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#1454119 - 06/10/10 05:24 PM Pedal and Bach  
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dolce sfogato Offline
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this is an extension of some other thread, it deserves all attention, instead of being a mere byproduct, so:
What are your opinions about playing J.S.Bach on the piano, at all/with,without pedal/dynamics/'interpretation'/speed/ etc.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
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#1454151 - 06/10/10 06:10 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: dolce sfogato]  
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I play it, usually, the way that I think sounds the best to me. Sometimes I will use a pedal, but sometimes I dont.

I usually do keep it at a fairly consistent tempo, unless its an organ piece, or another instruments piece, then I ad my own dynamics to how others play it on the other instrument.


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#1454155 - 06/10/10 06:15 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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I play the Goldbergs f.i. totally without, no problem, I'm in a different state of mind as a pianist, well, not a 'pianist' at all, a devote Bach-addict, but in the Partita's I'd like to use a bit of the right foot now and then, very inconsistent, agree..


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
#1454194 - 06/10/10 07:15 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: dolce sfogato]  
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Quote
this is an extension of some other thread


I wonder which one that might be.... smile

I'm not a purist about this. I have no objections to the judicious use of pedal. The harpsichord has different resonance characteristics from a piano, and in places a little help from the pedal allows for better and more accurate playing than a crabbed finger legato. On the other hand, I don't particularly think much of heavily pedaled and blurred Bach. I just find the sound unappealing.

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#1454270 - 06/10/10 09:41 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Why not. If you want no pedal and no dynamics why would you play it on piano anyway? You'd be better off with harpsichord and clavichord.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1454281 - 06/10/10 10:09 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: dolce sfogato]  
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I think different arguments and ideas are valid -- not only because we don't know what Bach would have thought, but because various different approaches work, if done well.

#1454282 - 06/10/10 10:10 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: dolce sfogato]  
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
f.i.

?

("for instance"?)

#1454284 - 06/10/10 10:11 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mark_C]  
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I like my Bach to sound clean and unblurred so I try to refrain from using more than a little pedal. I do try to "finger pedal" as much as possible.


Best regards,

Deborah
#1454286 - 06/10/10 10:12 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mark_C]  
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I agree on the harpsichord having a different resonance, and a different singing tendency, so the argument that a harpsichord resonates like a no pedal piano, isn't fully true.


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--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ
#1454293 - 06/10/10 10:15 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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I mentioned elsewhere that I recently had an opportunity to play Bach on an organ. My efforts to avoid the pedal, finger pedal and stick to the nuances in the score really paid off. Unlike on the piano, the sustained notes continued to play and sounded fantastic to my ears. Had I depended more on the pedal, I don't know if I would have been able to pull this off.


Best regards,

Deborah
#1454304 - 06/10/10 10:24 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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Originally Posted by Brandon_W_T
I agree on the harpsichord having a different resonance, and a different singing tendency, so the argument that a harpsichord resonates like a no pedal piano, isn't fully true.


I don't know if this is in reference to my post, but if it is then I think you have misunderstood what I said. I did not say that a harpsichord resonates like a no-pedal piano. In fact, I was claiming rather the opposite. A piano's sound tends to cut off quite sharply. The dampers usually work all too well! In a sense, judicious use of the pedal can help a pianist avoid awkward and crabbed finger legato while maintaining the musical line. I just don't see this as a sufficient argument for 'anything goes.'


#1454334 - 06/10/10 10:59 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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I think you misunderstood mine too. I said a Piano does not react like a harpsichord. Maybe a sustain pedal on a harpsichord can help certain things. But a piano will never sound or react like a harpsichord. Different dampers, and ways of producing sound all together, so different effects will occur.


______
Home -
1905 Story and Clark Art Case smile

--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ
#1454484 - 06/11/10 07:38 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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This may appear to be "too expert", but wait until the end of the post. I spent many decades playing Bach on the piano, I then spent two decades playing Bach on the harpsichord. I have performed in public on both instruments. The last decade or so have seen me return exclusively to the piano (couldn't afford 2 high quality instruments) so I now play Bach on the piano having extensively learned how to play him on the hapsichord.
So, I have a deep experience of both. The result is (with one exception), whatever works for your conception of Bach, that particular piece and your instrument. The exception? Part playing. You cannot "bring out" the subject of a fugue - in terms of dynamics - on a harpsichord, only by articulation and intention. So I don't attempt to on the piano. "Intention"? Well, I believe that if we focus on an area of the music - say the appearance of a theme in the bass - it will sound differently to when we just play all the music without that differentiation. Doesn't necessarily have to be "brought out" dynamically. Fugue subjects don't have to shout out their appearance.
Basically, know the tools - your instrument, your technique, your perception of the work, your ears - and produce what you want to in whatever way you can. We realise Bach on the piano, particularly the modern grand, he did not write for it. (Unlike Beethoven, who probably did have a vision of instruments far more powerful than the ones he wrote for.) So employ your resources and enjoy the results.

