Air on the G string (BWV1068) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity.
Air on the G-string is Bach’s ever popular song. I love this song and I find it both challenging and a joy to play. This song is so beautiful and expressive, you would have to be a rock not to be moved by it’s melody. Recently, I have had a song request in my blog to cover this song so that gave me the push to revisit Air on the G string. Of all the bach songs I have done, this is the song that I have the greatest difficulty in perfecting. Always remember the slowest tracks are most likely the hardest. Air on the G string proved to be just that.
This tab is expanded to 2 measures per line-my widest tab yet-so you can get into the nitty gitty. There’s may be some scrolling if you are reading off the screen but no squinting I promise! I have given a rhythmic indication of 16 notes per bar. (1e+a,2e+a,3e+a,4e+a). Pay attention to it. This is your lifeline. Lose the rhythm, and the song crumbles to piece-no pressure. Part B has some faster notes at double speed at 32. Start slower than usual so when you get to the latter part, you won’t be playing catch up. “Air” has one of the most difficult closure I have come across. Make sure you “see saw” your wrist.
It is a common mistake to play fast, dare to go slow. Part A is what most people will be most familiar with. It is a walk in a park compared to Part B which is twice as long and a monster at some parts. By the way, I prefer to pull/pluck strings in a chord rather than strum. To me strumming is a cop out in this song. Since you use one finger to strum the notes in a chord as opposed to using the correct fingers to pluck each string. I will leave that up to you. Last but not least, I suggest you to try the second part out first before fully committing to this song. I would hate to have someone learn “Air” for a month and quitting halfway thru. Bar and  is the hardest stretch, test drive that section first. Finally, there are some tricky barre chords and it will help if your hands are big or if they can do yoga, to stretch! like Bar for example, give that a try. Good luck.
Guitar Pro Playthrough
The lingering notes
As this is song is an orchesta piece with violin accompaniment, the lingering notes play a vital role. To make this song work, make sure you suspend the notes. The notes are always held to fill any gaps. I urge you to have a good listen to the midi to fully grasp Air’s subtleties. One thing you might notice is the first measure differs from what I have notated in my tab. I feel that there’s no way the guitar can suspend as indefinitely as the violin so I opted for more chord suspensions. The midi version has a melody but only half the chords are suspensed-which I felt is a weaker. 24 bars in total but since this song has repeats, there are really 18 unique measures to learn. This song has 2 parts and you play them in this order AAB.
Further Reading: Why the name Air on the G String?