July Free Sheet Music: Cello Suite No. 1

One of my favorite pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach is his Cello Suite No. 1. It was popularized in the 2009 film, The Soloist, about a reporter (Robert Downey Jr.) who writes a story about a schizophrenic homeless cellist (Jamie Foxx) who had once been a music student at Juilliard.

The Cello Suite No. 1 is so beautiful and captivating, I wondered if I could arrange it for piano. Since it is in the cello’s range, I put both hands in bass staves. It will feel strange playing bass notes in both hands, but it is a great means to practicing reading bass notes, and because it is so different than what you are used to, it provides a particularly potent brain workout. I divided the melody line many ways, testing it over and over until I found which hand worked best for each note. The notes in the upper staff are played with the right hand, and the notes in the lower staff are played with the left. I provided a lot of fingering, but as always, if you find a fingering you like better, or prefer to switch notes to the other hand, feel free to make changes– just remember to stay consistent with fingering and hand assignments! You can also add dynamics as you feel them.


(Note: After June 2020 you may request this free sheet music by email: upperhandspiano@gmail.com)

Here’s a demonstration of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, arranged for piano:

Please leave a comment and let our community know what your experience is playing this piece. Are you enjoying it? Does it feel extremely challenging, or are you finding it easy to play?

Remember I post free sheet music for only a year. If you are reading this after June 2020, the sheet music will be gone. You can email me at upperhandspiano@gmail.com to request a copy. You might also want some of the favorites I have had to take down recently- sheet music for The Water Is Wide, Clair de lune, or the July 4th favorite, Yankee Doodle Dandy! Just send me an email and I’ll send it to you asap.

How is your summer going so far? My little garden is extremely happy these days. We had a good rainy winter this year, so my hydrangeas are finally showing me what they can do! And I am finding new creative ways to use my abundant zucchini crop (don’t gardeners just love to brag?! Since my children live in NY and I don’t have any pets at the moment, I’m focusing my motherly attention on my plants 😆).

If you are new to this blog, I hope you’ll check out our instructional books called Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to SPARK the Mind, Heart and Soul, on our website. Or click on the links below to view Upper Hands Piano method books and Songs of the Seasons: SUMMER, and AUTUMN, on Amazon.com. Thanks for your support, and enjoy the Cello Suite! With love and music, Gaili

8 Replies to “July Free Sheet Music: Cello Suite No. 1”

  1. Hi Gaili. Really enjoy your blogs, so much valuable info. Summer progressing well, lots of camping, visits from kids and grandkids who live far away. Am trying my best to practice 10 miinutes a day, but by golly, life does have a way of disrupting our best laid plans.
    Quick question. Are you open to suggestions for some free simplified monthly piano arrangements. If you are, may I suggest Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise, Sound of Silence and Lean on Me. There are lots of others I could suggest but the above are some of my favorites that I would love to play as my “Party Pieces”.
    Anyway, some food for thought. Keep up the good work and enjoy your summer.

    1. Hi Colin! So glad you’re enjoying the blogs 🙂 We are planning a camping trip too, I haven’t camped in many years, since my children were young, and I’m looking forward to it! I know it is really hard to find those 10 minutes to practice, but doing it as often as you can is still great.

      I definitely welcome suggestions for pieces/songs to arrange so keep them coming! I have an arrangement of Für Elise, and a too short one of Moonlight Sonata, so I will get those ready to post. I love Lean On Me and Sounds of Silence (I have a students playing both of those songs!) however, I can’t give those away for free as they are under copyright protection. I can only arrange music written 1923 and before to give away. I can arrange them via a company such as Sheet Music Plus, who provide the licenses– I have many song arrangements available on Sheet Music Plus. But they charge customers a minimum of $4.95 per song, and it would be illegal for me to give them away via my blog. So I’ll work on the classical pieces for now. Thanks so much for writing!

  2. Thank you for this beautiful arrangement of Bach ‘cello concerto.
    Also thanks for all your hard work to keep our interest in musical study alive.
    I have a question for you: do you happen to have any arrangement of Respighi Bergamasca in any of your books or as a pdf.
    As for myself summer was very busy so far ,with graduations, birthday parties etc.
    Glad that it is all over now and I can go back to my piano .I have a couple of pieces that I would like to learn:”Plu tot “by Alexandra Strelisky and The Prelude in c sharp Minor (after Bach) by Gonzales Chilly.
    Thanks again,

    1. Hi Audrey-I was just typing a reply to your comment when an earthquake hit Los Angeles! Sorry for the delay. I agree- the summer festivities are fun, and then I’m happy to get back to musical projects. I don’t have an arrangement of Respighi’s Bergamasca, but do love that piece! I listened to Strelisky’s Plus tot and Chilly’s Prelude in C# minor, and enjoyed both of them. How wonderful to learn about some contemporary composers! Good luck learning your pieces this summer. Let us know your progress next month! Thanks for your comment-Gaili

  3. Thank you so much for the Cello Suite No 1! This is my sight-reading piece for next week – and very much needed. As you know, many students are weak on the Bass Clef, and they all need experience reading Bass Clef on the right hand. Excellent choice! Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much Joan! Yes my students need bass clef practice as much as possible. And I love this piece so it seemed like a a fun idea for my July post.Thanks so much for your comment – it made my day! And feel free to make suggestions for future sheet music giveaways. Best, Gaili

  4. Dear Gailischoen/upperhandspiano

    Every since I stumbled on your YouTube channel, I became very interested on your videos and I really love the effort you took to show others how to play different pieces on the piano.

    I have been playing for 4-5 years and throughout the past months, I am trying to find a proper sheet music to Bach’s Cello Suite no. 1 for the piano. But most of the sheets offered are either in Cello format or costs a fee. But on your website, it was offered for free during a 1 year time period from July 2019-July 2020.

    Therefore, may I kindly request, if it’s not too much trouble, to send a sheet copy of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 for the piano?

    I thank you for all your efforts of posting videos which helped me before to start learning new pieces! Because of these videos anand interesting blogs, I was able to encourage myself to play “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” and “‘Fur Elise” because of your videos and sheet musics! You really encourage other beginners and pianist to set aside their busy schedule and discover new talents by offering them a chance to receive free sheets and piano tutorials! I personally thank you for all the help you have given me over the past months!

    Struen Lee,

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