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 Post subject: Bach
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:14 pm
Posts: 3
Hi

I have a book on preludes and fugues. Whilst i can hit the right notes and i follow the fingering my playing is flat and dull, i cannot obtain brightness or lightness, or the beauty that i wish to hear. Also half way through playing a prelude/fugue my fingers become tired and the notes cease to be correctly tempered.

How can i improve please.

many thanks
:(


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 Post subject: Re: Bach
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
You need to step backwards from the WTC. Try Bach's beautiful Short Preludes and some of the works of the Notebook for Anna Magdalenna. Schirmer (and others) publish a collection called First Lessons in Bach, which I highly recommend. I have to add that if you are a mature adult who is just now trying to develop skill as a pianist, the sad truth is that you will have limits that are insurpassable. Much of the skill of playing piano revolves around the training the body and mind undergo when we are young and still developing, in a manner very similar to learning foreign languages. This makes all the difference in the world. Having said that, if this is you, then you should still pursue this to discover how far you can go. The beauty of the piano, is that it has the richest bank of literature known, and there are high quality works and beautiful gems in all stages of difficulties. But the basic answer to your question is that you must first learn to walk before you can run. :wink: Are your training? Do you have a teacher? One should try to play works that they have already reasonably trained for. It is improper to depend upon learning works to get one's training; it is too inefficient. All athletes train excessively for the moment of performing; musicians do also.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Bach
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:14 pm
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HI
Thank you for replying musical. I shall take your advice.

I should have mentioned that i starting playing at 5 years old and continued right up to 16. at than time my teacher decided i was ready for bachs 48 preludes and fugues book 1 (associated board and royal college of music). i haven't played for a few years (over 10 in fact) as i have just found the confidence to play again with the goal of performing in a small way.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
That's great! I too am returning from a long hiatus. I would recommend first relearning works that you had already been able to play (a recital program perhaps), but be sure to learn them even better than you ever did before. Then you can begin to stretch outwards bit by bit. Good luck!

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Bach
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
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Location: Netherlands
velvetmonkey wrote:
I have a book on preludes and fugues. Whilst i can hit the right notes and i follow the fingering my playing is flat and dull, i cannot obtain brightness or lightness, or the beauty that i wish to hear. Also half way through playing a prelude/fugue my fingers become tired and the notes cease to be correctly tempered.

First of all you need to learn not to get frustrated if you hear the greats playing this music, not being able to play it like that yourself. As an amateur, which I assume you are, you can never compete with the professional pianists, and you need to get to grips with what you can do. Be happy with the things that do go well, instead of unhappy with the things that don't. If necessary, scale down your goals as Eddy suggested. There is so much beautiful music which is less demanding than the WTC.

Stay critical about your playing, but do not underestimate it either. If you can play the WTC and hit all the right notes, that is already far more than 99.9 % of people can do !

And by all means, do get a good teacher if you are serious about playing. Even if it's only for a couple of sessions a year.

I hope this helps some.

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Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer


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 Post subject: Re: Bach
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:18 pm
Posts: 1037
You might also tackle the Inventions and sinfonias, which are a stage easier than the Well-Tempered and a stage further than the works mentioned by Eddy.

Bear in mind also you might be comparing yourself not to concert pianists, but to the edited recordings of concert pianists playing on top notch pianos. There you have different beasts altogether.

Another thing to consider is that you know these works and you know how you used to play them. The music is in your mind and you get frustrated when this is not reproduced by your fingers as it used to be ten years ago. Be of good cheer (if I may be Old English for a while!), because this in the end is a good thing, if you concentrate in transmitting all this music to your fingers and ignore the little voice that says "give up!".

If you hold out now you will be surprised how quickly you manage to recover your lost technique, but you must do it gradually, rather like the proverbial athlete, who having broken a leg and been away from the course for a year, cannot just pick up where he left but neither will he have to restart as if he had never moved a finger in life.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Bach
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:14 pm
Posts: 3
Hi Everyone

thanks for your replies.

Today i am ringing around my area for tutors who also perform. The prices have gone up some OUCH! but it is a present to myself. I have been asked to play some example pieces. So looking forward to starting and engaging in musical dialogue if thats the rght term. :D


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