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cmb13 #2880294 08/16/19 02:38 PM
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Why would you not suggest hands separately? Seems contrary to the recommendations of others.


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cmb13 #2880295 08/16/19 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13


I think it's the fact that there are finger changes in what seems to be illogical ways in nearly every measure, at different points in the measure, in each hand, that really fouls me up. I've simplified the finger changes (versus Henle's) in some spots, only to have it bite me when I realize a measure later why their fingering works better than my edit.


Yes the left hand plays only 2 notes mainly, either a third or the 7th of the chord. For example in bar 22, there is a C-E natural, that stands for C7 as a dominant for F. The rest of the chord is in the right hand: C-E-G-B flat and you land on F on the downbeat of bar 23. Same in bar 24 there is an F and a E flat for F7, the last note of the bar has the A natural, so F-A-C-M flat, dominant of B flat in bar 25 And so on.

The right hand is really made of a few patterns, this is motivic composition: many of them are an association of 3 notes within a third + another 3 that form a triad or a 7th in opposite direction. The patterns are connected through a continuous flow by steps. So the first 8 bars (Second section) are all connected, then 4 bars of "cadence" leading to the central point of G minor (we started in E flat major relative of C minor) dominant minor of C minor and another phrase of 8 bars, 6 of which conected and 2 final cadential: D6 (IV in the bass), G, C.

So, all in all, that does not help to choose the fingering but personally when I play Bach, I think each hand as its own content, connected together through the harmonic scheme. If you know the chords well, the progress of the music becomes much more transparent so you can anticipate what is coming next.

cmb13 #2880301 08/16/19 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Why would you not suggest hands separately? Seems contrary to the recommendations of others.


If you find hands separate practice to be useful, then you should do it. It doesn't matter what I think.

cmb13 #2880332 08/16/19 04:17 PM
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I love BWV 934 and have been struggling with it on and off for some time. Absolutely essential to get the non-intuitive fingering just right, of course, and frustrating. But the beautiful sobriety of this piece always brings me back to try again... also love BWV 999 in the same key, that I find a lot easier to manage and really enjoy.


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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by cmb13
Why would you not suggest hands separately? Seems contrary to the recommendations of others.


If you find hands separate practice to be useful, then you should do it. It doesn't matter what I think.

No problem, I was just wondering why you stated that, in music like this, you feel this way. Just curious.


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cmb13 #2880337 08/16/19 04:23 PM
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Great analysis, Sidocar, will have to examine it more closely when I get home later. Thanks!


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cmb13 #2880341 08/16/19 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by cmb13
Why would you not suggest hands separately? Seems contrary to the recommendations of others.


If you find hands separate practice to be useful, then you should do it. It doesn't matter what I think.

No problem, I was just wondering why you stated that, in music like this, you feel this way. Just curious.


The reason I said that is because it is often very tempting to spend a lot of time practicing hands separately, and then getting frustrated when hands together doesn't seem to become any easier. I think this applies to most music, but especially with Bach, hands together is practically a different piece of music. Most of the difficulties in Bach come from the coordination of the hands, and practicing hands separately can really be more of a safety blanket.

For example, you notice a wrong note in the right hand, and so you stop and work on the right hand by itself. It seems fine, so you put the left hand back in, and the problem comes back immediately. That's because the problem was actually in the left hand, not the right hand. But, the music is so complex, it's not obvious what's causing the problems. In my opinion, it's better to tackle that complexity head on.

It's like trying to learn to drive a car by sitting in the driveway practicing your steering by itself, and then practicing the brake by itself, etc. That does work if you've correctly isolated the problems, but come on, with driving you know that the real challenges are in the coordination between all of those movements, not in the isolated movements themselves.

I'm especially saying this to you because you said that you don't have a problem playing this piece hands separate. So, separating the hands is not going to uncover any difficulties for you, merely delay them. If you did have problems playing hands separate, I might revise my answer a little bit.

cmb13 #2880361 08/16/19 05:21 PM
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Good points, thanks for the clarification. Appreciate it. I usually do play it hands together, unless I'm figuring out a section, or fingering for a section. I think going for a few measures at a time, rather than straight through, is going to be key.


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cmb13 #2880373 08/16/19 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Music Me

Well, I am totally with you on this. Learning Bach when I first started felt like solving a math problem - and I hated math! However, it became a must if I wanted to learn true finger independence and really helped with sight reading. I also have a love affair with the Adagio and Invention #7.

Barbara, I'll have to check out that invention, esp if it's anywhere near the Adagio....

I love the way Sir Andras Schiff plays it-very slow. It gives it a completely different emotion. It almost doesn't sound like Bach, if you can imagine that. Please check it out.


