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#2695169 - 12/07/17 05:45 PM How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias?  
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My teacher wants to do all (Or at least most) Inventions & Sinfonias with me. Which I think is a good idea, since I've learned a lot from just one, plus I enjoy playing them.

I wonder though. Has anyone done this? What was your feeling of progress after doing them all?

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#2695176 - 12/07/17 06:07 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Too many pieces, too little time. You are doing pieces from the other periods, right? There is a lot of music out there to explore. Even within the baroque period, there is more than just the inventions. I only did two inventions, then moved on.

Sam

#2695177 - 12/07/17 06:15 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: Sam S]  
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Too many pieces, too little time. You are doing pieces from the other periods, right? There is a lot of music out there to explore. Even within the baroque period, there is more than just the inventions. I only did two inventions, then moved on.

Sam


Yeah, we're also doing other pieces at the same time. At the moment I'm also doing a Haydn sonata and a Heller etude (Heller is the same era as Chopin), also done some Debussy. Why too little time though? I'm 23, so I still (Hopefully) have 60+ years left.

Last edited by hyena; 12/07/17 06:16 PM.
#2695181 - 12/07/17 06:45 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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If you like all the Inventions, why not?

But why not have a look at other Bach as well? Like the Partita No.1, BWV 825, which contains other challenges.


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#2695182 - 12/07/17 06:54 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Originally Posted by hyena
Originally Posted by Sam S
Too many pieces, too little time. You are doing pieces from the other periods, right? There is a lot of music out there to explore. Even within the baroque period, there is more than just the inventions. I only did two inventions, then moved on.

Sam


Yeah, we're also doing other pieces at the same time. At the moment I'm also doing a Haydn sonata and a Heller etude (Heller is the same era as Chopin), also done some Debussy. Why too little time though? I'm 23, so I still (Hopefully) have 60+ years left.


23 ?

I would suggest you do as your instructor has asked you to do.

You have time to be a very fine pianist.

Good Luck


Don

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#2695290 - 12/08/17 05:49 AM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Originally Posted by hyena
Originally Posted by Sam S
Too many pieces, too little time. You are doing pieces from the other periods, right? There is a lot of music out there to explore. Even within the baroque period, there is more than just the inventions. I only did two inventions, then moved on.

Sam


Yeah, we're also doing other pieces at the same time. At the moment I'm also doing a Haydn sonata and a Heller etude (Heller is the same era as Chopin), also done some Debussy. Why too little time though? I'm 23, so I still (Hopefully) have 60+ years left.


I'm 64, so you can see my viewpoint I hope. Regardless of your age, in my opinion the time it would take to learn all the inventions would be better spent (if we are sticking to Baroque) on a prelude and fugue. Or one of Bach's dance suites. Or a pair of Scarlatti sonatas. In other words, widen your experience and expose yourself to as much music as possible.

Plus, when you get beyond the most popular inventions (which are popular for a reason - C, F, Bb, E and so forth), they tend to be just more of the same but not as rewarding to play.

Just the opinion of an old guy, of course. With the 60+ years of playing you have left(?) I'm sure you can do whatever you want...

Sam

#2695299 - 12/08/17 07:31 AM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Yeah, I understand. I'll see what my teacher does, probably not all them then, but still quite some.

I think there are several reason she choose them. For one, I'm not a great reader, I memorize easy. Since Bach is hard to memorize, it will force me to read. I don't play even. And when I play with two hands, they don't always exactly play together.

#2695312 - 12/08/17 09:07 AM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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I love almost everything Bach! It was my goal to do all of the inventions and sinphonia but about midway through we moved on to preludes and fugues (well tempered clavier). My teacher also had me get a book of the French suites but I haven’t touched it yet. There is so much to learn from Bach and the reward is huge, because it’s so hard. But you feel so amazing when you can do it. I’m nearly 60 and I don’t feel like I’m spending my time poorly. If you like Bach, go for it and see what happens!

#2695378 - 12/08/17 01:48 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Originally Posted by hyena
My teacher wants to do all (Or at least most) Inventions & Sinfonias with me. Which I think is a good idea, since I've learned a lot from just one, plus I enjoy playing them.

I wonder though. Has anyone done this? What was your feeling of progress after doing them all?


