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Estonia Pianos
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jnod #1841138 02/09/12 09:43 AM
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The second and third movements of the Italian Concerto also have tempo indications.

The French Overture also has a tempo indication.

Last edited by Keith D Kerman; 02/09/12 09:51 AM. Reason: remembered the French Overture!

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jnod #1841178 02/09/12 11:07 AM
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it's interesting tho, that there seems to be much tempi concensi on how these pieces are played. I google recordings to get a gyst and to hear how pianists interpret Bach's works. They are NOT all over the board.

It's also interesting that I play how I want to play them and I seem consistent with other people's interpretations. I guess the music itself does dictate it's execution, at least somewhat.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
apple* #1841182 02/09/12 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by apple*
I google recordings to get a gyst and to hear how pianists interpret Bach's works. They are NOT all over the board.

You must not listen to a lot of Glenn Gould. wink

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Originally Posted by beet31425
....I don't think I'm assuming much here at all.

In view of the above posts, I'm buying it. smokin

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Originally Posted by the nosy ape
Originally Posted by apple*
I google recordings to get a gyst and to hear how pianists interpret Bach's works. They are NOT all over the board.

You must not listen to a lot of Glenn Gould. wink


actually I do! I love GG.. good point tho - especially in reference to his multiple recordings.

Last edited by apple*; 02/09/12 12:23 PM.

accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

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jnod #1841241 02/09/12 01:19 PM
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Richard Troeger's "Playing Bach on the Keyboard: A Practical Guide" devotes a great deal of space to tempos in Bach.

http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Bach-...mp;ie=UTF8&qid=1328807885&sr=1-3

apple* #1841348 02/09/12 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by apple*
it's interesting tho, that there seems to be much tempi concensi on how these pieces are played. I google recordings to get a gyst and to hear how pianists interpret Bach's works. They are NOT all over the board.


Try the G minor P&F from book 1. That one is all over the board in terms of tempo and articulations. Compare Schiff, Hewitt, Gould, Gulda, and Tureck.


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apple* #1841353 02/09/12 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by apple*
it's interesting tho, that there seems to be much tempi concensi on how these pieces are played. I google recordings to get a gyst and to hear how pianists interpret Bach's works. They are NOT all over the board.


Of course, there are exceptions, both in P/F and artist. But I think this is a really interesting observation. In general, each piece has "converged" to a generally accepted tempo range. It could have been the case that for, say, half the P/F's, half the concert artists play them fast, and half slow. But it's not the case.

Two possible explanations: (1) There is something inherent in the music that dictates its general tempo, independently, the same way to most artists. Or, (2) We all influence each other, through recordings and concerts, and have thereby settled on a standard tempo through a sort of implicit communication over the decades (and centuries).

-Jason

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Originally Posted by apple*
it's interesting tho, that there seems to be much tempi concensi on how these pieces are played. I google recordings to get a gyst and to hear how pianists interpret Bach's works. They are NOT all over the board.
[...]


On the other hand, if you check the appendix "Table of Tempo Indications" in Willard A. Palmer's Edition (Alfred Masterworks) of the WTC, Bk I, you'll see that tempi are, indeed, "all over the board."

Just a few examples among pianists (not including harpsichordists, here, although there is a listing of tempi taken by the latter) such as Demus, Fishcer, Gould, Gulda, Martins, Richter and Tureck :

Prelude No 1 : from 52 to 96 per quarter
Prelude No 2 : from 63 to 132 per quarter
Prelude No 8 : from 52 to 80 per quarter
Prelude No 16 : from 72 to 102 per eighth
Prelude No 23 : from 63 to 96 per quarter

Fugue No 2 : from 60 to 88 per quarter
Fugue No 7 : from 76 to 104 per quarter
Fugue No 12 : from 40 to 72 per quarter
Fugue No 21 : from 69 to 112 per quarter
Fugue No 24 : from 30 to 80 per quarter

Palmer makes similar tempo comparisons in his edition of the Two-Part Inventions where the same wide range of tempi can be observed :

Invention No 1 from 60 to 120 per quarter
Invention No 6 from 80 to 120 per eighth
Invention No 9 from 40 to 80 per quarter
Invention No 13 from 66 to 144 per quarter
Invention No 15 from 54 to 104 per quarter

These are pretty wide extremes, it seems to me, and many of the other Preludes and Fugues and Inventions exhibit the same wide range of tempi.

Regards,


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jnod #1841404 02/09/12 06:21 PM
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If performances by the performers of the stature of those listed in Bruce_D's posting have such a wide range of tempi - 2:1 in some cases! - it seems to me that the question of what is the 'correct' tempo for a work can never be answered with a single number. So everyone can have their favourite speed for a given work and claim, with some reference to a notable performer, that it is correct.

