8 are NOT examples of triple meter. Rather, they are examples of "compound duple" meters.

From a melodic standpoint, the minuet features regular, balanced phrases. Due to the straightforward nature of the melody, most minuets are quite simple in terms of the supporting harmony.

Hit the library to learn some more information about this important musical form! Do not get your musical information from Wikipedia!!! This background information is essential to performing the piece in the appropriate style.

B. Composer - J.S. Bach

Bach is arguably the most important composer of all time! Consequently, you should learn as much as you can about his life and work. Check out the following links for more information:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

3. Note the Tempo and Style

In the case of this piece, no tempo or style is listed. Listening to recordings and studying the background information pertaining to the "minuet" should give you a clear idea of the appropriate tempo and style.

4. Note the Key Signature - G Major

5. Note the Time Signature - 3/4

6. Scan for Other Important Characteristics

Make a note of important features such as form, phrase structure, accidentals, key changes, time signature changes, etc.

Performance Example

Watch and listen several times as Danny performs the first section of the minuet (mm. 1-16) at 00:50 before you begin to practice this excerpt.

Right Hand Fingering

Alternate the I and M fingers when playing groups of eighth notes.

Left Hand Fingering
Pay careful attention to the left hand fingering that Danny demonstrates. You will need to use this fingering to accommodate the bass line of the piece. Economy of movement is key!


The rhythm of this melody is incredibly basic. Write in the appropriate counting syllables below the staff to ensure that you are interpreting the rhythm correctly. All of the rhythms are either quarter notes or eighth notes.

Notice how the rhythm of the first two phrases is identical. This is a key feature of the piece. Noticing features such as this really comes in handy when it comes to memorizing a piece.

Bass Rhythm

Count 1+2+3+ for bars of 3/4 that contain eighth notes. This enables you to divide each beat into its two even halves.

Dotted Notes

The bass line features dotted half notes. A half note by itself receives two beats. A dot adds half of the written value of the note. So, half of two beats is one beat. Thus, a dotted half note receives 2+1 beats, or a total of 3 beats.

Practice Tips

-Learn the melody one phrase at a time.

-Do not include the bass line yet regardless of how good you think you are!

-Really listen to the melody as you play it! Danny demonstrates the first phrase at 02:00. Emulate his example with your own playing.
Chapter 2: (06:57) Bars 5-8 of Minuet in G A Few Notes on the Score

Danny only teaches the first half of Bach's "Minuet" in this lesson. A copy of the full score is provided in the "Supplemental Content" in case you wish to learn the piece in its entirety.


This piece was originally written for the lute. Countless pieces written for lute during the Renaissance and Baroque periods have since been arranged for the modern day classical guitar. Bach's lute works are a prime example. His lute works have become a very important part of classical guitar literature from the Baroque period.

It should be noted that an early version of the guitar known as the "Baroque guitar" was in existence at this time. However, Bach never composed any music for it. This is most likely due to the fact that the Baroque guitar was not nearly as popular as instruments like the lute and the harpsichord. The famous Minuet in G was written as a beginner harpsichord study in G major.

Performance Example

Danny demonstrates measures 5-8 at 01:30 in the lesson video. Keep in mind that he is playing these measures slightly slower than the ideal goal performance tempo. He does this to help you follow along with what he is playing. Watch and listen to this example several times before you practice these measures.

Adding Slurs

Notice how Danny adds in some hammer-ons and pull-offs as he plays the melody. Keep in mind that this piece was not originally written for the guitar. These slurs were added into the score by the guitarist who arranged the piece. Hammer-ons and pull-offs can be added into an interpretation of a Bach piece if the performer feels that it aids in the performance of the melody or accompaniment part. Base your decision of whether to slur or not on how the melody sounds. This is slightly more important than what is comfortable for the hands.

Make sure that your slurs are played evenly. Set the metronome so that it clicks on every eighth note. The first note in the slur must receive the exact same value as the second. Many beginner and intermediate guitarists have the tendency to cut the first note short.

Practice Tips

Remember to practice the melody and accompaniment separately before combining them together!
Chapter 3: (03:40) Bars 9-12 of Minuet in G Phrase Structure

Phrase 1: mm. 1-4 (phrase a)
Phrase 2: mm. 5-8 (phrase b)
Phrase 3: mm. 9-12 (phrase a)
Phrase 4: mm. 13-16 (phrase b' - pronounced "b prime")

Notice how the melody of measures 1-6 is the same as 9-14 of the melody. However, the bass line differs in these measures. A simplistic, catchy theme is repeated over a slightly different bass line to add some subtle variety to the piece.
Chapter 4: (05:42) Bars 13-16 of Minuet in G To Slur or not to Slur

Notice that pull-offs are not written in the score in measures 13 and 14. The melody is identical to measures 5 and 6, which both contain slurs. Since the bass line is different in measures 13 and 14, the slurs are not quite as practical in these measures.

