WEEK 2: Bach in March Practice Updates

As we enter week 2 of  Bach in March, I'm pleased to share that I've finished memorizing my Bach Toccata in D minor and I can't wait to play it for you on March 20 in my upcoming livestream, Counterpoint Come Alive. I'll talk about how one can use dynamics and articulation to bring out Bach's playful counterpoint.

For this week's discussion prompts, I want to shake things up a bit! Instead of me asking you questions, I want you to ask each other questions!

Here are some questions that may help you enter into conversation and understand how your fellow pianists play, practice, and experience music. Listen and read their practice update and identify something you're curious about. Then  - ask them!

  • How did you decide upon your tempo?
  • What makes you feel connected to your piece?
  • Who have you heard play this piece before?

There's always going to be a first person to post... so that's going to be me! Here's a short video of an excerpt from my D minor toccata. Please ask me a question, and I'll respond!

I'll be so curious to see what we all learn from and about one another!

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  • https://youtu.be/yUGqDfpE_gs

     

    Here is the D minor fugue from book 2, which I've been working on for the past month... It's my first piece by Bach, and I'm really enjoying it! I just love playing and hearing the counterpoint, since I want to be a composer, and it really helps me to understand counterpoint. There are one or two errors, but I think it turned out well. 

    I chose my tempo partly because that's what just seemed "natural"; this is a piece that reminds me of the Tempest (The type of storm more than the Shakespeare play or the Beethoven Sonata, though it does share the key with the Beethoven sonata...), with the winds blowing about...

         One of the things that really intrigues me in this piece is Bach's use of bi-tonality, where, for example in the beginning, you have the second voice enter in A minor like a good second voice, but the first voice is outlining the D minor triad beneath, and other things like that. 

               I have listened to a few performances of this piece, though the one that most readily comes to mind is that of Sir Andras Schiff, who's performance is I think a bit more laidback than mine (maybe not the best word, but I hope you'll all understand what I really mean...).

    Like 2
    • Thurmond R I love the energy in your playing for this piece!

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    • Rudelle Gaje Thank you!

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    • Thurmond R Very well done, and from memory!  

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      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Thurmond R Great job!  I love that Prelude also, if you'd like to post that.  So cool that you also compose!

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      • Randi
      • Randi
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Thurmond R nicely done, Thurmond. I'm impressed you have it memorized after 1 month. There are some phrases that remind me of Invention 1, but this is clearly more complicated. You bring out the 2 voices very nicely. Lovely piano,  BTW.

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

      Thurmond R Very good job! With the right character.

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    • Juan Carlos Olite Randi  Gail Starr Thank you!

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    • Thurmond R memorising that is so amazing! Congratulations!

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      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 6 mths ago
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      Thurmond R Very nice work Thurmond! I enjoy and learn from your insightful comments in our live sessions as well. 

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  • First, thank you everyone for the nice comments on the video I posted last week. 

    Second, this month is from he** for me because I am the administrator for an international string competition, and it starts on Monday. People are coming here from as far away as China, and there are dozens of time-consuming tasks I need to finish up before then, plus I need to be at the thing itself. The following week, we are off to New York for a few days.* I've been practicing the piano when I can but probably won't have anything to contribute. 

    *Is anyone here planning to go hear Simone Dinnerstein play the Goldberg Variations on March 31 (https://www.millertheatre.com/events/2022/03/31)? Meet up?

    Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Harriet Kaplan If I were in town, I'd definitely go! (I got to spend time with her and 2 of my piano friends in 2019.  I'm the really short one.)

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    • Gail Starr Simone looks rather like Beatrice Rana in this pic ... :)

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      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • brett_gilbert
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr Wow, one of your piano friends is Beatrice Rana?!  I love her Goldberg variations recording.  Good livestream today on the Aria (just listened to it...)

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert I just met at her concert in 2019.  The other 2 friends in the photo were from my piano club.  The young man in the photo knows EVERYONE in the classical piano world, and he was on the committee to bring Beatrice to Atlanta.

      Like 1
      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 6 mths ago
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      Harriet Kaplan I might be there too on 3/31!

      Like 1
      • Michael
      • mpetnuch
      • 6 mths ago
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      Gail Starr I was just at Beatrice's concert at Carnegie Hall on March 9th! She was phenomenal!

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    • Randi
    • Randi
    • 6 mths ago
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    Thank you for sharing this Hilda! When you are first learning a piece, do you practice without embellishments first then add them later? Or work them in as you learn? Thanks!

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

      Randi I definitely add them in later! how about you?

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    • Randi
    • Randi
    • 6 mths ago
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    Here is my latest Invention 1. My teacher gave me a great idea for getting it right - cut each line so it's on a different piece of paper. Randomly play each piece until I make no mistakes. Then put it together. It has helped so much!

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    • Randi Sounds good! You make it sound very serene.

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      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Randi Lovely job, Randi!

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      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • brett_gilbert
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Randi Great!  Its nice to see your progression on this piece.  An interesting idea from your teacher.

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    • Randi Very nice! Have you played other inventions? Which is your favorite?

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      • Randi
      • Randi
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Thurmond R thank you. I am trying to "feel" the music. 

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      • Randi
      • Randi
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Vidhya Bashyam this is my first Invention. I was very excited when my teacher said I was ready to learn them. Then I tried playing the first one. Wow! Be careful what you ask for! I am very humbled by Bach's book of Inventions and Sinfonias. My teacher wants me to learn them all. I joked with her that it's a good thing I plan to live to be 100! Thanks for listening. :)

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