#1454529 - 06/11/10 09:56 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1454547 - 06/11/10 10:20 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Originally Posted by sandalholme
I believe that if we focus on an area of the music - say the appearance of a theme in the bass - it will sound differently to when we just play all the music without that differentiation. Doesn't necessarily have to be "brought out" dynamically. Fugue subjects don't have to shout out their appearance.
I'm interested to hear other people's viewpoints on this. I was taught to bring out the motif when it appears. This doesn't mean shouting it out. The goal is to have it sing above the others.

Angelina I'm not crazy about the sound of a harpsichord myself. To my ears, all that plucking overpowers the tones.


Best regards,

Deborah
#1454567 - 06/11/10 10:38 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: gooddog]  
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Skeletons at a party dancing in the dark...... that's what I associate it with haha



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1454617 - 06/11/10 12:14 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Skeletons at a party dancing in the dark...... that's what I associate it with haha


... or as someone else said : "Skeletons (doing it - (this is a family forum, after all!)) on a tin roof."

Regards,



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#1454996 - 06/12/10 07:27 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.

#1454997 - 06/12/10 07:34 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Why not. If you want no pedal and no dynamics why would you play it on piano anyway? You'd be better off with harpsichord and clavichord.


That may be true, but since I currently have neither unlimited funds for instrument purchases nor unlimited space in which to house them, I do these anachronistic things with my piano.

#1455006 - 06/12/10 08:26 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Skeletons at a party dancing in the dark...... that's what I associate it with haha


... or as someone else said : "Skeletons (doing it - (this is a family forum, after all!)) on a tin roof."

Regards,



The Beecham quote that I know is "The sound of a harsichord - two skeletons c*p*lating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm."

#1455090 - 06/12/10 12:00 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: John_B]  
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I thought it was George Bernard Shaw......

#1455128 - 06/12/10 01:25 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: gooddog]  
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Originally Posted by gooddog
I mentioned elsewhere that I recently had an opportunity to play Bach on an organ. My efforts to avoid the pedal, finger pedal and stick to the nuances in the score really paid off. Unlike on the piano, the sustained notes continued to play and sounded fantastic to my ears. Had I depended more on the pedal, I don't know if I would have been able to pull this off.


In a good hall, the piano can do the same thing. It's just not apparent to the performer.

#1455138 - 06/12/10 01:38 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.


Yes but music back then wasn't really "performed" (especially not like today), it was more just played for common friends. In which case the clavichord would really work.

How would you explain why he wrote "to be played with a cantabile sound" on his inventions? (was it the inventions.. or WTCs? Forgot) We all know the harpsichord does not do anything like that.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1455158 - 06/12/10 02:13 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Bach wrote "most of all to achieve a cantabile manner of playing" in his 1723 edition of the Inventions and Sinfonias as part of his intentions in publishing the works. It is difficult to believe, knowing that Bach composed for harpsichord and clavichord, that he only meant this in reference to performance on a clavichord without making that specific.
It is perfectly possible to achieve cantabile with a harpsichord. I have done it for decades and if you listen to any half decent harpsichordist you will hear this.
Pianos and harpsichords make different sounds, as do oboes and clarinets etc.

#1455167 - 06/12/10 02:24 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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How is it possible to achieve cantabile on a harpsichord? It's not.. You can't do dynamics on harpsichord, unless of course there's different keyboards of it.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1455173 - 06/12/10 02:33 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: wr]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.


You're right, he wrote KEYBOARD concertos, thus meaning they're not relegated to the harpsichord.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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#1455174 - 06/12/10 02:36 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
How is it possible to achieve cantabile on a harpsichord? It's not.. You can't do dynamics on harpsichord, unless of course there's different keyboards of it.


Well, it's certainly not the "cantabile" that we think of in regard to the piano, but it is possible in the way you shape a phrase and the way you articulate and the way you attend to the rise and fall of the line. It's a great deal more work to play the harpsichord (and early pianofortes) well than most think.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1455199 - 06/12/10 03:18 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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How do you shape on a harpsichord?



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1455210 - 06/12/10 03:46 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich

Yes but music back then wasn't really "performed" (especially not like today), it was more just played for common friends. In which case the clavichord would really work.


Whilst I am sure there was a lot of domestic music making (for which the clavichord would be ideal) I don't think it right to say there were no 'performances' for larger audiences. After all, in Leipzig, there were concerts at Zimmerman's Coffee House and other venues.

Last edited by John_B; 06/12/10 03:47 PM.
#1455226 - 06/12/10 04:27 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: John_B]  
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For Bach, pedaling depends on the piece. For some faster pieces, I don't pedal at all. For some others with chords, I pedal generously, with half pedal or flutter pedal when necessary. The D Major Fugue from WTC-II, for example, would call for lots of pedaling.


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#1455240 - 06/12/10 04:48 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
The D Major Fugue from WTC-II, for example, would call for lots of pedaling.


It would? I actually just finished playing that fugue and see no need for lots of pedal, nor is there a need for LOTS of pedal in any of the WTC.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#1455254 - 06/12/10 05:12 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
I actually just finished playing that fugue and see no need for lots of pedal, nor is there a need for LOTS of pedal in any of the WTC.


What about the E minor Prelude in WTC-I? B-flat minor Prelude in WTC-I? And, of course, the most overpedaled piece ever: The C Major Prelude in WTC-I.


