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#2264402 - 04/20/14 12:04 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
Joined: Mar 2013
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Polyphonist Online content
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Polyphonist  Online Content
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Counterpoint in Composition, by Salzer and Schachter, is an excellent book. It begins by teaching species counterpoint, and then applies the concepts to actual works.


Regards,

Polyphonist
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#2264408 - 04/20/14 12:27 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: Polyphonist]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Counterpoint in Composition, by Salzer and Schachter, is an excellent book. It begins by teaching species counterpoint, and then applies the concepts to actual works.


Nice, thanks. I found an old handout on the super basics of voice leading. I will see what, if anything, I retained and then it seems like it would be rewarding to delve into this book, assuming it really does start at the basics. I don't mind if it gets complicated, as long it starts somewhere accessible.

#2264409 - 04/20/14 12:28 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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Polyphonist Online content
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Polyphonist  Online Content
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Also, I can help you build a foundation, if you want.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2264411 - 04/20/14 12:41 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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joonsang Offline
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Try out Le Petit Negre by Debussy, short, fun, interesting piece (:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEM0t3vlGjQ

http://www.allpianoscores.com/free_scores.php?id=348

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#2264418 - 04/20/14 01:04 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: Polyphonist]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Also, I can help you build a foundation, if you want.


That's awfully generous of you. Thanks.

You'll never see me turn down an opportunity to build a good foundation, especially if it comes with a reason to assimilate generous amounts of arcane information. It's my happy place.

You have my standing permission to reach out with any ideas/approaches you think might get me on my way.

#2264424 - 04/20/14 01:09 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
Joined: Mar 2013
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Polyphonist Online content
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Polyphonist  Online Content
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New York City
I will send you a PM momentarily.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2264441 - 04/20/14 01:24 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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wr Offline
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
Let's swing the complete other direction from Schumann and talk Bach for a mo'.


Since Bach didn't write any piano music, his music is superfluous for pianists to learn, IMO.

Of course, if you really like the music, that's a good reason to work on it. That's why I play it, myself. But for many years I didn't, and that was okay, too.

#2264466 - 04/20/14 05:44 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes


One thing I am DEAD certain I never learned to play properly was Bach. I understand some of how it works just from having studied it a bit later, but here is my sum total of Bach:

1) Various little common pieces in the early years because they're great at a basic level for kids and beginners. These were not learned as baroque but just as early pieces.

2) Later, I got thrown almost all of the inventions. I hated them, was not given (or mightily resisted) any real systematic understanding of them or baroque music in general. I don't recall being taught about how to approach it, the way it differs from classical music, any precise understanding of the ornamentation, etc. I struggled with the coordination and I'm dead certain none of them ever sounded solid.

3) There is no 3. I never did any more Bach.

I know my teacher would like to start with a Suite, but if I protest, I'm going to get Inventions, and I don't even feel ready for those, yet.

I'd say that one of the best Bach pieces to start on, in terms of (relative) lack of contrapuntal complexity and with emphasis more on melody and harmony - in fact, IMO, one of the most 'pianistic' of his keyboard music - is the Partita No.1 in B flat, BWV 825. It's the first keyboard piece of his that I actually enjoyed playing on the piano, and that made me want to learn it for myself, rather than because my teacher wanted me to learn it.

Prior to it, I'd already played his French Suite No.6 (because it was a set work for my Music 'O' Level exam when I was 15, and to know it well, I felt I should learn to play it) and several Inventions, the French Suite No.5 and a few of the WTC Preludes & Fugues (because my teacher taught me them, and I also had to play a couple for my piano exams), and frankly, didn't think much of them as piano music. That despite the fact I loved Bach's choral music, having sung his beautiful and moving motet Jesu, meine Freude soon after joining my new school's Chapel Choir, as well as several chorales in Sunday services, and thought that his St Matthew Passion is one of the greatest music known to man or beast....(and I'm listening to it right now as I type grin).

But I never played Bach on the piano again for decades, until I decided to try out BWV 825 after hearing the Venezuelan prodigy Sergio Tiempo play it in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, at age 13 (where he brought such youthful freshness and uninhibited brio to it, unfettered by 'convention'). And it led me on to learn the Goldberg....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2264488 - 04/20/14 07:47 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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noobpianist90 Offline
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India
I found a few books on counterpoint at the local library, I'm finding them very informative:

Counterpoint for beginners by C.H. Kitson
Fundamental counterpoint by Hugo Norden
Preliminary exercises in counterpoint by Arnold Schoenberg

I'm taking my time with them as these are not easy for me to read.

#2264533 - 04/20/14 11:35 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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LXXXVIIIdentes Offline
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Hi Two Snowflakes
I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts over the last year.

I am into my mid-seventies, have returned to playing, steady practice, over the last three years. I have enjoyed finding the forum, and reading about how playing and teaching have changed over decades. I have always loved Bach - and just about everything else classical as well as some jazz and show tunes.

When I was young and studying with several very good teachers, they advanced me from studying a few inventions directly to the preludes and fugues. I have treasured them ever since. Many are not very hard technically, but always so satisfying to play.

The interweaving of voice parts, combined with their inevitable - and sometimes surprising - harmonic progressions work for me, esp interspersed with the variety available, the delightful preludes, and the varying moods of all. Some of the adventurous chromatic stuff still amazes me when I consider the date of composition, although I wouldn't start with studying one of those.

If you could pick one or two, I think you might prefer them to the Suites, which are lovely, but not so soul-catching to my way of thinking.

