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Re: Pedagogy #915701
05/19/03 09:50 AM
05/19/03 09:50 AM
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benedict Offline
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Roxane,

If your neck of the wood is in the USA, I did not mean Chinese-Americans but Chinese-Chinese which would include a very tiny minority of Christians.

smile


Benedict
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Re: Pedagogy #915702
05/19/03 10:23 AM
05/19/03 10:23 AM
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benedict Offline
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Ariel,

As for Pizzicato, it is a general software to edit music, compose etc. It is not meant to teach sightreading but I use it as a tool to create sightreading workshops for my friend and maybe (later) for people who want to master the art of sightreading. Pizzicato is in Frenc but will be translated at the end of the year into English.

You can have an introduction here :
http://www.arpegemusique.com/

If you have jewish choir music, it would work well for your son if it is four voices on two staves.

You can read what I have written on sight-reading skills to see the "rythmic" approach.


Benedict
Re: Pedagogy #915703
05/19/03 10:35 AM
05/19/03 10:35 AM
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Richard Martin Offline
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Benedict,

Have a look through the chorale before you play. Bach usually keeps the gaps between Sop/Alto, Alto/Tenor within an octave to avoid the thin lack of homogeneity otherwise obtained.

The Tenor/Bass gap is different however and Bach exploits the wonderful effect of a big gap here for the texture and sonority as well as the added beauty of a trouser tighteningly high Tenor line. On these occasions you may need to play SAT with RH and B with LH.

In fact, some old hymnals were written with SAT in treble and B in bass. See Vaughan-Williams' fine "Sine nomine" tune to "For all the Saints" - not strictly a 4-part harmonisation, but you can see the effective chord + low bass structure.

Sometimes the gaps are still too big in Bach - low Bass and SAT that do not sit well with RH. Where Tenor/Bass exceeds the octave you can cheat by playing the Bass an octave up.

I agree, hymnals are good for sight-reading practise. Balance the learning of chords with contrapuntal music as well for a broad range of progression. Again, I prefer to look to Bach...!

Richard

Re: Pedagogy #915704
05/19/03 10:46 AM
05/19/03 10:46 AM
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PS

The Bach (and any 4-part harmony in the traditional style) will sound odd with only 3 of the 4 voices played. Every now and then the voice you miss will be the 3rd of the chord and since the 3rd should rarely be doubled in a chord the resultant will be a bare 5th i.e. clangy, bare-sounding, nebulous (neither major nor minor), medievel effect!

One aspect of Bach's chorale-style was that he always aimed for full sonority of chord. E.g you can have an acceptable chord of C-major with C, C, E. Bach would strive to include the G and often breaks the traditional "leading note always goes to tonic" rule in order to include the 5th. See numerous examples of the alto line e.g. in G major, falling from F-sharp to D in a perfect cadence to fill in the 5th instead of rising to the G.
Cheers,

RM

Re: Pedagogy #915705
05/20/03 02:47 AM
05/20/03 02:47 AM
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benedict Offline
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Richard Miller,

Thanks ever so much for this precious information.

Do you by any chance know if I could find an edition of Bach's chorals with fingering.

I started work this morning and sang one choral :
Aus tiefer Noth shrei ich zu dir "Lyrics" by Martin Luther.

You were right, the harmony is beautiful.

It is the best introduction to harmony I have ever seen.

But I would feel much better with fingerings !

smile


Benedict
Re: Pedagogy #915706
05/20/03 03:44 AM
05/20/03 03:44 AM
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Benedict,

Miller?

I will have a think about fingered chorales. I do have one but it is arranged for organ (i.e. 3 staves, Bass line played on pedals). They are paradoxically easier to sight read at the organ since the feet take care of the Bass and RH, LH manage more easily with SAT!

However, I guess you are getting your fingers in a twist trying to play these things entirely legato. At the piano you can cheat by pedalling each beat and simply playing and releasing each chord as a block. At the organ, current practise dictates a detache touch anyhow to give some sense of rhythmic structure and articulation. A string player changes bow direction, woodwing tongue the notes, singers have consonants; faultless legato at the organ can be monotonous and dull.

This is easily illustrated with chorales starting with an upbeat. You can't hit the note harder for an accent on the organ so you must accent otherwise and this is mainly achieved with an agogic accent. A short, detached upbeat followed by a first beat of the next bar held for its full value sets the rhythmic structure up well. Conversely, a long upbeat slurred to the first beat of the next bar gives a false accent to the upbeat. Your fellow countryman Marcel Dupre recorded and played lots of Bach at a time when organists strove for total legato. His playing and compositions were and are sensational but his Bach is now a bit odd-sounding.