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#1455273 - 06/12/10 05:37 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by stores
I actually just finished playing that fugue and see no need for lots of pedal, nor is there a need for LOTS of pedal in any of the WTC.


What about the E minor Prelude in WTC-I? B-flat minor Prelude in WTC-I? And, of course, the most overpedaled piece ever: The C Major Prelude in WTC-I.


What about them? There's no need for pedal in any of them, as I said before.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1455281 - 06/12/10 05:46 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by stores
I actually just finished playing that fugue and see no need for lots of pedal, nor is there a need for LOTS of pedal in any of the WTC.


What about the E minor Prelude in WTC-I? B-flat minor Prelude in WTC-I? And, of course, the most overpedaled piece ever: The C Major Prelude in WTC-I.


What about them? There's no need for pedal in any of them, as I said before.
Agree!!


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
#1455321 - 06/12/10 06:26 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Originally Posted by sandalholme
This may appear to be "too expert", but wait until the end of the post. I spent many decades playing Bach on the piano, I then spent two decades playing Bach on the harpsichord. I have performed in public on both instruments. The last decade or so have seen me return exclusively to the piano (couldn't afford 2 high quality instruments) so I now play Bach on the piano having extensively learned how to play him on the hapsichord.
So, I have a deep experience of both. The result is (with one exception), whatever works for your conception of Bach, that particular piece and your instrument. The exception? Part playing. You cannot "bring out" the subject of a fugue - in terms of dynamics - on a harpsichord, only by articulation and intention. So I don't attempt to on the piano. "Intention"? Well, I believe that if we focus on an area of the music - say the appearance of a theme in the bass - it will sound differently to when we just play all the music without that differentiation. Doesn't necessarily have to be "brought out" dynamically. Fugue subjects don't have to shout out their appearance.
Basically, know the tools - your instrument, your technique, your perception of the work, your ears - and produce what you want to in whatever way you can. We realise Bach on the piano, particularly the modern grand, he did not write for it. (Unlike Beethoven, who probably did have a vision of instruments far more powerful than the ones he wrote for.) So employ your resources and enjoy the results.


Amen!

#1455334 - 06/12/10 06:34 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Originally Posted by sandalholme
This may appear to be "too expert", but wait until the end of the post. I spent many decades playing Bach on the piano, I then spent two decades playing Bach on the harpsichord. I have performed in public on both instruments. The last decade or so have seen me return exclusively to the piano (couldn't afford 2 high quality instruments) so I now play Bach on the piano having extensively learned how to play him on the hapsichord.
So, I have a deep experience of both. The result is (with one exception), whatever works for your conception of Bach, that particular piece and your instrument. The exception? Part playing. You cannot "bring out" the subject of a fugue - in terms of dynamics - on a harpsichord, only by articulation and intention. So I don't attempt to on the piano. "Intention"? Well, I believe that if we focus on an area of the music - say the appearance of a theme in the bass - it will sound differently to when we just play all the music without that differentiation. Doesn't necessarily have to be "brought out" dynamically. Fugue subjects don't have to shout out their appearance.
Basically, know the tools - your instrument, your technique, your perception of the work, your ears - and produce what you want to in whatever way you can. We realise Bach on the piano, particularly the modern grand, he did not write for it. (Unlike Beethoven, who probably did have a vision of instruments far more powerful than the ones he wrote for.) So employ your resources and enjoy the results.


No, it doesn't appear "expert" at all...not to worry. I have a great deal of experience on both instruments as well and you make some good points until you begin to speak about voicing...after that I stopped paying attention.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#1455501 - 06/12/10 11:45 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: AZNpiano]  
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whilst I am no pro harpsichordist, it is a MUCH more complex form of playing than traditional pianos. There are ways to dynamically change it, to make it "sing" cantabile, that people cant understand unless they try it themselves.

Its not just note on- note off forte. Its quite flexible.


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#1455578 - 06/13/10 06:38 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.


You're right, he wrote KEYBOARD concertos, thus meaning they're not relegated to the harpsichord.


I don't know what the source material for them actually indicates, if anything, nor whether it is the same for each one, but they do seem to be called "harpsichord concertos" quite often. Even the entry on Bach's concertos in Grove refers to them in that way, rather than using the generic "keyboard".

Regardless of nomenclature, is there any doubt that when they were played in public by Bach and his kids, they were in fact performed on harpsichord(s)?

#1455598 - 06/13/10 08:30 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: wr]  
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Yes but does that mean he liked the harpsichord more?



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1455645 - 06/13/10 10:46 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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I have no objection to anyone playing Bach with pedal. A little or a lot of it, to each his own.

However, in my view anyone who has not thoroughly studied Bach without using the pedal at all is necessarily lacking important elements in his technique and in his understanding of this music.

#1455660 - 06/13/10 11:19 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: landorrano]  
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Well bach wrote most of his music for the organ, or on the organ.... sooo. We can maybe conclude that he was a BIG fan of the organ, or there were not many harpsichords/clavis at his disposal. wink

Last edited by Brandon_W_T; 06/13/10 12:23 PM. Reason: spelling

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#1455666 - 06/13/10 11:29 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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Originally Posted by Brandon_W_T
Well bach wrote most of his much for the organ, or on the organ.... sooo. We can maybe conclude that he was a BIG fan of the organ, or there were not many harpsichords/clavis at his disposal. wink


He did? Hmm. That's news to me.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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#1455706 - 06/13/10 12:22 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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How is that news when its true? Maybe you should do some research like I have.


