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Bach’s Minuet in G major from the Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach is famous enough today the you might have also had it together your cell phone ring tone. The item is so simple and elegant the it’s frequently one of the an initial pieces musicians find out to play in ~ the keyboard, though it can be easily arranged for any kind of instrument or ensemble.

You are watching: How gentle is the rain that falls softly on the meadow


One the the most renowned arrangements the this Minuet was recorded by the Toys, a girl group from Jamaica, brand-new York, together “A Lover’s Concerto.” The track was a #1 single in the US and reached #5 on the UK an international charts. Its total sales exceeded two million copies. Later, it was famously spanned by the Supremes and Sarah Vaughan, as well as by various other musicians in Spanish, German, Finnish, Japanese, and Italian.

Sandy Linzer and also Denny Randell gave Bach’s Minuet a Motown makeover in 1965. Technically, the item was taped by DynoVoice Records, not Motown. However, it still incorporates countless musical aspects of the sound the made Motown records famous.


But, just how did the Linzer, Randell, and also the playthings transform this well-known timeless work right into an American pop classic? The answer is, primarily, while signature. Minuets are always in a triple meter, and also so is this renowned piece by Bach.

However, if the track were collection to this meter, the lyrics would sound awkward. If you try singing the opened lyric come the song (“How tenderness is the rain / that drops softly on the meadow?”) in the initial meter, you’ll know what sort of difficulties arise very quickly!

Linzer and also Randell chose to species the melody in typical time. In this time signature, the arrangers simply expand the notes that autumn on the very first beat of every measure by one beat, and made various other minor rhythmic adjustments, as you can see below.


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The opening procedures of the Minuet in G


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The opening procedures of the vocal line of “A Lover’s Concerto”


Of course, in addition to transforming the rhythms and meter of the initial Minuet, the arrangers have scored “A Lover’s Concerto” for a band and three voices. Bach could’ve easily expanded the item for a chamber ensemble and voices himself. What holds whatever together is the an easy harmonic structure, which permits the composer or arranger to include an infinite number of parts, and the melody.

But the changes don’t prevent there. It wouldn’t be a pop track unless there were one half-step vital change at least. In compositions native Bach’s time, if a composer is working in a major key, they’d most likely modulate to brand-new keys what throughout the piece. Despite typically, the composer will modulate to keys about the “circle of fifths.” So, in the Minuet in G, if Bach were to add a modulation, the piece would more than likely move from G significant to D major, the key five notes far (G-A-B-C-D), though one key away on the “circle that fifths.”

In “A Lover’s Concerto,” the piece very first modulates no up a fifth, together Bach can do, however instead, increase a fourth, to C major. In pop music and also jazz, music often modulates roughly the “circle of fourths,” quite than the circle of fifths, i beg your pardon is the exact same as the one of fifths in reverse order.

The modulation to C major happens in ~ 0:51 in the YouTube clip above. Then, the piece has actually three half-step modulations, which have the effect of precise kicking the piece up a notch, and of intensifying the emotional quality. At 1:24, “A Lover’s Concerto” move from C major to C# major. Climate a 2:12, it moves from C# major to D major. The song ultimately ends in D# major, with the modulation indigenous D major happening approximately 2:29 in the clip above.

So, Bach’s famous Minuet in G gained a makeover in several stages. First, the arrangers changed the time signature. Then, lock orchestrated it because that an increased ensemble. Finally, they added some half-step crucial changes.

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Curiously, despite we understand the Minuet in G as Bach’s, musicologists now believe the item is no by Bach at all but by Christian Petzold. The notebooks he created for his wife had actually original works and pieces through his contemporaries like Petzold, François Couperin, and also Georg Böhm. But, today, it’s popularly well-known as Bach’s Minuet in G.