What I'm saying is that, at first, go easy on yourself and bounce of the chords using the pedal to connect. Then you can get more pianistic by experimenting with a legato Soprano line etc., taking care of repeated noted in Alto and Tenor! A beautiful, clear, singing, legato touch at the piano is a fantastic if tricky technique, so go easy on yourself at first. The point here was about sightreading not technique, if I remember correctly!
Good luck,

Richard

Re: Pedagogy #915707
05/20/03 04:50 AM
05/20/03 04:50 AM
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benedict Offline
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Richard MARTIN laugh

Sorry !

Thank you for this detailed lesson on the art of playing the chorals.

I have two books of Chorals for piano :

371 VierStimmige Choräle
published by De haske

Choral-Gesänge
published by Breitkopf (3765)

The Breitkopf is in more common keys than the De Haske.

I thought you were not supposed to use pedals for Bach.

I just received arrangements by Richard Jordan of Luthers hymns.

I do not understand how you play on the piano. There are three staves : Great, swell and bass.

I will end up playing in the local church ! laugh


Benedict
Re: Pedagogy #915708
05/20/03 05:47 AM
05/20/03 05:47 AM
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Richard Martin Offline
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OK I think I have confused you.
There's no such thing as a standard organ, however, a standard organ (!) might consist of 3 divisions:

Great:
- lower keyboard (manual)
- principal organ sounds
- no dynamics other than adding/taking away stops
- French equivalent approximately "Grand Orgue"

Swell
- upper keyboard (manual)
- softer sounds, solo sounds, colourful sounds
- all pipes in a box with shutters that can open/close to give dynamic expression
- French equivalent approximately "Recit"

Pedal
- keyboard played with feet
- highest physical key usually F above middle C
- usually for playing bass lines
- French "Pedale"

All organs are unique and will have exceptions to this. There are huge differences across nationalities and musical periods, but it's an adequate example.

Organ music is generally written on 3 staves i.e. 3 sets of the five lines as opposed to the 2 normally used for RH (treble clef) and LH (bass clef) in piano music. As you would expect, the top 2 staves are RH and LH as the piano, and the bottom one is for pedal and is written in bass clef. Have a look at some Bach organ music on the sheet music archive.

Typically, Bach pushed the boundaries of pedal playing and uses the pedals as an independent voice for a bass line, a chorale cantus firmus, a voice of a fugue.

Let's not confuse the organ pedal-board with the sustaining pedal (senza sordini) on the piano.
You are quite right - the sustain pedal is generally to be avoided in Bach due to the contrapuntal nature of his music requiring clarity and independence of line. Also Bach didn't write for instruments with this capability.

However, the chorales were for choir and organ or chamber group or whatever. For pedagogical purposes, pedalling the chorales can be forgiven and will help your sight-reading in terms of playing the right notes at the right time. A legato technique in these pieces at the piano is, as I said, tricky but nevertheless desirable. I would learn this seperate from sight-reading.

Good luck.
Sorry these posts are long.
Any more questions - I'm happy to help if I can.

Richard

Re: Pedagogy #915709
05/20/03 06:10 AM
05/20/03 06:10 AM
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benedict Offline
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Richard,

Thank you so much for explaining all these things I didn't understand.

At Musicora, the exhibition of music in Paris, I saw a young man play on a big numeric organ. It was amazing to see his feet jumping and this music that sounded so rich.

From our conversation, I am not sure Bach's chorals are a good choice for training sightreading.

I find his keyboard music more rewarding.

When I have practiced my Pischna, scales and Chopin's Etude in C major (sightplaying of course), then I sightplay WTC1 and go further every time.

This is an incredible workshop.

I would like to find the chorals for piano with fingerings though. I find playing Luther's hymns is quite an experience for me.

Nothing could be further to my upbringing.
I find them restful and deep.

smile


Benedict
Re: Pedagogy #915710
05/20/03 06:31 AM
05/20/03 06:31 AM
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Richard Martin Offline
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Benedict,

It's a pleasure to be able to help.

I do think the chorales will help your sight reading immensely. A standard hymnal would be easier to start with, however.

From a purely musical point of view, I agree. These chorales are a vast wealth of beatiful harmony. I am amazed at how often I visit them. There is one particular short chord progression that Bach often uses to harmonize a descending scale. It was pointed out to me by a harmony teacher and is truly sublime. I will try send you it, with fingering! Do you have MS Word?

