Ralph Sauer
Practice with Bach, Volume 1: Twenty-four études in all keys, based upon preludes from The Well-Tempered Clavier
Alto trombone

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2018

Etude book


This new étude book will prove challenging but rewarding for the advanced player. The musical material lends itself to the type of treatment Bach Cello Suites often receive in trombone studios, but in a much higher register. Pieces have been selected from Book 1 and Book 2 of the Well-Tempered Clavier, and all major and minor keys are presented.


Mr. Sauer’s arrangement of these preludes pays great respect to the original compositions, distilling the musical information from multiple voices into one line that is easy to read. Many decisions have been made in order to make this keyboard music accessible. For example, he makes use of rhythmic augmentation, from 32nd notes to 16th notes that are easier to read. Moving notes have occasionally been left out and fermatas have been added, making the pieces more playable and suggesting possible interpretations.


The études utilize only two tempo types, Moderato and Lento. Bach’s original manuscripts did not include tempo markings, and in his forward, Mr. Sauer encourages trombonists to explore different tempos and dynamics and to play them on tenor as well. The pieces range from seventh position A to f2, making them perfect for an alto without a B-flat attachment. This is a fine method for range-building, and the musical material is attractive for advanced musicians.

Reviewer: Sean Reed
Review Published January 31, 2019