In this video Jeff plays his arrangement of Arioso by Bach for classical ukulele.

Arioso by Bach for Classical Ukulele

Johann Sebastian Bach included this beautiful “Arioso” as the first movement for Cantata No. 156, “Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe” (I stand with one foot in the grave). Bach originally composed this piece as a prayer for those near death. The original instrumentation is for solo oboe with strings and continuo (and formed the Oboe Concerto in Dm (BWV 1059). However, Bach reused the same material in his concerto for harpsichord in Fm (BWV 1056). The piece also goes by other titles: Sinfonia, Adagio, Largo, and Largo Arioso.

This stunning piece takes on new life by Jeff in this solo fingerstyle ukulele performance. The music features a steady bass line with beautiful florid lines above it. Thinking of those voices like instruments in the orchestra helps give them independent life. For the bass line we might imagine hearing the double basses and cellos, setting a constant rhythmic pulse. While the upper line we can imagine the oboe soaring above the strings with long lines, interrupted by ornaments and other fast but light passages.

The arrangement is available in the book Graded Solos for Classical Ukulele and the techniques used in this piece are taught along with a full lesson in the Academy at Ukulele Corner.