Re: Pedagogy #915711
05/20/03 06:57 AM
05/20/03 06:57 AM
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benedict Offline
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Richard,

You are helping immensely by sharing your experience and love of Bach.

Of course I have MS Word. I know that you people bring toilet paper whenever you come to France, but I can assure you that we are a modern country.
laugh


Benedict
Re: Pedagogy #915712
05/20/03 07:13 AM
05/20/03 07:13 AM
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Richard Martin Offline
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I meant as opposed to another word processor or operating system!

Of course you are a modern country - one only has to examine the toilet facilities in any French campsite to realise this! Where's the toilet?!

laugh

Re: Pedagogy #915713
05/20/03 07:46 AM
05/20/03 07:46 AM
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benedict Offline
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[Linked Image]

A pint of best for me, please !

What will you have ?


Benedict
Re: Pedagogy #915714
05/20/03 08:50 AM
05/20/03 08:50 AM
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Richard Martin Offline
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Make that two!
Nice Graemlins!

I will send that chorale snippet in MS Word but it might be next week.

Cheers,

Richard

Re: Pedagogy #915715
05/20/03 11:04 AM
05/20/03 11:04 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by benedict:
Roxane,

If your neck of the wood is in the USA, I did not mean Chinese-Americans but Chinese-Chinese which would include a very tiny minority of Christians.
Pardon the continuing OT sub-thread.

Benedict, I am not in the Americas or Europe. Ethnic Chinese make up 70% of the population in my country. But you are right about China, though. Freedom of worship is still not officially tolerated, and one cannot enter China solely as a missionary; the only Christian churches are home churches.

Now, back to the topic, I agree with you, Benedict, that Bach's chorales are not as useful as his other keyboard music for sight-reading. Bach is also my favourite composer, and I spend about 30 minutes each day sight-reading his various works for keyboard. I also sight-read a lot of other Baroque music, e.g. Handel and Scarlatti. In such music, both hands usually play equally challenging parts independently.

I also sight-read 20th-century music, which is full of sudden key changes and accidentals, and thus perfect for sight-reading. However, I do not enjoy the music anywhere near as much as I enjoy Bach.

Re: Pedagogy #915716
05/20/03 11:15 AM
05/20/03 11:15 AM
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benedict Offline
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David J

Here is what you asked for :

http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/0010588/highlight/sight%20reading%20%20piano/deta ils.html

There is a book for each grade.
Good luck.

smile


Benedict
Re: Pedagogy #915717
05/21/03 03:18 AM
05/21/03 03:18 AM
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Australia
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Thanks smile
I don't have a credit card so I'll ask my parents for it later, though knowing them they'll go to a bookstore and get the book 'the proper way'. :p

Meanwhile, hymns are working great... considering going on church roster to help with piano :p
I'll wait till I'm a little better perhaps, but hymns aren't too hard smile

Re: Pedagogy #915718
05/21/03 05:08 AM
05/21/03 05:08 AM
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Richard Martin Offline
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I think playing at church will help a lot. I have been playing the organ at church for 10 years and have played at some pretty high profile services.

The added pressure of having to play the whole thing without stopping, warts and all, afforded by hymn/choral accompaniment brought my sight-reading and general playing on immensely.

I'm not sure I agree that Bach's contrapuntal works are specifically "better" for sight-reading practise. You need a wide range, and chorales will give you experience in harmony and chords that say the 2 part inventions will not. Handel, Scarlatti, Bach (not chorales) each have their own nuances to offer within that general style e.g. hand-crossing in Scarlatti.

As someone also pointed out, modern music or simply any different music will stretch you in a different direction.

At the moment I am blagging my way through the Scriabin Piano Sonatas for sight-reading. Slowly, of course, but the early C20 tonality, thick textures and notes at the extremities are teaching me a lesson or two in sight-reading!
Cheers,

Richard

Re: Pedagogy #915719
05/21/03 10:24 AM
05/21/03 10:24 AM
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I'm glad to see other people love chorales as much as I do. I always feel like such a music nerd when I think about this, but for me, there is nothing like a good chorale. I really admire the style and elegance of a well-written chorale, especially after having struggled through many harmonization excercises in theory class.
Bach's chorales are definitely useful for both sightreading and the study of common-pracitce theory.

Re: Pedagogy #915720
05/21/03 12:19 PM
05/21/03 12:19 PM
Joined: May 2001
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I studied with William Beller (around 25 lessons only) at Columbia and Richard Casper(graduate of Julliard) in high school. I don'r know whom they studied with but would be VERY interested in finding out if anyone could help me. I think Casper became the director of the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music (or some school in that area).

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