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Re: Playing Bach question [Re: kevinb] #2702831
01/07/18 09:53 AM
01/07/18 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
So far as recordings on YouTube are concerned, it's difficult to tell whether the performer really intends the sound he or she gets, or just lacks the technique to play differently.
Perhaps that could apply to "live" performances as well. smile


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Re: Playing Bach question [Re: Carey] #2702843
01/07/18 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by kevinb
So far as recordings on YouTube are concerned, it's difficult to tell whether the performer really intends the sound he or she gets, or just lacks the technique to play differently.
Perhaps that could apply to "live" performances as well. smile

It certainly does smile

I was tracking out recordings by well known pianists that should be technically able to produce a sound they want to... as it happens most of my favorite pianists did not record wtc or much Bach in general (Schiff and Richter excluded), so I do not have much in my own collection.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: outo] #2702848
01/07/18 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by outo


I do not really care what Bach would think, he is dead after all. I just wonder if I me playing this music really has anything to offer and if I am concentrating on the right things (obviously I don't have the skills either yet) or whether I should stick to something I understand better...
Caring what Bach would think is to understand better. Yes, stick to something else.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: kevinb] #2702849
01/07/18 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
[quote=outo] It's always seemed sort-of obvious to me that the individual voices should be distinct, so far as that is possible. I find this a serious challenge, especially for the inner voices when they pass from one hand to the other.


I definitely agree. The music is written for more than two voices (i.e. the stems go up an down in 4-voice harmony, meaning each voice is thought of as a separate thing).

And, also, when the LH is played by itself it is really exciting, with its own play on rhythm and balance between the 2 voices: sometimes the chords are written with lots of passing notes so that the main notes are emphasized (and the passing notes subdued). And then it suddenly seems to change to a section where all the notes want to be played as equally important (again, just in the LH alone).

When I put it together with the RH I feel I want the LH to show itself off more.

Maybe I am answering my own question.


"Genius is not the sign of demigodliness, but the sign of having a profoundly practical mind" - anonymous

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Re: Playing Bach question [Re: pianopi] #2702929
01/07/18 03:43 PM
01/07/18 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pianopi
Originally Posted by kevinb
[quote=outo] It's always seemed sort-of obvious to me that the individual voices should be distinct, so far as that is possible. I find this a serious challenge, especially for the inner voices when they pass from one hand to the other.


I definitely agree. The music is written for more than two voices (i.e. the stems go up an down in 4-voice harmony, meaning each voice is thought of as a separate thing).

And, also, when the LH is played by itself it is really exciting, with its own play on rhythm and balance between the 2 voices: sometimes the chords are written with lots of passing notes so that the main notes are emphasized (and the passing notes subdued). And then it suddenly seems to change to a section where all the notes want to be played as equally important (again, just in the LH alone).

When I put it together with the RH I feel I want the LH to show itself off more.

Maybe I am answering my own question.

You probably are. ha

However, in this particular piece, the upper RH voice is the melody, so it should be the primary focus, with occasional strategic interpolations by the LH for added interest. smile


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Re: Playing Bach question [Re: chopin_r_us] #2703087
01/08/18 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Caring what Bach would think is to understand better. Yes, stick to something else.


I would be interested to know why you think that. To be sure, it's not a minority view, but it's not one I have ever understood.

We play music to entertain a contemporary audience, or perhaps ourselves. We aren't playing for the dead, so far as I know. Even if we could know how Bach would have liked his music played on a modern piano -- and we can't possibly know that -- why should we care?

On the level of pure curiosity, I would be interested in knowing what Watt and Trevithick would have made of the modern internal combustion engine. But it wouldn't make me drive my car any differently.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: pianopi] #2703109
01/08/18 07:44 AM
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I suppose it hinges on what you think the 'alives' are. For me they are their thoughts and feelings. As Bach's thoughts and feelings are still with us (and miraculously articulated!) is he really dead? Or are the dead actually those with no thoughts or feelings worth sharing? As someone once said, Let the dead bury the dead.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: chopin_r_us] #2703131
01/08/18 09:36 AM
01/08/18 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
As Bach's thoughts and feelings are still with us (and miraculously articulated!) is he really dead?


I don't think that Bach's thoughts and feelings on the modern piano are still with us, because he couldn't have had any. My understanding is that he was pretty indifferent to the precursors to the piano that were available in his day. But, then, Bach was a man of his age. Or possibly a man of an earlier age altogether.

