Public Space for Bach's Polyphony Workshop with Magdalena Baczewska

Improve your listening and playing of polyphony - the simultaneous independent musical lines. By focusing on polyphony you will also achieve a new understanding of voicing and phrasing. While you’re at it, you will also gain a new appreciation for the beauty and sophistication of the music of J.S. Bach. Magdalena will help guide your discovery and answer questions along the way. 


BYOB - Bring your own Bach. This challenge does not rely on specific repertoire, so feel free to pick any Bach piece that best suits your current abilities. 


Choose your challenge. During the two weeks, you will be able to adjust the number of exercises you wish to submit.


Pianists of all levels are welcome. You may choose how much of the piece you would like to work on. It can be a phrase or a page. 


Course Details:




Goal: Playing the upper part (soprano) independently


Submission 1

- Practice and record the upper part in slow tempo. Think of a tempo beforehand, and give yourself an empty measure before you begin

- To make it more manageable, you may divide the piece into sections and submit a short fragment each day

- Skip the ornaments for now

- Sometimes voices cross. When in doubt, follow the directions of note stems 

- Be aware that sometimes the particular voice/part moves between hands 

- Submit the recording of just the upper part (with the count-in)


Submission 2

Now that you have recorded one part, sing along with the recording (the same melody, on La La La, or, if you are comfortable enough, you may use solfège)

- pay attention to how your own voice deals with leaps, and the changes of direction in the melody 

- When you are holding a long note, make sure to take a big breath beforehand. The goal is to physically experience the phrase 

- You don’t need to have a trained voice - just do your best to approximate the pitches you are playing

- This part may also be submitted in smaller increments 

- If you do not have an extra device, just submit a recording of you playing the upper part and sing along with it. 


Submission 3 (optional)

Play the recording of the upper part and try to play the lowest part along with it. What are your questions/observations?



WEEK TWO Assignment:


Playing the lowest part (bass) independently


Perform the same drill as in Week 1, this time with the lowest voice. If your piece has three or more parts, choose the bass (stems going down).


Send in submission 1 and 2 (submission 3 is optional), the same way you did last week, using the prompts above.




When you are ready, play both parts in a slow tempo, keeping in mind all the discoveries you have made. Record and submit. What did you learn? Share how this progressive exercise has impacted your hearing of multiple voices simultaneously. 




WELCOME TO THE PUBLIC SPACE OF "Bach's Polyphony Workshop with Magdalena Baczewska"


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  • Yes I’m in love with Bach. Looking forward to learn.

    Blessings Rasmus

    • junina
    • junina
    • 1 mth ago
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    thank you. looking forward to learning more about playing Bach, one of my favourite composers 

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