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#1455713 - 06/13/10 12:41 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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From what I remember, Bach owned a harpsichord (a large one) and a clavichord, at least.
While much of Bach is possible to interchange between instruments, some of it was specifically written for clavichord (some parts of the Clavierubung have notations to do so), and many of his works appear to have been written for stringed instruments. Of course, he also wrote for organ, as well (he worked for churches, after all!) - but I wouldn't say that the majority of his more frequently-played works were for organ specifically.

In those days, it was the rare individual who had access to a full-blown organ, so much of the music he wrote for his students was probably meant for the more easily available instruments of the time. Organs were expensive and churches usually had them, harpsichords were less expensive but still expensive to maintain, while clavichords were more easily affordable and suitable for the small home and very portable. So try to imagine who he was writing for, what the situation was, and you might be able to make some sort of guess as to a good instrument.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer as to what works were meant for what instruments, no matter what anyone says - and they have said a lot! Almost every single book on Bach or his musical time tackles the issue, to some degree. This is why many performers choose to record some of his works on multiple instrument types.

There is an inventory list somewhere that lists what Bach owned when he died.
Among them: 2 Lute-Harpsichords, 3 harpsichords, 1 lute, 1 spinet. I think he also had some organ practice pedals or something similar.
This site gives a good breakdown on some of the arguments over clavichord-usage:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Life.htm

It's helpful to know that his son Carl was quite fond of the clavichord and gives us a large repetoire for the instrument, a fondness he probably picked up from his pop.

Last edited by Mattardo; 06/13/10 12:42 PM.
#1455721 - 06/13/10 12:46 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.


You're right, he wrote KEYBOARD concertos, thus meaning they're not relegated to the harpsichord.


I don't know what the source material for them actually indicates, if anything, nor whether it is the same for each one, but they do seem to be called "harpsichord concertos" quite often. Even the entry on Bach's concertos in Grove refers to them in that way, rather than using the generic "keyboard".

Regardless of nomenclature, is there any doubt that when they were played in public by Bach and his kids, they were in fact performed on harpsichord(s)?


Yes, they were harpsichord concertos specifically. Harpsichords were very common in those days, to be used for the continuo playing that kept the players together, so they were easily available in such a situation. Whenever you see a work that is from that time, just assume there would be a harpsichord tinkling along in the background, in most cases.

The clavichord, while a lovely little thing, was not suitable for public performance with other instruments, it was a more private, personal isntrument. Of course, we can be thankful that if became so popular, as our modern piano probably owes a lot to it.

#1455728 - 06/13/10 12:57 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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Originally Posted by Brandon_W_T
How is that news when its true? Maybe you should do some research like I have.


LOL. I've probably been doing research for half as long as you've been alive. At any rate, Bach composed the greatest majority of his works for voice...not organ, harpsichord, or any keyboard instrument.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#1455731 - 06/13/10 01:02 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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I assumed he meant "among the keyboard works."
But I would agree it's not "most" among those either.

#1455732 - 06/13/10 01:02 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mattardo]  
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Originally Posted by Mattardo
From what I remember, Bach owned a harpsichord (a large one) and a clavichord, at least.
While much of Bach is possible to interchange between instruments, some of it was specifically written for clavichord (some parts of the Clavierubung have notations to do so), and many of his works appear to have been written for stringed instruments. Of course, he also wrote for organ, as well (he worked for churches, after all!) - but I wouldn't say that the majority of his more frequently-played works were for organ specifically.

In those days, it was the rare individual who had access to a full-blown organ, so much of the music he wrote for his students was probably meant for the more easily available instruments of the time. Organs were expensive and churches usually had them, harpsichords were less expensive but still expensive to maintain, while clavichords were more easily affordable and suitable for the small home and very portable. So try to imagine who he was writing for, what the situation was, and you might be able to make some sort of guess as to a good instrument.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer as to what works were meant for what instruments, no matter what anyone says - and they have said a lot! Almost every single book on Bach or his musical time tackles the issue, to some degree. This is why many performers choose to record some of his works on multiple instrument types.

There is an inventory list somewhere that lists what Bach owned when he died.
Among them: 2 Lute-Harpsichords, 3 harpsichords, 1 lute, 1 spinet. I think he also had some organ practice pedals or something similar.
This site gives a good breakdown on some of the arguments over clavichord-usage:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Life.htm

It's helpful to know that his son Carl was quite fond of the clavichord and gives us a large repetoire for the instrument, a fondness he probably picked up from his pop.


The list of instruments in Bach's estate does contain several harpsichords, but no clavichords. What's interesting is though he remarked more than once that he preferred the clavichord, one didn't exist in his home at the time of his death (of course that's not to say he never owned one).

Bach's organ works DO, actually, outnumber his compositions for other keyboard instruments, though it's for voice that the greatest majority of his works were written (largely due to his church work).



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#1455734 - 06/13/10 01:03 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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Maybe he meant most keyboard works?