Perhaps there are other reasons for the different tempi observed: I can think of the following to start with:-

* piano vs harpsichord vs clavichord
* acoustics of the recording environment - studio versus concert hall versus church
* peculiarities of the instrument (probably not a big factor wrt pianos)
* mood of the day of the performer and influence of recent research
* influence of adjacent works in a live programme for contrast or similarity.


And a final thought: did Bach himself always play a given piece at the same tempo every time he played it? Certainly with the organ works it is easy to imagine different tempi depending on the church (reverberation time) and the organ (a stop on one organ speaking faster or slower that the equivalent stop on a different organ). Possibly thus his various performances of a given P&F may have varied in speed. I admit this is pure conjecture!

Perhaps we have to ditch the notion of a 'correct' single tempo altogether?



A perennially hopeful amateur!
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Currently attempting: Bach: WTC I/1,5;II/12; Chopin Polonaise in A; Etude 10/5; Brahms Op 118 No 2 Intermezzo in D; Scarlatti Sonata L23.
jnod #1841433 02/09/12 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jnod
Originally Posted by gooddog
In his book "Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard", Paul Badura-Skoda references organ-barrels, a hand turned mechanism that was designed to produce music at the correct tempi. Based on the optimal speed of these organ-barrels, (plus other factors), he hypothesizes that Bach should be played at a faster tempo than what is being performed today.

It's an interesting book but I did not finish it because it was a bit over my head.


Organ barrels! First prize for obscure information!

I think the issue of tempo is complicated by the fact that some of Bach's keyboard music, or maybe lots of it more like, was written for instruments with more than one keyboard. The technical challenges (especially in the Goldbergs) of rapidly running your hands over each other are likely to keep some pianists from going full tilt on some of these pieces.


Keep in mind that there is FAR less resistance on period instruments (Bach, would have a very difficult time with today's piano), thus meaning the tempi probably would be a touch faster, but it wouldn't be a great thing. You're correct in regard that much of Bach is written for multiple keyboards. The WTC, by the way, wasn't written entirely at the harpsichord.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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apple* #1841435 02/09/12 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by apple*
I guess the music itself does dictate it's execution, at least somewhat.


+1
Absolutely, it does!!!



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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Originally Posted by Toastburn


Perhaps we have to ditch the notion of a 'correct' single tempo altogether?



I'm not sure that's what anyone was looking for to begin with. There isn't any "correct" tempo, but the CORRECT tempo will be in keeping with the character of the piece.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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stores #1841458 02/09/12 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by apple*
I guess the music itself does dictate it's execution, at least somewhat.


+1
Absolutely, it does!!!
True for most music(not just Bach) IMO.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by apple*
I guess the music itself does dictate it's execution, at least somewhat.


+1
Absolutely, it does!!!
True for most music(not just Bach) IMO.


Again, absolutely!



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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stores #1841749 02/10/12 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Toastburn


Perhaps we have to ditch the notion of a 'correct' single tempo altogether?



I'm not sure that's what anyone was looking for to begin with. There isn't any "correct" tempo, but the CORRECT tempo will be in keeping with the character of the piece.


A consensus here might be that while there there are most definitely incorrect tempi (and we could all list examples) the correct ones lie in a range. This range is dictated by the music itself in that the various themes and voices need to be discernible. Another influence is the artistic intention - loosely translated as taste - of the musician.


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jnod #1842031 02/10/12 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jnod
A consensus here might be that while there there are most definitely incorrect tempi (and we could all list examples) the correct ones lie in a range. This range is dictated by the music itself in that the various themes and voices need to be discernible. Another influence is the artistic intention - loosely translated as taste - of the musician.


I agree, and IMO you've nicely summarized the various points from the contributors.


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Currently attempting: Bach: WTC I/1,5;II/12; Chopin Polonaise in A; Etude 10/5; Brahms Op 118 No 2 Intermezzo in D; Scarlatti Sonata L23.
jnod #1842107 02/10/12 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jnod
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Toastburn


Perhaps we have to ditch the notion of a 'correct' single tempo altogether?



I'm not sure that's what anyone was looking for to begin with. There isn't any "correct" tempo, but the CORRECT tempo will be in keeping with the character of the piece.


A consensus here might be that while there there are most definitely incorrect tempi (and we could all list examples) the correct ones lie in a range. This range is dictated by the music itself in that the various themes and voices need to be discernible. Another influence is the artistic intention - loosely translated as taste - of the musician.


That's not a bad way of putting it. As for "artistic intention/taste" it should always serve the music first and foremost.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

stores #1842293 02/11/12 12:56 AM
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stores--

Please see my comment to you in MarkH's "French Suites" thread in Member Recordings. I am being a pest!

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
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