In 2019 I have undertaken a year-long exploration of one of music’s great masterworks: the final movement from Bach’s Partita in D minor for solo violin. Starting from the original violin version I will develop an adaptation for the guitar and learn to play it. Along the way I’ll be documenting the process and the writing about the music, the guitar, and more in an online Journal. The culmination will be the creation of a video as well as a live performance on Facebook.
I have two goals for this project. The first, obviously, is to learn this wonderful piece of music—one that I have often picked up and read through but never really studied. It offers significant technical and interpretive challenges, but it also contains one of my favorite moments in all of music. It will be worth the effort.
The other goal is to develop some skills as a writer that go beyond my ability to write good marketing copy or business memos in my day job, or funny poems and snarky posts on social media. I can’t really write about learning this piece without also writing about how I became a guitarist in the first place and the roles that the guitar, and music, have played in my life.
Doing this project in public is a way of holding myself accountable. A number of years ago I committed to running my first 5K. At the time, the only running I did was to the refrigerator for snacks. I did a “Couch to 5K” training program that I shared online, and doing that was the only thing that kept me going. I hope that this will work the same way.
So click on the Journal to read about my progress. If you are visiting for the first time a good place to start is with this post. There is also a Guitar Primer to provide some technical information for readers not familiar with some of the details of the instrument, and a Resources page where I will post scores and media. I invite you to comment on any of the posts and to subscribe by email using the button in the sidebar.
Thank you for reading, and for being a part of this journey.
— Chris Freitag, January 1, 2019