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#1455735 - 06/13/10 01:06 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: AZNpiano]  
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How do you shape on a harpsichord? Phrasing, articulation. That is minute changes in the lengths of notes and the gaps between notes which provide a "shape" to the music. Nothing to do with dynamics. I would argue that the shape of music on any instrument, including the piano, is more to do with changes in phrasing and articulation than changes in dynamics. Dynamic changes alter the emotional temperature, not the shape.
Quoting Francois Couperin in his preface to his 1st book of ordres:
"Experience has taught me that strong hands, capable of the most rapid and light execution, are not always equally successful in tender and expressive pieces. For my part, I frankly confess that I would much sooner be moved than astonished.
The harpsichord is a complete instrument by virtue of its range and sufficient unto itself. However, as one can neither swell nor diminish its sounds, I shall always be grateful to those who, by consummate skill supported by good taste, are able to render this instrument capable of expression."

Couperin was probably the greatest composer for the harpsichord in terms of writing music specifically for that instrument and no other and he valued expression above virtuosity. Seems to me that he had faith in what a harpsichord can achieve.

#1455740 - 06/13/10 01:07 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mattardo]  
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Originally Posted by Mattardo
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.


You're right, he wrote KEYBOARD concertos, thus meaning they're not relegated to the harpsichord.


I don't know what the source material for them actually indicates, if anything, nor whether it is the same for each one, but they do seem to be called "harpsichord concertos" quite often. Even the entry on Bach's concertos in Grove refers to them in that way, rather than using the generic "keyboard".

Regardless of nomenclature, is there any doubt that when they were played in public by Bach and his kids, they were in fact performed on harpsichord(s)?


Yes, they were harpsichord concertos specifically. Harpsichords were very common in those days, to be used for the continuo playing that kept the players together, so they were easily available in such a situation. Whenever you see a work that is from that time, just assume there would be a harpsichord tinkling along in the background, in most cases.

The clavichord, while a lovely little thing, was not suitable for public performance with other instruments, it was a more private, personal isntrument. Of course, we can be thankful that if became so popular, as our modern piano probably owes a lot to it.


Actually no, not all of the concerti are termed "harpsichord concerto". At least three of them bear the title "keyboard concerto".



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1455741 - 06/13/10 01:08 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
.....Bach's organ works DO, actually, outnumber his compositions for other keyboard instruments.....

THEY DO?
Then I'd give him "credit" on what he said.

It depends on what we mean by "compositions." smile
If the WTC (2 books) counts as 48 (and why shouldn't it? it's called "the 48") smile and we add the suites, partitas, various stray works like the French Overture, and top it off with the inventions (2- and 3- part), I would have thought the organ works would hardly keep pace, if we're talking about "how many." Even if we mean duration.....I'd think organ would still be lagging.

Mind you, I don't think these "counts" matter for anything.

#1455743 - 06/13/10 01:13 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Originally Posted by sandalholme
How do you shape on a harpsichord? Phrasing, articulation. That is minute changes in the lengths of notes and the gaps between notes which provide a "shape" to the music. Nothing to do with dynamics. I would argue that the shape of music on any instrument, including the piano, is more to do with changes in phrasing and articulation than changes in dynamics. Dynamic changes alter the emotional temperature, not the shape.
Quoting Francois Couperin in his preface to his 1st book of ordres:
"Experience has taught me that strong hands, capable of the most rapid and light execution, are not always equally successful in tender and expressive pieces. For my part, I frankly confess that I would much sooner be moved than astonished.
The harpsichord is a complete instrument by virtue of its range and sufficient unto itself. However, as one can neither swell nor diminish its sounds, I shall always be grateful to those who, by consummate skill supported by good taste, are able to render this instrument capable of expression."

Couperin was probably the greatest composer for the harpsichord in terms of writing music specifically for that instrument and no other and he valued expression above virtuosity. Seems to me that he had faith in what a harpsichord can achieve.


I think you are confusing shape with expression.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1455745 - 06/13/10 01:17 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by stores
.....Bach's organ works DO, actually, outnumber his compositions for other keyboard instruments.....

THEY DO?
Then I'd give him "credit" on what he said.

It depends on what we mean by "compositions."
If the WTC (2 books) counts as 48, and if we then add the suites, partitas, various stray works like the French Overture, and top it off with the inventions (2- and 3- part), I would have thought the organ works would hardly keep pace, if we're talking about "how many." Even if we mean duration.....I'd think organ would still be lagging.


He said Bach wrote most of his music for the organ, which isn't correct. Had he said he wrote the majority of his keyboard works for the organ, then he would have been right. In terms of numbers the organ works win, but only slightly (of course the organ list is heavily laden with chorales). Take out the chorales and the scales tip dramatically. Specifically, the difference quantitatively, is less than 20.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1455747 - 06/13/10 01:18 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

Mind you, I don't think these "counts" matter for anything.


They don't.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1455751 - 06/13/10 01:22 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
.....In terms of numbers the organ works win, but only slightly (of course the organ list is heavily laden with chorales).....

AHA!!
You're counting the CHORALES??????

I've never thought of those as organ works.