I've been working through all the inventions (at number 10 now). Hard to gauge progress but I would qualify it as transformative. I think they are a challenge to play well no matter what level you're at. And those long trills ....

Highly recommend and good luck!


Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D
#2695385 - 12/08/17 02:30 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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I do know they are great pieces for pianists. As for doing all of them, it depends on what you are expecting from it. Are you going to get them all memorized and perfected for say a concert? That will take a lot of time as others have mentioned. In general most pianists learn a piece up to like 80% and then move on and only perfect a few selected pieces. If you are going for the general feel of baroque playing or for specific development of technique then there are many other pieces to take a look at. I would ask your teacher why they want to do all of them with you?

Personally, I would get bored and have come to realize I will never get to all the music I may want to learn. I would choose carefully which ones I do learn and make sure I really love them. I'm sure you can get similar progress with a more varied approach. Although I don't have issues if others feel that going in a specific sequence or doing everything in a particular set of music helps them progress as well. Others experience things differently and have different needs.

#2695998 - 12/11/17 05:40 AM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Well, I've read Bach said this:

"Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition."

So that's what I'm hoping to learn.

#2696007 - 12/11/17 06:35 AM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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I was fascinated too by that Bach title, and it is true of course, BUT it is true in that particular style (2-3 voices contrapuntal), so if you are really focused on baroque/bach style, yes.
Of course everyone can technically benefit from them.
Usually I tend to do whatever I like, better if it stretches my technique, so if you like do it... after learning many maybe you'll change mind yourself and go to other Bach works.

Last edited by ARpiano; 12/11/17 06:38 AM.
#2696428 - 12/12/17 11:13 AM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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I'm very fond of the inventions and sinfonias and play several of them myself. However I decided to make a selection (3 inventions and 5 sinfonias) rather than playing them all. In addition I play one of the partitas, one French suite, the Fantasia and fugue in a-minor and one prelude and fuga from the WTC. This is sufficient I think, even for a Bach lover.

#2696593 - 12/12/17 10:12 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Originally Posted by hyena
Well, I've read Bach said this:

"Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition."

So that's what I'm hoping to learn.

I love Bach so much for the humility shown in this introduction to these works of genius: he just assumes that anyone else will be able to not only play, but compose, similar music, with a little practice.


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#2696699 - 12/13/17 11:30 AM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Yeah, I've probably misunderstood.

We've finished number 1 now, now starting number 4, so probably skipping 2 and 3.

#2696719 - 12/13/17 12:43 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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The Inventions (and probably the Sinfonias) are not usually learned in numerical order, because they are of varying difficulty. 1 then 4 is a common pattern for your first two Inventions. You may well come back and do 2 and/or 3 later.


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#2696753 - 12/13/17 02:09 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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A very poor idea IMO. The overwhelming majority of pianists learn a few Inventions, maybe a few Sinfonias, and them move on to the generally more challenging WTC and.or dance suites. Even for a 20 year old spendng the time needed to learn all those 2 and 3 part Inventions is way too much and will limit the amount of time you can spend on the rest of the piano repertoire and the rest of Bach's music.

In addition, most people move on the the WTC and dance suites because it is pedagogically sound to attempt increasingly difficult music. Although the 2 and 3 part Inventions do offer a range of difficulty, their difficulty level is still within a fairly restricted range.

#2696758 - 12/13/17 02:50 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
A very poor idea IMO.


Really? Each invention and sinfonia features unique technical challenges and are perfect examples of musical construction in two and three voice counterpoint. They have their own artistic merit that goes beyond simple preparation for other pieces by Bach. They are also one of the main sources we have that provides insight into Bach's own teaching material for his pupils.

Was there a survey of pianists that I'm not aware of? What level of pianists are you talking about? I do know in the Canadian RCM system students can work their way through the system without touching an invention or sinfonia and then dive into the WTC in grades 9 and 10 which I think is a mistake.

Also, I wouldn't underestimate the difficulty of the Sinfonias. Some of them are just as difficult as any fugue in the WTC.


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#2696889 - 12/14/17 06:19 AM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: Vid]  
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Originally Posted by Vid


Also, I wouldn't underestimate the difficulty of the Sinfonias. Some of them are just as difficult as any fugue in the WTC.


