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I've been using Alfred's All-in-one Book I and Czerny Op.599. Which Bach Books will be good for me as a beginner?

I am thinking of "First Lessons in Bach", "Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach" and Short Preludes by Bach.

Should I get the complete editions of these books or the edited ones (like from alfred edition and latest Schirmer edition)? Suggest me of good editions too please.

Also recommend me of other good ones too. I am basically interested in Classical.

Thanks in Advance.

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I can recommend the Alfred edition of 18 Short Preludes edited by Palmer. The notes are superb and all editorial markings are in a lighter typeface so that they can be distinguished from the original text. Once you are done with those, you can move on to the Inventions.

Ted

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That edition sounds good. The 12 preludes are wonderful - each a little masterwork. Ignore the 6, they're not by Bach (beyond Bach's keyboard range and sound pretty uninteresting).

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Good question! Good answers!

Thanks.


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Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
... Ignore the 6, they're not by Bach (beyond Bach's keyboard range and sound pretty uninteresting).
Interesting comment. According to Willard Palmer's notes in the Alfred edition mentioned above, one of the earliest manuscripts for the 6 Little Preludes is in the hand of Johann Christian Kittel, one of Bach's last students, and Kittel attributed the works to Bach. This manuscript is now at the State Library of Berlin.


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According to Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klavierb%C3%BCchlein_f%C3%BCr_Wilhelm_Friedemann_Bach , W F Bach may have written some of the 12 preludes. Now that's interesting.

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I just got Selections from the Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach, edited by Keith Snell. It looks like an excellent selection arranged progressively by difficulty, and easy to read.

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Originally posted by Vijay:
I've been using Alfred's All-in-one Book I and Czerny Op.599. Which Bach Books will be good for me as a beginner?

Am I safe in assuming you mean Johann Sebastien, and not his 2nd son Carl Philippe Emanuel, whose piano works were highly admired by both Mozart and Beethoven and who was much more familiar with the recently developed "piano-forte" than his more famous father, and who wrote a widely read treatise on piano technique that was considered the "Bible" of this new art for quite some time?

BTW, how do you like the Alfred All-In-One so far?

JF


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The suggestion that J.S. Bach did not write all of the so-called 6 Little Preludes has been made here before. I have asked for some documentation of that claim, and no one responded.

I have, I think, all of the major biographies of Bach. I don't think any of them make this assertion.

I have not been able to locate any authoritative source who is willing to say Bach did not pen these pieces.

I don't think it much matters. I suspect many things Bach reduced to paper had other origins. But I don't think it's responsible to overtly claim that Bach did not write something, when it does not appear to be historically documented.

All the implications of the literature seem to suggest that Bach wrote most if not all of the various pieces grouped into the "little preludes" umbrella.

Regardless, I happen to like them all, and don't think one should avoid them even if it could be shown they were not "written" by J.S. Bach.

Just my opinion.

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Originally posted by JohnFrank:
and who wrote a widely read treatise on piano technique that was considered the "Bible" of this new art for quite some time?
Sorry John, CPE wrote his treatise on clavichord/harpsichord playing. He didn't think the piano would amount to much as it wasn't very expressive (I agree with him).

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Originally posted by J. Mark:
The suggestion that J.S. Bach did not write all of the so-called 6 Little Preludes has been made here before. I have asked for some documentation of that claim, and no one responded.

No. 4 goes up to E. Bach's keyboard only went up to D. Check through his keyboard works. They are also rather staid for Bach and have a pretty dodgy provenance. There was a mountain of this stuff washing around Germany in the late 18th century. My point was don't waste time studying them. What makes Bach fascinating you won't find there.

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Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
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Originally posted by JohnFrank:
[b] and who wrote a widely read treatise on piano technique that was considered the "Bible" of this new art for quite some time?
Sorry John, CPE wrote his treatise on clavichord/harpsichord playing. He didn't think the piano would amount to much as it wasn't very expressive (I agree with him). [/b]
keyboardklutz - According to Harold C. Schonberg in his excellent book "The Great Pianists" CPE's work was entitled "Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments" (issued in two parts - 1753 & 1762) and was, as you say, aimed at harpsichord & clavichord players. But it was seized upon by players of the newly developed piano as a guide to fingerings, style, and virtually anything to do with keyboard manipulation, and became their "Bible".

So, you are accurate in your statement and I stand corrected (although by extension, as it happened historically, I was sort of right wink .

Schonberg does go on to discuss the importance of this work - and CPE's compositions - on many piano performers/composers who followed for several generations.

JF


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i have 'First Lessons in Bach' book 1 & 2, which actually contain those from A.M.Bach Notebook, and some pieces from some suites or partitas. so, i would think it's enough to have the book 1 & 2 to start with. once you learned something from these books, you'd be ready for little preludes and inventions (as the editor of book says).

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I just ordered the Palmer/18 short preludes, thanks for the recommendation! It doesn't seem to come with a CD so I wondered if anyone knew of any recordings that would show what they sound like when a decent pianist plays them! laugh

Edit:Never mind, I've just seen on another site that there is a CD, the supplier I ordered from doesn't mention it though, fingers crossed I get one with mine! laugh


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BazC, there is no 'correct' interpretation. You really ought to consider finding our own way through these.

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The Alfred Edition comes with a nice CD. I actually listen to it in my car now and then. It's very helpful in figuring out some of the material, too.

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Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
BazC, there is no 'correct' interpretation. You really ought to consider finding our own way through these.
Thanks for the advice! I take your point, I would certainly try to play from just the sheet music at least to begin with. I've looked at a couple of pages from the book and they don't seem too difficult, I should be able to figure out at least some of the pieces.

On the other hand I'm a rank beginner (self taught for about 3 months) so having a pros version to confirm that I was playing it more or less correctly would be a great comfort! laugh

@J.Mark- Thanks for the confirmation, it's the Alfred edition I have ordered so I should be OK!


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Well Guys! Thanks for your suggestions and knowledge sharing.

Hi John,
I find the Alfred's All-in-One pretty good for any beginner. But since I am more inclined to play classical than any other type of music, I want to switch to the ways which will help me more to achieve that.
Anyway, I ordered for First Lessons in Bach as of now. Depending on its contents, I will order the 18 preludes and Notebook for AM Bach.

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Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
BazC, there is no 'correct' interpretation. You really ought to consider finding our own way through these.
It's true that everyone has to find their own way with Bach. And Glenn Gould certainly taught us that there can be extremes in Bach interpretation.

But there is such as thing as Baroque performance practice, particularly in ornamentation. And there are Baroque styles for phrasing, articulation, and use of the pedal (or really non-use). These things are clearly introduced in the Alfred editions and are demonstrated well on the Alfred CDs.

I think its important to understand and be able to use Baroque techniques in your playing as well as exercising your own musical interpretations. Mature musical judgment shouldn't be based on ignorance of historical practices and the composer's intentions. It should build on them.

As my teacher says: "Learn the rules first, then learn when to break them."

Just MHO.


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BazC, I checked Amazon, and it looks like there are two editions: one with the book only, and one with the book and the CD. If you receive only the book, perhaps the seller will allow you to exchange it for the edition that includes the CD.

smile


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