WEEK 3 Practice Updates, and a harmony micro-challenge: Cadences
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.
My week three Bach practice update: I have focused mainly on the “Sheep May Safely Graze” and it is coming along. I am finally now working on playing it slowly with flow. It took a long time to decide on the right fingers for the voicing - there are lots of eraser shavings - and then more time trying to get those moving voices to project without losing the quieter voices altogether.
Since I want to “finish” at least something for challenges I started bringing back the Sarabande from French suite V which I learned over a decade ago. The second half has some rough patches. I hope I get a more polished video made soon.
I seem to be getting my practice at night these days when I am sleepy and tired. :/
Will share my Sinfonia no. 15 in b minor practice performance here. Slow. Both hands.
The “first” cadence happens in mm. 1-3 where in m. 1 the tonic (b minor) goes to the dominant in m. 2 (f# in 1st inversion) then back to tonic (b minor) in m. 3. The end of the first phrase is a V-I cadence in mm. 5-6. This lovely sinfonia has a series of of V-I cadences in mm. 8-11, and more…
Thank you for the insightful questions!