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Easiest of the bach inventions?
#2318991 08/23/14 06:23 PM
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A month or so ago I begun on the 15 Bach Inventions. I can play through #1 fairly decently and I am about 50% technically proficient with #2. Is it best to move chronologically, or which do you recommend I work on next? Keep in mind I am not working on much else, it gets boring playing through #1 over the course of an hour or two!

From listening to recordings I really like #6 and #14 but I doubt if they are reasonable to attempt at my current level.

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2319009 08/23/14 07:47 PM
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The listing here has pretty much all of the Bach Inventions at grade 5, with the exception of #1 at grade 4 and some later ones at grade 6. On that basis it might be worth getting comfortable with #2 and #6 before tackling #14.

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2319039 08/23/14 09:32 PM
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I think #8 is a good starter invention. Also, you may want to look at the Little Preludes, which may help prepare you for inventions.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2319094 08/24/14 02:52 AM
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Play the ones you like best. To decide, play the opening two bars, then you'll get the essence of each piece.

I love the slow ones. The C Minor (#2) and F Minor (#9) ones are lovely, and easy if you play them slowly and expressively.


Danzas Argentinas, Alberto Ginastera
Piano Sonata Hob. XVI: 34 in E Minor, Franz Joseph Haydn
Nocturne, Op. 15 No. 1 in F Major, Frédéric Chopin
Prelude, Op. 11 No. 4 in E Minor, Alexander Scriabin
Prelude and Fugue in G Major, Well-Tempered Clavier Vol. 2, Johann Sebastian Bach
Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2319218 08/24/14 11:53 AM
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I think #1 is the easiest one of the bunch. 6 and 14 are not difficult if you don't play them too fast, which people often do and spoil their effects. Especially, the tension in the syncopations in 6 are either watered down or completely lost when that piece is taken at anything but a very moderate tempo. 14 completely loses its dignity and becomes a cartoon jingle when played too fast. All these pieces have to sound vocal, as if a singer was singing them. That's what a cantabile style of playing means. If you are playing them so fast that a singer could not sing a particular passage, it's too fast.

I'll add a two-cent rant for your consideration. Don't listen to the precocious kidlets who have videos on youtube. Everyone of them plays these things way too fast and are among the poorest examples of how these pieces are supposed to sound. Bach wrote the pieces intending them to sound like GRACEFUL AND ELEGANT MUSIC, not an EXERCISE. These kids have parents or teachers who actually think they must play this way to win local contests and "launch a career". They couldn't be more wrong, and it's a bad example to emulate.

OK, I'm done with my rant.

Last edited by laguna_greg; 08/24/14 12:04 PM. Reason: thought of something
Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2319337 08/24/14 05:49 PM
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Thanks for the all the comments. I started playing #4 and I am finding myself getting into the hang of the fingerings and whatnot. I may proceed with that one, but I'll be sure to give #8 an attempt.

I tried the Inventions to prepare me for the WTC, but I guess to prepare for the Inventions I'd better do Little Preludes !

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2319383 08/24/14 09:24 PM
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Don't forget about the three-part inventions, the sinfonias. Very underrated, and helped me a lot with polyphonic playing back then.

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2319884 08/26/14 12:05 AM
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True. Although I would assume those are more difficult than the Inventions which I still struggle to play.

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2320081 08/26/14 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Ritzycat
True. Although I would assume those are more difficult than the Inventions which I still struggle to play.

Yes, they are a bit more complicated, since they all have 3 voice counterpoint. But what I'm saying is don't skip them! Most people do, unfortunately...

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2320304 08/26/14 06:18 PM
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I did #13 and #14 years ago with a teacher who said little more than "louder here," "more staccato here," and didn't spend more than a few lessons on either invention. It left me with the impression that they were fairly simple pieces. Until I had a teacher who paid attention to fingering. I had to relearn everything about the inventions and pay an excruciating amount of attention to which fingers were on which keys at which time. If I recall, the ones we worked on were in approximately this order: 1, 13, 8, 9, 4, 6, 14, 10. Maybe it was a bit random.

At any rate, do keep your fingers in line from the get-go, so they don't have to be sent to reform school later. ;-)

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2321148 08/28/14 02:05 PM
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+1 on the Sinfonias... get some under the belt before going for the fugues... they are different, so they don't really prepare you for the intricacy of the fugues but they will tune your finger to highlight voices individually and improve your capacity of articulate.

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2321217 08/28/14 05:23 PM
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Either No. 1 or No. 8, over all Inventions are not difficult, the voices do not change from LH to RH, etc.
Conceptually, it is not difficult, but the challenge is the accuracy and the quality of the tone.
Don't dwell too long in Inventions. If you can handle 3 or 4 of Inventions, move on to WTC.

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2321724 08/29/14 09:46 PM
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For those of you recommending the sinfonias as an intermediate between the two-voice inventions and the WTC etc., what sinfonia(s) do you recommend starting with?


Walter W190
Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
MysteryMusic #2321731 08/29/14 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MysteryMusic
For those of you recommending the sinfonias as an intermediate between the two-voice inventions and the WTC etc., what sinfonia(s) do you recommend starting with?

Overall the first ones are easier. The 6th, in E major, is fairly straightforward. I'd start with either the first, in C major, the 6th, or the 11th, in G minor. I'd say actually that the 11th is the one to start with.

Last edited by Francisco Scalco; 08/29/14 10:06 PM.
Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ritzycat #2321732 08/29/14 10:04 PM
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1, 6, 9, 11... 5 with all the embellishment is also good.

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Ataru074 #2321734 08/29/14 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ataru074
1, 6, 9, 11... 5 with all the embellishment is also good.

The 9th in F minor? That's practically a triple fugue... It's not hugely elaborate to WTC standards, but to play that well is no easy feat. I'd say it's one of the hardest ones.

Re: Easiest of the bach inventions?
Francisco Scalco #2321745 08/29/14 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Francisco Scalco
Originally Posted by Ataru074
1, 6, 9, 11... 5 with all the embellishment is also good.

The 9th in F minor? That's practically a triple fugue... It's not hugely elaborate to WTC standards, but to play that well is no easy feat. I'd say it's one of the hardest ones.


And soo beautiful...

P.S.
On the topic of Bach, our choir is singing Bach's Magnificat. I'm in heaven. Going to sing that Bass solo too!

Bach Bach Bach Bach


Danzas Argentinas, Alberto Ginastera
Piano Sonata Hob. XVI: 34 in E Minor, Franz Joseph Haydn
Nocturne, Op. 15 No. 1 in F Major, Frédéric Chopin
Prelude, Op. 11 No. 4 in E Minor, Alexander Scriabin
Prelude and Fugue in G Major, Well-Tempered Clavier Vol. 2, Johann Sebastian Bach

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