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

      Michael Great work Michael! You played right through those nerves. You even did it in front of a live audience, I think I'm more enthusiastic about your playing than your pup is, but I'm sure it's great to have the company. 

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

      Charlie Gesualdo thank you very much! I am finally starting to feel happy with this piece. I didn't really play much baroque music growing up, so I just don't really have a feel for it. It was frustrating at the beginning because compared to a lot of other music I play, this seemed relatively simple. Yet I could barely get through a few measures at first. Then something clicked last weekend. I def need to play more Bach post this challenge so that I can keep up the momentum.

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

      CK I don't know what you are talking about. Your playing oozes cool and control!

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

      Michael good for you!! I'm happy to observe the attention you've paid to the articulation. One thing I observe while watching you play is that you have quite good control with your fingers. What happens if you lower your wrist a bit? I remember working a bit with you on posture in your Schubert sonata as well. a lower wrist will give you a little more freedom in lateral motion.

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      • Michael
      • mpetnuch
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hilda Huang just wanted to follow up on the posture advice. I appreciate you pointing out my high wrists! I have been trying my best to keep focused on it. I think it has helped me with freedom in movement, but I have also noticed that when my wrists are lower, I find it easier to control the dynamics. I just have to be very diligent. For some reason, my wrists tend to rise automatically as I play. I wonder if this is a common bad habit? Thanks again for your advice. I hope you notice more fluid and better playing from me in the upcoming challenges.

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

    Caught up in the magic of the Goldberg Variations because of the very long-term challenge and in the last moment of "Bach in March", here I share with you my Goldberg video (Aria, 1, 2, 4, 5, 13, 18, 19 and 30 variations). I will have to add other variations, who knows when...

    Like 3
    • Juan Carlos Olite Great as always! All beautiful but I love the Aria and first variation.

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

      Vidhya Bashyam Thank you very much, Vidhya! What an incredible music to learn and learn....

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

    I remembered I was working on the Prelude in D major from book 2 a few months ago so I brought it out again to work on. I think this is one of Bach鈥檚 more cheerful preludes and it鈥檚 fun to play.  I think during Bach month I鈥檝e realised/learned that to bring out different voices you don鈥檛 just play them louder but can use articulation and direction to achieve the same result. I also think I will start use the pedals more to experiment more without worrying that this might be 鈥渨rong鈥漵ome how! 馃

    Like 3
      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hazel I love that you take articulation and direction into account. I can definitely hear it in your performance of this piece.

      Like 1
      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hazel Very nice playing- and yes I too like your articulation. Thank you for posting this! 

      Like 1
    • Hazel Love it! So cheerful and lively.

      Like 1
    • GerryM
    • GerryM
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi Hilda and everyone. As we come to the end of March, I used everyone's energy and inspiration to post my progress on the Prelude and Fugue in E Flat, Well Tempered Clavier Book 1, BWV 852. I've been working on this for awhile, but the Bach Challenge helped me to really focus on it this month. Thank you again Hilda, and to everyone for their posts! 

    Like 1
    • GerryM Very nicely played. It鈥檚 interesting how Bach seems to reserve certain keys for certain emotions. I always hear warmth, empathy, and reassurance in his pieces in E-flat. 

      Like 1
    • GerryM great playing! 

      Like
    • Charlie Gesualdo Great point about Bach and E flat major! My piece is also E flat major and I am definitely drawn to the mood Bach creates with it.

      Like 1
      • Hazel
      • Hazel
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      GerryM This is great. You create a lovely serene atmosphere in the prelude and lovely even playing in the fugue. I wish I could memorise like this too.

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

      Hazel Thank you Hazel! I don't really have a knack for memorizing, but I do seem to have a knack for sitting and playing the same piece over and over again. After 100,000 play-throughs, voila! It's memorized! Thanks again for your kind comments. 

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

      Vidhya Bashyam Thank you Vidhya! 

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

      GerryM , very nice, Gerry.  I really like this prelude and fugue pair.

      Like 1
      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anthony Miyake Thank you Anthony! 

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

      GerryM Wonderful playing, Gerry! It sounds great, with all the ingredients of the authentic and beautiful Bach!

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

      Juan Carlos Olite Thank you Juan Carlos! Always more study and practice to do...

      Like
  • Made some progress at the end of the challenge. Memorized the Siciliano. Worked more on the melody and weak sections, especially in the second half of the piece. 

    Like 3
    • Vidhya Bashyam 鉂わ笍

      Like 1
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