WEEK 3 Practice Updates, and a harmony micro-challenge: Cadences

Dear Pianists,

 

We've made it to week three of Bach in March!! Some of us started sooner and others of us started later with our pieces and it's all good - progress is persistent and always available. I look forward to seeing your practice videos below if you're interested in sharing those.

 

A brief reminder to sign up for the interactive masterclass with me on March 31st, and a note that the community concert has been rescheduled for April 1. The Bach in March watch party will take place in early april - be on the lookout for a message from me. I'll write you if I'd like to play your video!

 

The Repertoire for the interactive masterclass will involve on piece from each of the following categories: A Little prelude / invention / sinfonia, a prelude and fugue, a dance suite movement, and a Goldberg variation.

 

Many have asked about the Goldbergs this month, and I encourage you to check out our ongoing Goldberg variations challenge. It's never too late to start, and I always suggest committing to a variation that feels within your technical capability. How do you assess whether something is right for your level? See how far you can sight read into it, at an even rhythm and slow tempo. Do you feel like your fingers can find the right notes, where your ears seek them out? Do your hands feel strong enough to play the piece? Can you already hear the piece in your head before you begin playing?

 

__________________________________________________________

Nico's livestream on Friday March 18  inspired me to share an idea I had with you! In pretty much all of Bach's music, cadences play an essential structural role in organizing his music.

  • Where's the first cadence or a shadow of a cadence you come across in your piece?
  • What about the end of the first section, or the first phrase?

If you haven't been able to make as much progress on your challenge piece, no worries: here's something much smaller, a micro-challenge!

Pick up that first cadence in your chosen piece, and play it as a chord progression! If you can, make a recording of that chord progression and compare it with you playing the piece up until that first cadence. How do they sound? Alike or Unlike? What do you take away?

 

I'll be back soon with an example, to help you better understand how to do this.

 

馃

Hilda

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  • Here's what I've gotten on my fugue! I sadly won't have the prelude ready by the end of the month unless it suddenly gets a lot easier, but I will post it when I am done. The first cadence is at the end of the theme in measure two; I will post soon.

    Like
    • Oops, forgot to post the video again!https://youtu.be/BDZkJ-Hp7zQ

      Like 5
    • Thurmond R nice playing. I like your icons in the background. Do you paint them? My friend paints these as a hobby.

      Like
      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Thurmond R Wonderful! It seems like you are handling the triplets quite well. How do you negotiate voicing the counterpoint?

      Like
    • Charlie Gesualdo Thank you! Yes, I painted the icons... I'm in an online apprenticeship.Hilda Huang Thank you! At the beginning, of course, I focus on the entrances of the subject, but later I mainly try to focus on what seems most interesting (Around measure 12-14, for example, where the chromatic line is developed), and so the more I play it, the more interesting things I find.

      Like 2
    • Thurmond R wow I really enjoyed that! Thanks for posting it.

      Like
      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Thurmond R Very nice work Thurmond. Well done! 

      Like
    • GerryM Susan Rogers Thank you!

      Like
  • The two Seymour Bernstein recordings of the Aria are so beautiful, exquisite. Makes my version seem so lumpy and unimaginative! What an inspiration he is! Thank you for those.

    Like
    • Brett Gilbert
    • Piano and classical guitar
    • brett_gilbert
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Episode 5 of Bach BWV 992 Capriccio sopra la lontananza del fratello dilettissimo 鈥淐apriccio on the departure of a beloved brother鈥.  

    Apparently in Bach's time the postmen were horn players who would play a tune on their horn to announce the arrival of the mail.  Note the modern Deutsche Post logo has a horn!

    So Episode 5 is an imitation of the postman's horn, signaling the the arrival of the postman hopefully bringing news from the brother.

    The last Episode 6 (and my favorite) is a fugue based on the horn imitation.  It's the most challenging and I'm still working on it (hopefully will post before challenge is done). If I don't get that done here is a recording of what the fugue sounds like :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6PgVMaH1LY

    Like 4
      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert This piece always reminds me of french baroque character pieces - le tic toc choc and la poule of rameau come immediately to mind. I think it's so great that you're not shy avbout bringing out the posthorn call. I think in later romantic music most horn calls happen with more than one voice - usually in thirds and perfect intervals, so it's quite striking to me that here it's only one open octave - almost like a trumpet call

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Wow! How interesting! Thank you for sharing the story of postman鈥檚 horn both in word and piano!

      Like
      • CK Lau
      • Piano Teacher, Learner and Student
      • br0wn
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert the tune was so cute. At first given me the impression that from one of those Nintendo games music. 馃槀Thanks for sharing. 

      Like
    • Anthony Miyake
    • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
    • Anthony_Miyake
    • 11 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Uploading my week 3 practice video of Bach's Partita #2 in C minor Rondeaux. Still needs some polish, but I think for me to do that would require I memorize it. There's too many jumps and finger reaches for me to play cleanly while reading the score.

    Like 4
      • khoi
      • khoi
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anthony Miyake good job. This is a very hard piece that you choose haha

      Like
      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      khoi , thanks.  Slowing the tempo helps make it easier.  I had practiced to play this faster, but after many failed attempts at recording at faster tempo, I decided to slow it down for the recording.

      Like
      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • brett_gilbert
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anthony Miyake It's been great to watch your progress.  It's sounds better each time.  Yes, I've also found that some difficult pieces are "easier" like this to play from memory so you don't have to keep looking between music and fingers!

      Like
      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert , thank you.  The progress wasn't always linear as earlier in the week I started making mistakes in a section I used to be able to play smoothly before.  It happens to me quite a bit with Bach--need to make two steps forward progress as there's sometimes a one-step backwards regression along the way.

      Like
    • Anthony Miyake very nice playing! Is this your new piano?

      Like
      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Vidhya Bashyam , thank you!  yes, it's only been about 2 weeks now with this piano and I really like it.  I tried out some Kawais and liked them, but the feel was a little different.  This is another Yamaha so feels more familiar to me.

      Like
    • Anthony Miyake thanks for sharing, it helps me keep going when I鈥檓 feeling a bit burnt out.

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      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Charlie Gesualdo , glad you find it helpful.  I fit helps, when I feel somewhat "burnt out" practicing a piece, I'll switch to something different and then return to the piece the following day with fresh fingers.

      Like
    • Anthony Miyake Enjoy the new piano! I had a Yamaha for many years which I loved too.

      Like 1
      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       Anthony Miyake I'm really in agreement with everyone above - I can really hear your progress!! Congratulations. You're doing something right. What is it that you're doing, exactly? how do you practice leaps? How do you practice coordination?

      Like
      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hilda Huang , thanks, Hilda.  It means a lot, especially coming from you.  I've been practicing a lot as well as listening to a lot of recordings which gives me a sense of the different ways the piece can be played.  Think the recording I've listened to the most is of Scott Ross on harpsichord.  Playing the opening eighth notes short-long-short instead of short-short-short also helps me to play it as it gives my RH an anchor point on the keyboard.  Most of the leaps are with the LH, so that required hand alone practice for me, but I practiced most of the piece hands together for the coordination.  I'm working on memorization now which will help smooth it out a bit more.

      Like
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