I'm pretty sceptical about the whole project of "historically informed performance." It does no harm to think how music of an earlier age would have been played, and what its listeners would have expected to hear. But we live in a very different world, where music has a different audience and different social functions. I think it's a mistake to elevate matters of taste to dogma, which is what we are in danger of doing when we give more credence to the views of the (biologically) dead than the living. Just my two-penn'th, of course.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: pianopi] #2703134
01/08/18 09:45 AM
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I think it's great that some musicians take the time and effort to study history of performance and try to recreate it. It can only broaden our horizons. But I can also appreciate different takes on the same music. For me variety is always good. But some performances still sound better to me than others and it has little to do with their "correctedness".

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: kevinb] #2703136
01/08/18 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
But we live in a very different world, where music has a different audience and different social functions.
That's your choice. I'd rather live with genius.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: chopin_r_us] #2703157
01/08/18 11:13 AM
01/08/18 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I suppose it hinges on what you think the 'alives' are. For me they are their thoughts and feelings. As Bach's thoughts and feelings are still with us (and miraculously articulated!) is he really dead? Or are the dead actually those with no thoughts or feelings worth sharing? As someone once said, Let the dead bury the dead.


I thought it was our good old Karl Marx in the eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, §7 :
Originally Posted by Marx
The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped away all superstition about the past. The former revolutions required recollections of past world history in order to smother their own content. The revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead in order to arrive at its own content. There the phrase went beyond the content – here the content goes beyond the phrase.

I like this last sentence by the way !!!

But it seems to be also (and first) in the Bible, Matthew:8,22

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: pianopi] #2703161
01/08/18 11:29 AM
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"You play Bach your way. I will play him his way" - Wanda Landowska

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"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."
Re: Playing Bach question [Re: chopin_r_us] #2703163
01/08/18 11:34 AM
01/08/18 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by kevinb
But we live in a very different world, where music has a different audience and different social functions.
That's your choice. I'd rather live with genius.


We don't have a choice to live in the 18th century. We just don't. We can try to recreate some aspects of it if we want to, and if we think it valuable to do so, but we can't actually live in it. Nor can we live with Bach except to the extent that his personality is revealed in his music and other writings. These are subject to interpretation, and it's hard to judge one interpretation superior to another, except with reference to specific criteria, that people generally won't agree on.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: kevinb] #2703173
01/08/18 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
We can try to recreate some aspects of it if we want to, and if we think it valuable to do so, but we can't actually live in it.
We are obliged to try, and we can make some progress.
Originally Posted by kevinb
Nor can we live with Bach except to the extent that his personality is revealed in his music and other writings.
Isn't personality the experience of living with others?

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: bennevis] #2703175
01/08/18 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
"You play Bach your way. I will play him his way" - Wanda Landowska

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZgD7Gf0q7g thumb
I forgot that quote! Kinda sums the argument up.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: pianopi] #2703177
01/08/18 12:09 PM
01/08/18 12:09 PM
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As a creative person (I paint) I don't altogether understand my own work: my real motivations and inspirations. When a painting is finished I always find lots of things in it I had no intention of putting in during the process of painting. And, looking back over my work of a few years, I notice trends and recurrences that I was definitely not aware of when making the paintings, and definitely not deliberately putting in.

So, I am always discovering new things about my own finished work, and never fully understanding it. It is more an appreciation of it than an understanding. I think this is arguably the case for many creative people, and it is partly what drives further creative work.

I think it is very interesting to know how other people interpret a piece of music, and to check nothing is missing in one's own interpretation, but to expect to completely understand it is probably unrealistic. Art is always recreating itself.


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Re: Playing Bach question [Re: chopin_r_us] #2703358
01/09/18 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by kevinb
We can try to recreate some aspects of it if we want to, and if we think it valuable to do so, but we can't actually live in it.
We are obliged to try, and we can make some progress.


But why do you think we are obliged to try? Is contemporary musical understanding so awful that we have to set the clock back three hundred years?

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: pianopi] #2703369
01/09/18 04:24 AM
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Genius obliges us.

Re: Playing Bach question [Re: chopin_r_us] #2703437
01/09/18 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Genius obliges us.


Genius happens precisely by developing - in an original way - what's been done before.

Anyway, using the term "genius" is often just a means of avoiding thinking rigorously about something has been achieved.


"Genius is not the sign of demigodliness, but the sign of having a profoundly practical mind" - anonymous

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Re: Playing Bach question [Re: pianopi] #2703454
01/09/18 12:59 PM
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Bach's genius obliges us.

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