B Section of the Piece

Using the skills that Danny has taught you, tackle the second half of this minuet on your own. Notation and tablature to the full piece are provided under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

stephenkingstephenking replied

Why doesnt Danny teach the last part of the song? He teaches the song halfway and then suddenly no more lesson clip.

stephenkingstephenking replied

Why doesnt Danny teach the last part of the song? He teaches the song halfway and then suddenly no more lesson clip.

tommyrod2003tommyrod2003 replied

please I an unable to obain the tab section for the lesson 12. can your staff look into this problem for me.

tommyrod2003tommyrod2003 replied

could you obtain the tab's for this lesson. the lesson is great thank you for your service.

jboothjbooth replied

Have you clicked the "supplemental content" section? There is tab for Minuet in that section.

giardjagiardja replied

I am working on my left hand fingering for this lesson. I posted an PDF file to the JamPlay Forum of the fingering that I am using. I think it is fairly efficient, but I am wondering how everyone else fingers this song. Verses 9, 13, and 16 are a bit tricky. Any suggestions?

giardjagiardja replied

In measure 9 it looks like Danny doesn't hold the B base note for the full count. He uses his second finger and then moves it to the A note on the second off beat. According to the sheet music the B base note should be held for two full beats. Has anyone figured out a fingering that allows the B to be held for the two full beats? I am holding the B base note with my second finger and then using my third finger to fret the A note on the second off beat. What's everyone else doing?

gone workingone workin replied

Between scenes we hear the composer who was so very much ahead of his time, the other J S Bach: Johann S'abluegrass Bach. Talk about a counterpoint! Seriously though, this is a popular piece indeed, especially with me. I look forward to working on this very orderly structure! Great sample of the era. I would not complain if you were to do several more Baroque pieces.

SylviaSylvia replied

:o) such soothing homework music. Can't wait to actually try the lesson. Thanks Danny.

Classical Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

The origins of the classical guitar date back to the fifteenth century. The vihuela, lute, and baroque guitar are the early predecessors of the guitar. With its origins reaching deep into the past, the classical guitar repertoire spans over five hundred years worth of material. Danny Voris explains the techniques necessary to mastering this timeless art form.

Overview of the Classical GuitarLesson 1

Overview of the Classical Guitar

Danny provides an overview of the topics that will be discussed in this lesson set. He also explains the origin of the classical guitar.

Length: 5:57 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Preparing to Play the Classical GuitarLesson 2

Preparing to Play the Classical Guitar

In this lesson, Danny covers proper posture and how to hold the classical guitar. He also explains how to shape the nails in order to produce the best tone possible.

Length: 19:44 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Installing Nylon StringsLesson 3

Installing Nylon Strings

Danny demonstrates how to install nylon strings on a classical guitar.

Length: 12:58 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Left Hand TechniqueLesson 4

Left Hand Technique

Danny covers the basics of left hand techniques for classical guitar.

Length: 20:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Finger Independence Lesson 5

Finger Independence

For lesson five, Danny discusses left hand finger independence. He also discusses hammer-on and pull-off technique.

Length: 17:06 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Right Hand TechniqueLesson 6

Right Hand Technique

In lesson 6, Danny discusses and demonstrates right hand technique for the classical style.

Length: 24:26 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
ArpeggiosLesson 7


Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

Length: 8:43 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
The Importance of ScalesLesson 8

The Importance of Scales

Lesson 8 covers scale exercises in the classical format. Danny provides a few patterns that focus on finger independence and position shifts.

Length: 6:26 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Renaissance PeriodLesson 9

Renaissance Period

In lesson 9, Danny begins discussion of the five different musical periods of classical guitar music. He starts with the Renaissance.

Length: 40:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Robert Johnson's AlmanLesson 10

Robert Johnson's Alman

In lesson 10, Danny takes a more in depth look at a Robert Johnson's "Alman." This lesson contains a detailed explanation of fingering.

Length: 27:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Behind the Scenes with Danny VorisLesson 11

Behind the Scenes with Danny Voris

Danny Voris discusses the major music periods and the advent of tonality.

Length: 7:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Baroque PeriodLesson 12

Baroque Period

Danny discusses and demonstrates a piece from the Baroque period.

Length: 22:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Classical PeriodLesson 13

Classical Period

In lesson 13, Danny discusses the Classical period of music.

Length: 20:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Romantic PeriodLesson 14

Romantic Period

In lesson 14, Danny discusses the Romantic period of music. He demonstrates a famous piece from this period commonly referred to as "Romance."

Length: 21:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The 20th CenturyLesson 15

The 20th Century

In this lesson, Danny discusses the 20th century influence on classical guitar.

Length: 22:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Danny Voris

About Danny Voris View Full Biography

A unique guitarist in the region, Wright State alumnus Danny Voris, musically fulfills audiences with a mixture of exciting guitar playing and talented compositional skills. After graduating WSU in 1989, Danny obtained a teaching position at Sinclair Community College. In the fall of 2000, Danny obtained a scholarship to the graduate program at The University of Akron. After graduating the University of Akron in 2002 with a Master’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance, Danny returned to Dayton. There he began teaching at Jim McCutcheon Music Studios and at The Miami Valley School in Kettering, Ohio.

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