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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  • Hi, again... I would like to start learning a French Suite soon, and while listening to performances online to help me decide which one, I came across this young man, who to my ear plays Bach about as beautifully as it can be played. His phrasing is thoughtful and sensitive, and his ornaments are beautiful and clear and so well placed they sound like they're written into the score. I find myself coming back to him over and over, so I just thought I'd share:

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

      Charlie Gesualdo How did you come across this recording? very cool!

      Like
    • Hilda Huang Well, to be honest, it just showed up on my YouTube feed. I'm an artist and the first thing that caught my eye was the album art, which appears to be Michelangelo. It actually took a while for it to sink in how well he plays because he's not flashy. He also recorded the Goldbergs, Partitas, English Suites, etc.

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

    Transferring from imagination to 88 keys is never as easy as I wish it were. Improvements happen in the smallest of increments! Juan Carlos Olite , your previous comment about dancing was really inspirational as it made me want to play with a greater sense of forward motion. I'm still seeking, of course, but enjoying the process! A big thank you to everyone for a great challenge!

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

      Monika Tusnady Wonderful, Monika! My feet get moving... (I don't know if this expression in English has the meaning I want to do it 馃槀)

      Like 1
    • Monika Tusnady Sounds better and better! Love all the nuanced changes made since the last post.

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    • Monika Tusnady I agree with Vidhya Bashyam! I can hear the improvement greatly. It is sounding good!

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      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
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      Juan Carlos Olite 鈥淢y feet get moving鈥︹ I love that. What is the original expression in Spanish?

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      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
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      Vidhya Bashyam and Thurmond R , thank you both for your encouragement!

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      • CK
      • br0wn
      • 6 mths ago
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      Monika Tusnady so enjoyable to listen and watch you played. 

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      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
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      Monika Tusnady "Se me van los pies...". You can check the meaning 馃檪: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coswhv6cKhA

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      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 6 mths ago
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      Monika Tusnady Beautiful playing. Yes you are dancing, and now I am :-)

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  • I have been so inspired by the various Bach pieces that have been played in this March music thread鈥hank you so much for the sharing of your gifts! 馃幑鉂わ笍馃槉

    Have endeavored to push the tempo in my playing of the Bach Sinfonia in b minor, still endeavoring to keep the poignancy of the harmonies that have so appealed to me. I hope the music brings a sense of calm.

    Hilda Huang I don鈥檛 think it sounds anywhere close to playing like Glenn Gould 馃槅

    Like 6
    • Rudelle Gaje Very nice! So calm but full of emotion. I like the tempo too.

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

      Rudelle Gaje I like it the tempo, as Vidhya says; beautiful and sensitive playing.

      Like 1
    • Vidhya Bashyam Thank you so much, Vidhya!

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    • Juan Carlos Olite I appreciate your kind words, Juan Carlos. Thank you!

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      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 6 mths ago
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      Rudelle Gaje I like your playing and this tempo very much. You're very expressive. One thing about great pieces, I think: a wide variety of tempi can work, as long as the piece is approached with sensitivity. You are definitely doing that. Thank you for posting this. 

      Like 1
    • GerryM Thank you so much for your very kind words, Gerry. I appreciate them!

      Like
    • Michael
    • mpetnuch
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Ah, it's week three already (and the first week of spring yet I am sporting a winter sweater!). While I have made a lot of progress (I have the piece memorized!), I still have so much more work to do to get this to sound right. My entrances on the theme are not consistent and I have a problem bringing it out when it's a middle voice. And still having difficulty with the tempo while recording. Oh well... few more days to polish it.

     

    Note: one of my dogs was listening to me play. I gave her a brief cameo in the end :)

    Like 7
    • Michael wow, you really whipped this into shape... I vote a definite yea. Congratulations! And your piano sounds nice. A nice clear, even tone.

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

      Michael I wished can played as cool as the way you are! You were able to handling the entire fugue so easily. 

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

      Michael , congratulations on memorizing it and nice job.  I'm still working on memorizing my piece.

      Like 1
    • Michael Congratulations on memorizing it. Really nice playing! What great company you have for your practice sessions!

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      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
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      Michael Very good job, sounds great Michael!

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