I know the number of them very well -- "371" is firmly in my mind, and I've had fun doing all kinds of mathematical things with the number.
(It's a great number.) smile
But I never thought of them as organ works.
I thought of them as, well, pure music.

If the chorales count, it's tough to try to make any kind of point against what Brandon said -- whichever way he meant it.

Last edited by Mark_C; 06/13/10 01:25 PM.
#1455754 - 06/13/10 01:27 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by stores
.....In terms of numbers the organ works win, but only slightly (of course the organ list is heavily laden with chorales).....

AHA!!
You're counting the CHORALES??????

I've never thought of those as organ works.

I know the number of them very well -- "371" is firmly in my mind, and I've had fun doing all kinds of mathematical things with the number.
(It's a great number.) smile
But I never thought of them as organ works.
I thought of them as, well, pure music.

If the chorales count, it's tough to try to make any kind of point against what Brandon said -- whichever way he meant it.


Well, if one wants to be technical and count those works where an instrument is present, then I suppose we do have to count the chorales too. And that disparity of less than 20 does include "with the chorales". So, I suppose it's up to whomever to decide what they want to include.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1455805 - 06/13/10 02:33 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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According to many historians, the Lute-Harpsichord was his favorite instrument.

http://www.baroquemusic.org/barluthp.html

Now what may he have written for that instrument? We will never know. But he owned one!


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Home -
1905 Story and Clark Art Case smile

--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ
#1455874 - 06/13/10 04:41 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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Originally Posted by Brandon_W_T
According to many historians, the Lute-Harpsichord was his favorite instrument.

http://www.baroquemusic.org/barluthp.html

Now what may he have written for that instrument? We will never know. But he owned one!


It's thought that BWV 996 was written for the lute harpsichord. I can't say I've ever heard, or read that it was Bach's favorite instrument, but I suppose it's possible, since he did have a fondness for the clavichord.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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#1455929 - 06/13/10 06:14 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]  
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Id love to play one. Certainly looks bizarre. Like an over-sized... lute!


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#1456242 - 06/14/10 05:07 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Re confusing shape with expression. Expression pretty well covers everything we do to bring the music alive. Phrasing, articulation (including accents) and rhythm provide shape. Perhaps you would like to elaborate on how dynamics shape music whilst phrasing and articulation do not.

#1456291 - 06/14/10 09:04 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Real Samples Edition Beurmann has sampled a Lute-Harpsichord built to what they think the Bach instrument was:
http://www.realsamples.de/Edition_B...uge_BWV_1000_g_fuer_Lautenwerck_SF09.mp3

http://www.realsamples.de/Edition_B...Praeludium_I_-_Johann_Sebastian_Bach.mp3

http://www.realsamples.de/Edition_B...aeludium_III_-_Johann_Sebastian_Bach.mp3

It has some examples of how it sounds when played, if anyone is interested. Very nice sound, though - I can see why Bach would have liked it. The sample is beyond my financial reach, at the moment!

Last edited by Mattardo; 06/14/10 09:05 AM.
#1456307 - 06/14/10 09:49 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mattardo]  
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Robert Hill recorded two multi-CD sets called "Bach as Teacher: Keyboard works from the Cothen period." Many of the pieces are played on a lute-harpsichord. It's Hänssler Complete Edition Bachakademie, Volume 107, a budget label.

I bought mine very cheaply from http://www.berkshirerecordoutlet.com/

#1456313 - 06/14/10 09:59 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: moscheles001]  
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Thanks so much for those links Matardo, Fantastic! I love the sound of the lute harpsichord... quite possibly more than a harpsichord itself! Even one equipped with a Lute stop!


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Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ
#1456339 - 06/14/10 11:01 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Originally Posted by sandalholme
Re confusing shape with expression. Expression pretty well covers everything we do to bring the music alive. Phrasing, articulation (including accents) and rhythm provide shape. Perhaps you would like to elaborate on how dynamics shape music whilst phrasing and articulation do not.


What does shape mean to you? I ONLY meant shape as in, notes can sound louder and softer than others. Do you really deny that? The only point I was making is that the harpsichord can't do cantabile. I don't see why this is so hard to comprehend. I didn't say it isn't expressive. (although it's probably the least expressive instrument there is, just because of that one limitation)



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1456342 - 06/14/10 11:02 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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Yes, the Lute stop has a lovely sound in itself - but a little lacking for an entire piece - the dedicated harpischord sounds like it was constructed to sound a lot better and be generally more useful.

There's some strange-looking ones out there!
[Linked Image]

#1456343 - 06/14/10 11:04 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Originally Posted by sandalholme
Re confusing shape with expression. Expression pretty well covers everything we do to bring the music alive. Phrasing, articulation (including accents) and rhythm provide shape. Perhaps you would like to elaborate on how dynamics shape music whilst phrasing and articulation do not.


What does shape mean to you? I ONLY meant shape as in, notes can sound louder and softer than others. Do you really deny that? The only point I was making is that the harpsichord can't do cantabile. I don't see why this is so hard to comprehend. I didn't say it isn't expressive. (although it's probably the least expressive instrument there is, just because of that one limitation)


Have you spent time playing any harpsichords? They can be very expressive - just listen to any good recording or harpsichordist. There are ways to vary dynamics on a harpsichord - not as obviously as a piano can, but it can be done.