I agree. Just try Sinfonia #3. It is difficult to play well, but very appealing.

#2697001 - 12/14/17 03:15 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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Probably not a good idea to spend so much time learning all the inventions or sinfonias while you are still a beginning pianist. Keep increasing the difficulty of your repertoire, expanding your musical outlook, and improving your reading skills. A couple decades later you will be able to come back to all the inventions and sinfonias you never learned and basically sight-read them.


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#2697043 - 12/14/17 06:41 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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So far the 4th is much easier for me than the first though. Can already play the first few measures within a day. Though, that maybe also due having the progress of the first.

#2697044 - 12/14/17 06:51 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: Vid]  
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Originally Posted by Vid
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
A very poor idea IMO.
Really? Each invention and sinfonia features unique technical challenges and are perfect examples of musical construction in two and three voice counterpoint. They have their own artistic merit that goes beyond simple preparation for other pieces by Bach. They are also one of the main sources we have that provides insight into Bach's own teaching material for his pupils.
I agree with most of this except perhaps your first sentence since this depends on how one defines unique technical challenge. Some would say that the Inventions deal with basically one technical problem...polyphonic playing.

I don't think there's a way one can learn all the 2 and 3 part Inventions and (a) still have the time to learn an appropriate number of pieces from other eras and (b) avoid playing an inappropriate number of pieces at about the same level. IOW I think learning all the 2 and 3 part Inventions is pedagogically unsound.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 12/14/17 06:53 PM.
#2697047 - 12/14/17 07:01 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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I do think they're great for learning control in general, I suppose playing multiple voices forces you to think in a different way. At least that's what I've noticed after only doing just one.

But it also trains my reading quite a lot, since I can't depend much on memory or ear easily. Plus, there's no room for error. A few wrong notes stand out a lot! Sometimes my left hand must play loud, sometimes my right hand must play loud. There's room for all kind of subtle dynamics. So I suppose someone who only learn polyphonic playing from them, is approaching them incorrectly.

Though yes, I probably won't do all of them. Still probably quite a bit of them.

Last edited by hyena; 12/14/17 07:32 PM.
#2697056 - 12/14/17 07:45 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Vid
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
A very poor idea IMO.
Really? Each invention and sinfonia features unique technical challenges and are perfect examples of musical construction in two and three voice counterpoint. They have their own artistic merit that goes beyond simple preparation for other pieces by Bach. They are also one of the main sources we have that provides insight into Bach's own teaching material for his pupils.
I agree with most of this except perhaps your first sentence since this depends on how one defines unique technical challenge. Some would say that the Inventions deal with basically one technical problem...polyphonic playing.

I don't think there's a way one can learn all the 2 and 3 part Inventions and (a) still have the time to learn an appropriate number of pieces from other eras and (b) avoid playing an inappropriate number of pieces at about the same level. IOW I think learning all the 2 and 3 part Inventions is pedagogically unsound.


That's fair. I mostly agree with you and was mainly responding to "very poor idea". There's a lot of variables. For a long time amateur like myself I feel its a great idea as a project but for someone closer to the beginning stage they would be better served adding a variety of styles to their repertoire.


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#2697431 - 12/16/17 03:39 PM Re: How much progress after doing all Inventions & Sinfonias? [Re: hyena]  
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.I think it will be very useful. I have also undertaken such task. At present I can play almost all the inventions and a couple of sinfonias by heart and I'm working on the the other sinfonias. Each time I start practising a sinfonia I play first the corresponding invention in the same tone.
However, I would advise to study at the same time some simple piece from the classical period, for instance by Mozart, or even some piece from the romantic era. These two levels of study will benefit from each other. From Mozart you can learn to play melodically the different voices in Bach polyphonic inventions and sinfonias (which was one of the aims Bach had in mind for his pupils when he wrote this music). On the other hand from the polyphony you can learn to play more consciously and meaningfully even the simplest harmonic background in classical music and to better understand the tonal relationships between different sections in this music.
Still, a prerequisite for challenging studies like this is that you will learn much as far as you enjoy and love the music you are playing. If you get bored, I think it's best to switch to other pieces, and maybe get back to Bach after some time.


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