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Bach’s Minuet in G significant from the Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach is famous sufficient today that you may have also had it as your cell phone ring tone. The piece is so simple and elegant that it’s regularly one the the first pieces musicians discover to play in ~ the keyboard, despite it can be conveniently arranged for any type of instrument or ensemble.

You are watching: How gentle is the rain song


One of 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 tune was a #1 solitary in the US and also reached #5 top top the UK an international charts. Its total sales gone beyond two million copies. Later, it was famously extended by the Supremes and Sarah Vaughan, and also by various other musicians in Spanish, German, Finnish, Japanese, and Italian.

Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell provided Bach’s Minuet a Motown makeover in 1965. Technically, the item was taped by DynoVoice Records, not Motown. However, the still incorporates many musical elements of the sound that made Motown documents famous.


But, how did the Linzer, Randell, and the playthings transform this well-known timeless work into an American popular music classic? The answer is, primarily, while signature. Minuets are constantly in a triple meter, and so is this famous piece through Bach.

However, if the song were set to this meter, the lyrics would sound awkward. If you shot singing the opening lyric come the tune (“How gentle is the rain / that drops softly on the meadow?”) in the original meter, you’ll recognize what kind of problems arise an extremely quickly!

Linzer and Randell chose to species the melody in usual time. In this time signature, the arrangers simply extend the note that loss on the first beat of every measure up by one beat, and also made other minor rhythmic adjustments, as you deserve to see below.


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The opening steps of the Minuet in G


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The opening steps of the vocal heat of “A Lover’s Concerto”


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

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

In “A Lover’s Concerto,” the piece an initial modulates no up a fifth, as Bach can do, but instead, increase a fourth, come C major. In pop music and also jazz, music often modulates about the “circle the fourths,” fairly than the circle of fifths, i beg your pardon is the same as the one of fifths in turning back order.

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

So, Bach’s well known Minuet in G got a makeover in several stages. First, the arrangers readjusted the time signature. Then, they orchestrated it because that an expanded ensemble. Finally, they included some half-step crucial changes.

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Curiously, though we understand the Minuet in G as Bach’s, musicologists now believe the item is not by Bach at all yet by Christian Petzold. The notebooks he created for his wife had actually original works and also pieces through his contemporaries choose Petzold, François Couperin, and Georg Böhm. But, today, it’s popularly known as Bach’s Minuet in G.