Then there are also chorale arrangements - some horrendously difficult, but others not bad. They are very beautiful

#2264537 - 04/20/14 12:01 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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Terrific ideas, all. I will bring it all up with my teacher. I know she's partial to the English Suites, mostly because I think she herself studied them extensively and I recall her saying that the second one was a staple for her to play.

As for a prelude/fugue idea, I do have a very nice edition of WTC Vol 1.

No partitas. But that can be rectified in one small trip to the music store. I rarely need too much encouragement to do that. smile

#2264541 - 04/20/14 12:12 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: bennevis]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Originally Posted by bennevis

That despite the fact I loved Bach's choral music, having sung his beautiful and moving motet Jesu, meine Freude soon after joining my new school's Chapel Choir, as well as several chorales in Sunday services, and thought that his St Matthew Passion is one of the greatest music known to man or beast....(and I'm listening to it right now as I type grin).


It was one of the Bach choral works that prompted me to ask my high school chorus/music teacher what that thing I was hearing often at the end of the minor ones that I just found so lovely and interesting.

Tierce de Picardie, he said. Loved the name; still love the device.

#2264590 - 04/20/14 02:22 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
Joined: Apr 2013
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western MA, USA
Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
Not the way these pieces are usually presented to children, but paying attention to all the detail: everything from basic touch to ornamentation, from voicing to elementary counterpoint.

There's no reason not to teach children Bach this way laugh

I don't think you need college-level counterpoint instruction to be able to produce a convincing rendition of Bach pieces. It would give you more insight (and it's awesome Polyphonist that you are willing to contribute that!) but don't feel you need to wait until that study is accomplished.

The English Suites and Well-Tempered Klavier are harder than the Inventions imho. The Preludes are the hardest part of the English Suites. French Suites are easier especially if you select only a couple movements. Partitas vary. Suzuki students get the Minuets and Gigue from Partita no. 1 before they get their first two-part Inventions.

It also wouldn't be a bad idea to go back to one of the Anna Magdalena pieces but do it in great detail: choose dynamics and articulation for every single note, make phrasing decisions, add ornaments on the repeats, etc. If you didn't do that the first time around with Anna Magdalena.

The best way to get familiar with Baroque style is to listen to a lot of it. Try to get a mix of historical performers (Tureck, Landowska) and people who are really good at playing Bach on the modern piano (Perahia, Schiff, Hewitt; Gould is fine as long as you know that his interpretations are often eccentric.) Baroque vocal and string music is terrific also for understanding phrasing esp. if you can find historically informed performances. Bach's choral music has helped me a lot.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

Working on:
Beethoven, Diabelli Variations
Corigliano, Gazebo Dances
Beethoven, Trio in E flat Op. 70 no. 2
Queen/Buc, Bohemian Rhapsody for piano trio

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
#2264864 - 04/21/14 08:15 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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jdw Offline
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What about some of the Little Preludes, if you want to get away from the inventions but not take on something huge right away?


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Haydn, Sonata Hob. XVI: 19
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
#2265135 - 04/21/14 11:23 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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TwoSnowflakes, one thing you haven't mentioned is how much you actually like Bach's music. I remember that when I was getting into the piano, I thought Bach simply wrote the deepest, most beautiful and profound music out there. (I still do.) You can learn a tremendous amount about structure, form, economy, voicing, harmonic progression and beauty (above all else) just by immersing yourself in his work.

My thought (and we all have different advice here) is that the Suites and Partitas are not great Bach starters for you. If you want to get away from the inventions, here's a suggestion: the E major prelude from Book I of the WTC. It's hard to imagine anything more simple or profound. Working through it can do wonders for your pianistic ears.

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2265924 - 04/23/14 04:28 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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outo Offline
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes


Anybody want to make any suggestions for what you'd make sure someone like me should consider essential learning in the short and longer term? I know my teacher has already identified the gaping Bach hole, and I think both of us are disappointed the Mozart was set aside, though the Haydn I specifically picked to replace it was, at least, a moderately comparable piece in terms of stylistic parity.



You've really done well so far, but how on earth did you manage to avoid learning any Baroque music? smile

I know you will get a lot of suggestions for Bach. Since he is really not my guy, here are some others:

The collection of Scarlatti sonatas is a real treasure chest, both for technique and musical enjoyment. You can pick anything from fast and flashy to slow cantabile style. Rameau I would also recommend, most are not very difficult, but still great music and great practice for ornaments. And why not check out Telemann's fantasies as well. These three composers alone could keep me busy for the next 25 years...

I do like romantic music a lot, but I always have to have at least one Baroque piece that I can work on, otherwise I get withdrawal symptoms smile

#2266180 - 04/23/14 11:49 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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Fantastic!
Playing any Rachmaninoff piece is impressive and it's great that you're enjoying yourself and achieving such great things! The way I see it, the piano is a gift straight from God.

#2266898 - 04/25/14 12:38 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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TS, it was great that you remembered the day you came bak to piano. After reading this I was trying to nail down mine but could not. It's somewhere between 2009 and 2010. The forum birthday is not my re-start date. It must have been neat to remember and reflect on the progress made every year. Good for you. Congratulations!


Pieces for this year to be decided soon.
#2266904 - 04/25/14 12:49 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Someone asked if I liked Bach.

Yes, greatly. For reasons quite different than the reasons I like Schumann or Chopin or Beethoven, but often just as profoundly.

When I'm needing Bach, nothing else will do. When it does what it does best, it gives me goosebumps.

I just don't trust myself to play it. smile

That, of course, ought to be fixed.

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