Does cantabile necesarrily entail marked dynamic contrast?

#1456353 - 06/14/10 11:16 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mattardo]  
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M: I don't like repeating myself..... but here: I din't say it isn't expressive. (although it's probably the least expressive instrument there is). Least expressive doesn't mean non expressive. Of course I've played harpsichords. There ARE ways to vary dynamics - on a different set of keyboard of the harpsichord. Why do I feel like I'm saying things over and over ..

Cantabile means, when applied to keyboard playing, to imitate the human voice. It doesn't just have to do with dynamics - come on, how do you usually hear a cello being played? Or piano even? How do you shape a simple phrase? (and no I don't mean accents or any of that)



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1456355 - 06/14/10 11:23 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Quote
Cantabile means, when applied to keyboard playing, to imitate the human voice.

Doesn't it mean to play in a singing, legato fashion? A human voice can sing staccato and in a non-cantabile way if the music calls for it. So it cannot be refering to the instrument, but the way the instrument is typically used in most vocal music.

#1456361 - 06/14/10 11:27 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Quote
Cantabile means, when applied to keyboard playing, to imitate the human voice.

Doesn't it mean to play in a singing, legato fashion? A human voice can sing staccato and in a non-cantabile way if the music calls for it. So it cannot be refering to the instrument, but the way the instrument is typically used in most vocal music.


Yes, hence the imitating the human voice part. Since the voice is considered the most expressive instrument.. isn't it? I don't know why this is so difficult to get across. Maybe it's my limited english skills.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1456378 - 06/14/10 11:54 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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I agree Mattardo that it is possible to alter the dynamics on the harpsichord, but I hadn't mentioned it as a) it's very subtle and b) would not be believed by the harpsichord phobics in this forum.

Angelina: if you define shaping as playing loudly or softly, fine. I define shaping rather differently. Cantabile? How do you define that? A harpsichord's single note "sings". Smooth, singing legato? Well, overlapping the notes slightly provides a legato sound, which is also, because of the open strings, resonant. Expressiveness? If you define that as playing loudly or softly, again, fine. I believe expressiveness is obtained by many more skills than just playing loudly or softly (and all the intermediate weights).

We might just agree to disagree. I will continue to enjoy Bach on the harpsichord and on the piano - the expressiveness coming from, to a degree, different skills and techniques.

#1456385 - 06/14/10 12:02 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Okay. I don't think there's a point in arguing with you since I'm obviously failing to make my point.

It seems to me you're all for flat singing (monotone) with no basic shape. And I'm not talking about loud and soft, because there are so many shades of one dynamic. Which haprichord can't do. Don't take it so hard I'm just stating the obvious. It's not something that's supposed to be controversial! When someone tells me to shape something more, it means to give it more direction.

Last edited by AngelinaPogorelich; 06/14/10 12:04 PM.


"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1456394 - 06/14/10 12:12 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Maybe if I add, the ability to sing a single line cantabile, is much easier and much more expressive on, say, string instruments, voice or even piano.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1456406 - 06/14/10 12:37 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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We really have a different definition of "shape"! If someone asks me to shape the music more, I would look to my phrasing, articulation, accents/rhythm first.
My wife's 'cello teacher (a fiery Hungarian) would splutter at the piano being equated with a stringed instrument. He's very dismissive of the piano. A stringed instrument can hold a single line for ever, literally, until the player gets too tired, with all the dynamic changes you could wish for on the way. As a percussive instrument, we pianists really struggle to get anywhere near a stringed instrument in producing a cantabile line. (As do harpsichordists, of course)
As a matter of interest, do you regard organs - except 19C ones - as unexpressive? Baroque organs certainly have more stops than a harpsichord, but are still basically limited to terraced dynamics. Does Peter Hurford's Bach playing lack expressiveness for you? A genuine question, as you seem to place a very high values on subtle changes to dynamics for expressing your feeling for the music.

#1456407 - 06/14/10 12:41 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]  
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Just because the music says Cantabile, doesn't mean its possible to play it exactly like a human voice. No instrument can. But its the idea to play it like that, of which the music is trying to tell you.

Often times instead of saying cantabile, it says singing like. Same idea. of course your instrument cant physically sing human notes, but its the idea of shaping and developing the sound.


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#1456413 - 06/14/10 12:44 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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If I had a way to upload Rameau's Rondea Musette - it might change some minds.
I just have to find the right one I have in mind..

Last edited by Mattardo; 06/14/10 12:45 PM.
#1456415 - 06/14/10 12:46 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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Well I don't particularly find the piano that expressive to be honest. Solely because the notes die after you press them. But it's a heck of a lot easier to shape. And yes we do have a different sense of shape. It's just how my teachers have talked to me all my life.

No I don't really like hurford. He's a great player but I struggle with liking organ.

I suppose you wouldn't think much of fischer's Bach?



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1456418 - 06/14/10 12:47 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Ps listen to fischer's b flat minor WTC I.



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#1456420 - 06/14/10 12:49 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Here - I don't know about anyone else, but I find this piece has some cantabile playing:
http://www.box.net/shared/fl90y3giyv

It's Catherine Latzarus playing.

