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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  • My week 3 update: Played through the Bach-Kempff Siciliano. A lot of work to do still, but making progress. Enjoying learning this beautiful piece.

    Like 5
      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Vidhya Bashyam Gorgeous playing. This is one of my favorite pieces. Many years ago I accompanied a flautist on this. You inspire me to find this arrangement. Thank you for posting it! 

      Like
    • GerryM Thank you. That鈥檚 amazing that you played this with a flautist. The last few days I listened to the original flute/harpsichord version to help understand the piece better. You already have that part covered.

      Like 1
  • Hi, everyone... I've enjoyed listening to your pieces. Here are my humble contributions to the Bach conversation. I've been working on Inventions: No. 8 in F major; No. 13 in A minor; No. 14 in B鈾璵ajor. They sound rather innocent but they're prickly little devils, especially the B鈾... Bach is wonderful teacher, and he puts very specific and important technical problems in these inventions, so I think they're great exercises for touch and articulation. I guess these are rites of passage for every serious 8-year-old pianist, but being 66-going-on-8 is not a bad place to be. :-)

     

    I'm also working on Sinfonia 2 in C minor, a lovely piece that I don't think I want to share until I can play it in a way that approaches my feelings for it.

     

    It's been a busy couple of weeks with my job so I had to record these rather early in the morning on my keyboard with the volume low and then use iMovie to sync the on-board audio track from my keyboard with the iPad video. A separate little hell that I hope never to visit again!

    Like 7
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Charlie Gesualdo Very good job, Charlie! I like the feeling moving forward, right rhythm!

      Like
    • Charlie Gesualdo great choice of inventions. They sound great! You play them effortlessly.

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    • Charlie Gesualdo I enjoyed your playing! You seemed to very much enjoy the pieces. Listening to your playing made me happy inside. Thank you!

      Like
    • Vidhya Bashyam thanks... I wish I could say it was effortless, but I had to run through them repeatedly for two weeks before I could get a couple of halfway decent takes. I'm always right on the edge of running off the rails when I play.

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    • Rudelle Gaje thanks! I do enjoy working on them. They're very much worth studying. 

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    • Charlie Gesualdo I love these inventions. I enjoyed hearing you -  put a  smile on my face! Great job. I think these are so addicting to practice, never have I repeated more over and over I think than the inventions.

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      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Charlie Gesualdo Thank you for posting. These are three of my favorite inventions. It does sound effortless for you, but I'm sure, if you're like me, once the video recorder is on it becomes effortful ! Very good playing! 

      Like
    • Susan Rogers Thanks, Susan, you always have something kind to say鈥 I know what you mean about repeating these鈥 all three of them have technical problems that I find tough to completely solve.

      Like
    • GerryM Thanks! Loved your prelude/fugue in E-flat.

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

      Charlie Gesualdo When I did the Leipzig competition, the required pieces in the first round included selections from the inventions and sinfonias. It's mind-bogglingly nervewracking to perform and record pieces that are 1-2 minutes! It's great that you've tackled so many individual pieces: I feel that learning many always makes learning one easier!

      Like
    • Hilda Huang I have endless admiration that you can play Bach under that kind of pressure... just pressing the "record" button on my keyboard at 6:00 a.m. with no one in the room gets my heart palpitating. Why is that? I can stop and erase any time I want!  Bach is a lot like Mozart in that there is simply nowhere to hide. The music is perfect like a diamond. At least with Mozart you can relax the left hand once in a while with the Alberti bass, lol... 

      Like
    • CK
    • br0wn
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    hi all, I knew it's rather late for the submission, but just with that can still share this piece with you all. 

    Like 6
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      CK Great playing, Bravo CK!

      Like 1
      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      CK , wonderful playing.  The prelude sounded very fluid and even, even with the fast tempo; fugue was very consistent and balanced between the voices.

      Like 1
    • CK Very nicely played. You give me something to aspire to... and thanks for showing the overhead view, I learn from watching how carefully and exactly you touch the keys. That's the medicine I need. :-)

      Like
    • CK Awesome! Bravo! 馃憦馃徏

      Like 1
      • CK
      • br0wn
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Juan Carlos Olite thanks my friend. 

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      • CK
      • br0wn
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anthony Miyake  Those comments ->reminds me that it was written by some examiner馃槄. But, truly thanks for that. Am still not good enough to voice out some of the voices. Will keep working on that. 

      Like
      • CK
      • br0wn
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Rudelle Gaje thanks a lot. 

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    • CK sounds great!

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

      CK Oh boy I like your playing of this. One sign that I really like it is that I want to look it up and try to learn it ASAP! One question- your runs in the Prelude are so clean and even. How do you practice those? Do you use a metronome for it? 

      Like 1
      • CK
      • br0wn
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      GerryM apologize for the late replies. Don鈥檛 think I have use the metronome. Perhaps I should, as even I myself not sure if the things were played evenly and also, I forgotten that if those running passages were too fast or out of tempo. It sounded rather smooth due to this consider as a re-learnt on the pieces for me. 

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