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Best way to practice Bach
#592255 09/06/05 09:44 PM
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I'm just about done with my current big piece (it's Rach, omg), and I was thinking of taking on a big Bach piece (a few partita movements, a suite, etc.) However, any time I play Bach, I have a problem getting the voices down correctly, and it seems to me that the usual "memorize one hand at a time" and put em together isn't exactly the best for voicing (especially since Bach usually demands keeping them together with alternating melodies, while other composers usually hold right-hand melodies). What's a decently-sized Bach piece (in the environs of 6 pages), and how do you usually learn and memorize Bach?


Demi me, please!
Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592256 09/06/05 10:04 PM
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Draw on the score.

Find where each voice has the "main melody" and draw a line connecting the notes (or highlight them). Use a different color for each voice.

Find out where the "main melody" varies - where it is inverted, where it is augmented (all of the notes lengthened), where it is diminished (all of the notes shortened), etc.

Look for other important figures that are not the "main melody". They pop up throughout all of the voices, often in counterpoint with the main melody, and they're important.

Analyze chord progressions, if there are chordal passages (or broken chordal passages).


Sam
Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592257 09/07/05 12:34 AM
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Might want to start off with a sarabande as they tend to be slower and more homophonic rather than being truly contrapuntal. I think they're easiest to memorize because of this, and if you're having trouble with maintaining two lines at once they might be better to start with. The c-minor french suite is wonderful and not very difficult. possibly some inventions first though.
Parts of the Bb partita maybe.


as for learning/memorizing.............

Familiarize yourself with the piece(as always) such as key changes, crucial moments in fingering, and possible shifts in hand location or position. From here I do it hands together reading through it as slow as I need to go to stay comfortable and just memorize it. Breaking it up into chunks like normal. Not much more to it than that really. Once you do it enough properly you'll remember it. No tricks apply.


JOHN
Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592258 09/07/05 07:40 PM
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... better still, why not get "into" Bach by playing some 2- and 3-part Inventions and some Preludes and Fugues? If you have difficulties with voicing, it doesn't seem to wise to be working on some of Bach's bigger pieces.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592259 09/07/05 10:27 PM
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Would second Bruce's comment. There are some really lovely 2 and 3 part inventions that would definitely be worth reading through and studying, whether you get them up to performance level or not. it would probably help you to get a feel for how Bach writes.

The main thing that helps me with Bach is just to analyze it like crazy. I use the methods that Sam described quite often. Basically, just read the score and play slowly, play voices alone, play the soprano and bass together, then the soprano and alto, etc. Get to where you really know what is happening where.

Also, when memorising Bach, definitely break it into chunks, as usual, also try memorising each voice separately; not just breaking by hands.

For getting the voicing to come out correctly, listen very carefully and make sure you know what you want for one. Practice very slowly, memorise the sensations in your hands, and make very sure that you have a consistent fingering that works well for you.

Getting the different themes into your ears and singing them really helps to. With the score, try playing 1 or 2 voices and singing the other. Things like that have helped me quite a bit.

ha ha sorry I'm rambling. Can you tell I love Bach? laugh

Best of luck!


Raspberry liqueur, apparently. :p
Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592260 09/08/05 07:12 AM
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#5 is possibly my favorite of the Two-Part Inventions, though I'm having a (relatively) tough time with it, because I'm trying to make the "non-main-melody" parts stacatto and the "main melody" legato. I've learned such technique pretty well, for example in #8, but I have so much trouble when the piece is really quick like #5!


Sam
Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592261 09/08/05 06:13 PM
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Remember that voicing has nothing to do with memorizing. Voicing is not really something you work on; you just listen to what you want. You usually try to bring out the subject by means of tone, not necessarily articulation. You may do different articulations for, say, a bass line than for the other three lines. But what is important is the tone quality you give to each of the voices. Think of a choir. The piano is a chorally conceived instrument. Each voice must be seperate in tone, yet all the voices must blend into one whole.


I don't know what the meaning of life is- I'm too busy to figure it out.
Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592262 09/08/05 06:35 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
#5 is possibly my favorite of the Two-Part Inventions, though I'm having a (relatively) tough time with it, because I'm trying to make the "non-main-melody" parts stacatto and the "main melody" legato. I've learned such technique pretty well, for example in #8, but I have so much trouble when the piece is really quick like #5!
That's a great one! Are you still doing em all in a row P.J.? I was thinking of going through all of em as my next project as you suggested a while back.


JOHN
Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592263 09/08/05 06:49 PM
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Just talked to my teach on the phone. I'm gonna do it!


JOHN
Re: Best way to practice Bach
#592264 09/08/05 06:52 PM
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Alright, John! thumb

Actually, I slacked off quite a bit after the first week... laugh

I'd like to continue with the project, though. Right now, I can play fairly well Nos. 1-4 & 8, and I'm working on 5 & 10.


Sam

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