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?

 

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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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    • Monika Tusnady
    • The Retired French Teacher
    • Monikainfrance
    • 10 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    How I admire all of you who diligently practice Bach every day! Thank you Vidya, for the suggestion to learn this piece. I love that it is written to be PLAYED, like one would PLAY a fun game that is both physically and intellectually engaging. 

    Like 7
      • Michael
      • mpetnuch
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady  Great playing! This is such a fun and catchy piece (also to watch, there are some interactive fingering going on!). I am not familiar with it, can I ask what is the BWV?

      Like
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Michael Sorry for the late reply. It's the final movement from the Overture in the French style, BWV 831. Last night's Masterclass must have given us all a list of new pieces we'd like to learn!

      Like
  • My week three Bach practice update: I have focused mainly on the 鈥淪heep May Safely Graze鈥 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 鈥渇inish鈥 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.
    https://youtu.be/06e2BiKit08

     

    I seem to be getting my practice at night these days when I am sleepy and tired. :/  

    Like 6
    • Susan Rogers I love the ambiance created by the way you play. Beautiful! 

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

      Susan Rogers I like and hear very much the flow you mention! I find that this piece and the Sheep May Safely Graze sometimes have similar vibes - lyrical and gracious! Your goal of managing the voicing is admirable and I think right on the money. The polish will come, as you say! There's no rush - I love how you take your time in the arioso passages in the melody line. You could experiment with keeping the rhythm going using the left hand more than the right!

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

      Susan Rogers Sounds lovely, the French Suite No. 5 is one of my favorites.  Not sure if you've seen the great livestream Dominic did last year on this suite.

      Like 1
    • Rudelle Gaje thank you very much for such a nice compliment! 

      Like 1
    • Hilda Huang thank you Hilda! Yes, I felt in the mood to practice soothing Bach pieces this month. I will think about your comment about the rhythm- I think it might be a few spots where I lots my place and hesitated. Hopefully next video will be better in that sense.  :)

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    • Brett  thank you Brett! It is a great suite. No, I have not seen that livestream - I will definitely look for it! 
      I just noticed you gave me the link to the livestream in your comment! How nice of you. Thank you.

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    • Susan Rogers thank YOU! 馃槉

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      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Susan Rogers it鈥檚 beautiful! You make the ornaments effortless, something I absolutely admire in your playing. It鈥檚 a most appropriate selection for you: I have the impression that once you鈥檝e memorized the piece, it will  come directly from your  heart 鉂わ笍.

      Like 1
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Susan Rogers Very beautiful, Susan! 

      Like 1
    • Susan Rogers agree with   Rudelle Gaje . The ambiance is beautiful. Lovely Sarabande.

      Like 1
    • Susan Rogers Hi, Susan鈥 sweet! And sensitively played. I鈥檓 happy you shared this, as my next step will be to try to learn this Suite. 

      Like 1
    • Charlie Gesualdo thank you. It is such a wonderful suite.

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    • Vidhya Bashyam thank you. I love this Sarabande. 

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    • Juan Carlos Olite  thank you!  :)

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    • Monika Tusnady oh Monika, you are so kind. Thank you for those sweet words. 馃槏

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  • Dear Hilda,

    Will share my Sinfonia no. 15 in b minor practice performance here.  Slow. Both hands.
    The 鈥渇irst鈥 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鈥

    Thank you for the insightful questions!

    Like 7
      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • brett_gilbert
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Rudelle Gaje I'm used to hearing this played really fast, but honestly it sounds so beautiful played slowly as well, even if you're just doing for practice.  Gives a very different character to the piece and it sounds very expressive.

      Like 2
    • Brett Gilbert Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate it!

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    • Rudelle Gaje thanks for reminding me that slow practice can be rewarding and sound good,

      Like 1
    • Charlie Gesualdo Thanks so much, Charlie.  Very kind of you!

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    • Rudelle Gaje I love slow practice. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful!

      Like 1
    • Susan Rogers Thank you Susan!

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