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cmb13 #2880375 08/16/19 06:14 PM
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I love Bach. I can spend hours listening to his keyboard works. I pretty much always want to have a Bach piece on the go (although at the moment I'm learning a Scarlatti sonata). I've only been playing four years so until I started working on the Little Preludes, it was really more what could be thought of as "Bach-ish" pieces, as in the Anna Magdalena Bach notebook. I think of it as working on a jigsaw puzzle, and don't really care how long it takes me once I've started on learning a piece. It's months rather than weeks.

I think my teacher would prefer I do more hand separate work, but I like to understand how it all fits together so I tend to jump in hands together so I can hear it better. I'm also what I pretty much consider a beginner on the theory side, still working on that, and I haven't analyzed chord structure as suggested above.


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cmb13 #2880377 08/16/19 06:17 PM
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Eons ago I had a teacher who made me learn polyphonic pieces by singing each voice. She made me play each voice separately, then I would sing the alto voice while playing the bass with the left hand. And then, of course, she made me sing the bass line while playing the alto with the RH. When I finally put the two together with BH, I can assure you it sounded much richer than anything I could do with ‘normal’ practice. It was not easy, but I really believe dear old Marie-Agnes had it right...!


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That little Scarlatti aria is very pretty and I’m sure it is quite manageable at your level. It’s actually the first piece I worked on seriously when I took up the piano again after a 25-year interruption. You can probably add in a couple of ornamentations, such as at the end of each of the two sections. Good luck!


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Originally Posted by Henri2106
Eons ago I had a teacher who made me learn polyphonic pieces by singing each voice. She made me play each voice separately, then I would sing the alto voice while playing the bass with the left hand. And then, of course, she made me sing the bass line while playing the alto with the RH. When I finally put the two together with BH, I can assure you it sounded much richer than anything I could do with ‘normal’ practice. It was not easy, but I really believe dear old Marie-Agnes had it right...!


Yes, that's a great thing to practice!

I want to clarify that what I was saying about hands together/separate is about physical coordination. It is absolutely a good idea to look at the voices individually, and in various combinations, so that you can develop your understanding of the counterpoint. In my opinion, that is not a good way to solve a fingering problem, though, because fingering is really a whole body issue, not an issue in just one voice.

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I'm deep into my 12th Bach piece (BWV 926) and I must say it's same grade of heavy struggle every time. Yes, it's very rewarding once you finally can play it. But I started to treat pieces from other composers like little rests before next Bach, at the same time feeling more and more respect towards his music.

I can't help but imagine that there used to be some old, now long forgotten method of learning Bach music, that Bach followed. Since it's gone we are stuck with the slow and suboptimal route. That is till one advances to the level so high that one bruteforce-learn Bach pieces regular way.
Maybe someday someone will rediscover the old way.

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I think one good way to learn Bach pieces more quickly is to find editions with good fingerings.

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One caution about practicing contrapuntal works hands separately is that frequently a voice may move between the hands. The sense of that voice and its direction may be lost if practicing hands separately becomes the normal way to learn such a work.

But of course there are times when hands separate practice is helpful in learning any work.

Regards,


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JSB was the first "real" composer I spent time with, albeit in the form of Anna Magdalena's book, plus a couple of the inventions. I got through a prelude and fugue this summer (carefully cherry-picked the easiest I could find!). I agree with the idea that his music is a world unto itself, and harder than it looks (which is pretty hard to start with). But there's the wonderful feeling that you are getting a piano lesson from him, accross the hundreds of years.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
One caution about practicing contrapuntal works hands separately is that frequently a voice may move between the hands. The sense of that voice and its direction may be lost if practicing hands separately becomes the normal way to learn such a work.

Regards,

Great point!


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I've been learning the Allemande from French Suite #4. It looks MUCH easier than it is. It's at about half tempo and the fingering is feeling more comfortable but not automatic yet. I love the French Suites but they are difficult for me.


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cmb13 #2881566 08/20/19 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Want proof?

Just try BWV 934, the second section. Seriously, why? And this is supposed to be among the easy ones. Little prelude. Before the Inventions. Then the Sinfonías, then the WTC, then Goldberg?

No composer makes me feel like quite the failure that he does. Sure, there are other quite hard pieces, but he has a unique way of making the ones that look easy make me feel like a total failure.

Rant over.


Welcome to my world, LMAO. 😂😂😂😂😂

It's taken me since June to get his Invention #1 in hand, lol. I'm still not done with it, but hopefully the next 2 weeks should get me there. Bach is hard because your brain and fingers play 2 different melodies simultaneously, and his fingering can be tricky, though it's super important to get used to because you'll definitely need those skills with harder repertoire like, for instance, Chopin. Finger switches, or going 1-5-4-1-5-4 down the keyboard (I'm dealing with this right now, LOL) become commonplace. Great learning experience! Drives you mad at first, but you'll TOTALLY get used to it! Just keep at it, I suck all the time but it eventually works out. ❤️


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