#1456423 - 06/14/10 12:51 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
M: I don't like repeating myself..... but here: I din't say it isn't expressive. (although it's probably the least expressive instrument there is). Least expressive doesn't mean non expressive. Of course I've played harpsichords. There ARE ways to vary dynamics - on a different set of keyboard of the harpsichord. Why do I feel like I'm saying things over and over ..

Cantabile means, when applied to keyboard playing, to imitate the human voice. It doesn't just have to do with dynamics - come on, how do you usually hear a cello being played? Or piano even? How do you shape a simple phrase? (and no I don't mean accents or any of that)


Repeating one's self on this forum is quite common, ya' know! Don't ya' know you have to scream everything 20 times to be heard? smile

#1456428 - 06/14/10 12:57 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mattardo]  
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I liked it and it was expressive but cantabile?

Don't get me wrong I've heard some terrific stuff I especially loved listening to a bunch of preludes, can't remember by who, and they were so free with so much well placed rubato.



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#1456469 - 06/14/10 02:07 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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I think it was very cantabile, in it's own way - it wasn't very over-the-top, opera-diva-in-your-face cantabile, but it's definately much more cantabile than many harpsichord works.

I guess I see cantabile as encompassing all sorts of vocal-imitations. Singers do not always sing with just dynamics in mind, there's much more to cantabile than just that obvious factor. A good harpsichordist can sing with the best of them, I think.

Bach's last French Suite, the Sarabande - would you say that sings on a harpsichord?

#1456489 - 06/14/10 02:33 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mattardo]  
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Isn't it problematic for cantabile if it's not possible to do even a small crescendo or phrase a single line?

I guess we define cantabile by different means.



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#1456547 - 06/14/10 03:58 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
Ps listen to fischer's b flat minor WTC I.


I love Fischer's Bach. Love, love, love it.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1456554 - 06/14/10 04:09 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Kreisler]  
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I found that recording above to be very much cantabile.

Remember any instrument can play cantabile.


I dont think there is a concrete definition for cantabile, so its how one perceives it should be.


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#1456557 - 06/14/10 04:15 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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Here are some pianists who play(ed) a lot of Bach:
Feinberg, Fischer, Richter, Gould, Schiff, Perahia, Hewitt.

1=uses pedal very sparingly
3=uses "a lot" of pedal
2=neither 1 nor 3

How would you rate these pianists in terms of their use of pedal?

#1456583 - 06/14/10 05:12 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
I suppose you wouldn't think much of fischer's Bach?


Fischer is great! Matches my view of cantabile.


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#1456598 - 06/14/10 05:35 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: John_B]  
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ROTFLMAO.

I think you can say copulating without getting censored.

Last edited by hophmi; 06/14/10 05:36 PM.
#1456608 - 06/14/10 05:43 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: hophmi]  
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My feeling on pedaling in Bach is that it's OK, even desirable, but should be kept to a minimum.

Bach on piano is always a transcription of sorts, so notions of purity are a little misplaced.

As far as the harpsichord versus piano debate: every time I think about playing the harpsichord, I'm reminded of the Seinfeld joke about the Chinese and their use of chopsticks. You know they've seen the fork. And yet they stick to chopsticks.

#1456666 - 06/14/10 06:42 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by Brandon_W_T
I found that recording above to be very much cantabile.

Remember any instrument can play cantabile.


I dont think there is a concrete definition for cantabile, so its how one perceives it should be.


No instrument plays cantabile, the player does. Cantabile, literally means "singable", or "songlike". It does have various meanings, however, in different contexts. In reference to instrumental music, which is what we're dealing with, it means to imitate the human voice. Of course, this is very difficult, and, as with a true legato, is really an illusion created by the player. The piano is a very difficult instrument in this regard...in large part due to decay. The harpsichord makes things even more difficult. Not only because of it's even more immediate decay, but, because it's impossible to imitate the rise and fall of the voice and there's no way to taper the end of a phrase (there are "tricks" with articulation within a phrase that one can employ to create the illusion, however). Neither the piano, nor the harpsichord are "expressive" instruments. It's the player, armed with sufficient knowledge (knowledge of the functions of sound and the capabilities of the instrument itself), who is expressive (or not).



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1456841 - 06/15/10 12:13 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: hophmi]  
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Originally Posted by hophmi
My feeling on pedaling in Bach is that it's OK, even desirable, but should be kept to a minimum.

Bach on piano is always a transcription of sorts, so notions of purity are a little misplaced.

As far as the harpsichord versus piano debate: every time I think about playing the harpsichord, I'm reminded of the Seinfeld joke about the Chinese and their use of chopsticks. You know they've seen the fork. And yet they stick to chopsticks.


Ha, that's a good one!

The high maintenance was one of the reasons the Harpsichord gave way to the piano eventually, amony other reasons.

And I agree about the Bach purity - we just have to play it the best we can, with or without pedal. It's not like Bach would forbid pedal if used wisely, if he knew we were dealing with a pianoforte. And even if he did forbid it, he can't get me now - I'm safe. I have my salt circle around my piano and intentionally emphasize certain fugal voices over others. >:)

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