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One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:01 pm
by 1961TC4ME
Hi all,

I have to reluctantly admit, although I'm a big fan of Bach music, at the same time it intimidates me! :lol: I'll hear one of his tunes and figure, hey, that sounds like a good one to try learn, that is until I look the piece over and see all those notes going up and down and all over the place, :shock: There's generally sharps and flats thrown in here and there, shifts from treble to bass and so on and it's just a bit too overwhelming for my less than proficient mostly self taught organ playing skills. In short, because of all of this, sad but true I generally avoid trying anything Bach, that is until I came across this little gem which got stuck in my head recently after hearing it again on a CD I hadn't listened to in a long time.

http://ks.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usim ... BWV533.pdf

Is this possibly one of the easier Bach pieces out there? So far in a matter of a few weeks I've managed to get through the prelude part, can't play it real accurately just yet and I have some flubs here and there but I have by far gotten further along with this one than any other I've generally thrown up my hands on and said to myself, this is way out of my league.

I do have a question on this one though and for some reason something does not sound right to me. On measure 14 on the bass (left hand) line, the first notes in the measure are E and G#, above in the treble line (right hand) is E and B, playing all these together sounds very odd like something isn't right. Can anyone tell me if there's something I'm missing in this spot? Otherwise I'm very much enjoying learning this piece!

Thanks,

Marc

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:54 pm
by IainStinson
Bars 13 and 14 look fine to me and are the same as the editions I have. Its a good piece.

Iain

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:38 pm
by Andrew Grahame
Hi Marc,

It's actually supposed to sound harsh for just a moment at that place, and at other similar places, before the brief but intentional harmonic clash resolves.

This is known as a suspension - where one note belonging to a chord is briefly sustained across a beat while the other notes move ahead to the next chord. For an instant the conflicting harmonies grind together to create deliberate musical tension (dissonance) before the delayed note moves on to join the others and re-establish relative calm (consonance). The BWV 533 prelude has plenty of this "stress/release, stress/release" going on to maintain a powerful "harmonic rhythm".

To maximise the musical strength which Bach aimed for, it's essential that in each instance the delayed note must sound fully against the new chord on the next beat before moving on. It's easy to inadvertently let that note go early, resulting in dilution of this important musical element. Have a listen to my performance of this work on CCH, and you'll hear that I make certain that these delayed notes receive their full value. I "lean" on them, in some cases actually lengthening them slightly to make absolutely sure that the momentary dissonance hits home hard.

This short but potent work is the first Bach prelude and fugue I learned back in 1975. I have never forgotten the feeling of fulfilment in my first year of organ study when finally getting it under control. Good luck with your ongoing work with this rewarding task.

Andrew

http://www.contrebombarde.com/concerthall/music/17454

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:58 pm
by 1961TC4ME
Andrew Grahame wrote:Hi Marc,

It's actually supposed to sound harsh for just a moment at that place, and at other similar places, before the brief but intentional harmonic clash resolves.

This is known as a suspension - where one note belonging to a chord is briefly sustained across a beat while the other notes move ahead to the next chord. For an instant the conflicting harmonies grind together to create deliberate musical tension (dissonance) before the delayed note moves on to join the others and re-establish relative calm (consonance). The BWV 533 prelude has plenty of this "stress/release, stress/release" going on to maintain a powerful "harmonic rhythm".

To maximise the musical strength which Bach aimed for, it's essential that in each instance the delayed note must sound fully against the new chord on the next beat before moving on. It's easy to inadvertently let that note go early, resulting in dilution of this important musical element. Have a listen to my performance of this work on CCH, and you'll hear that I make certain that these delayed notes receive their full value. I "lean" on them, in some cases actually lengthening them slightly to make absolutely sure that the momentary dissonance hits home hard.

This short but potent work is the first Bach prelude and fugue I learned back in 1975. I have never forgotten the feeling of fulfilment in my first year of organ study when finally getting it under control. Good luck with your ongoing work with this rewarding task.

Andrew

http://www.contrebombarde.com/concerthall/music/17454


Hi Andrew and thanks much! I suspected the clashing of odd notes was intended, of course if you don't do it just right (which is my case), the outcome is probably somewhat skewed and like I say, doesn't sound right. As I go along I learn there is so much articulation to organ playing, not just playing notes but how you play them. In your example this is perfectly executed and is the part I'm still working on, but I'm getting there! Pretty amazing from one day to the next when you've been working on a new piece, just that overnight rest from one day to the next how well things get wired in your head internally and I notice a pretty big jump in my ability to play this piece.

I may learn an entire Bach piece yet! 8)

Marc

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:50 pm
by NickNelson
I'm rather fond of 'In Dir Ist Freude' BWV615. It's pretty straightforward, and I think it sounds terrific.

Lots of versions on Contrabombarde, but for pace I like Fazioli's renditions. This one for example:

http://www.contrebombarde.com/concerthall/music/6398

though personally I'd prefer a slightly brighter registration.

Nick

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:15 pm
by profeluisegarcia
I think the short and beautiful 8 preludes and fugues were written precisely for us... amateurs.

Regardless any opinion, these works have the Bach´s taste ( the same way the Neumeister ´s Chorals do not seems to me to be Bach´s authorship).

Listen these works (BWV 553-560) and if you like to study one of them I can provide you a fingered copy.

Luis

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:46 pm
by 1961TC4ME
This is the version of BWV 533 beginning @ 20:34 that got stuck in my head.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uT_t8QvhpE0

Luis,

I might just take you up on your offer! :D

Marc

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:33 am
by Antoni Scott
I have picked up and put down so many Bach pieces that I have Lost count. Frustration with my inability to read the music properly (I am a terrible sight reader) was only part of it. Maybe within the last decade, technology has stepped in to help me overcome my inabilities.
Of course, we all listen to the piece being played by a professional before attempting the piece ourselves. Several things have helped me get through the endless hurdles.

There are software programs that can slow down the pre-recorded music without changing the pitch. At the slower playback speed (probably 75% to 85% of original) I can then follow the score more easily.

The next, and most important, is to be able to read the music clearly, especially in the vertical where notes in the Treble and Bass line up or overlap. I always enlarge my music scores by 135% to 140%. Going too big has the opposite effect on being able to read the vertical.

Then I will playback the slowed down recording and at the same time try to follow along with the music on my keyboard. The music teacher technique of learning the right hand and left hand separately never worked for me.

Since reading music, in and of itself, is difficult (C on the Bass clef is different than C on the Treble clef), I often write the pitch near the note itself, because I get confused easily. This happens a lot with the music that goes into the upper octaves of the keyboard. Same for the Bass clef where the printer uses extended lines above middle C.
Antoni

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:35 pm
by 1961TC4ME
Antoni Scott wrote:
Since reading music, in and of itself, is difficult (C on the Bass clef is different than C on the Treble clef), I often write the pitch near the note itself, because I get confused easily. This happens a lot with the music that goes into the upper octaves of the keyboard. Same for the Bass clef where the printer uses extended lines above middle C.
Antoni


I have suffered from the same in the past, struggling with quickly identifying the bass clef notes as I play and instead resorting to writing the note letter above the bass notes. I think my troubles have been more so because I have been lax about taking it seriously and just not practicing bass notes and I have allowed it to be somewhat of a mental block for me, almost like I've convinced myself I can't do it. Funny thing is way back in the day I played bass guitar in my high school jazz band, so you'd figure I'd remember bass clef a bit more, but nope, much too long ago I guess. What's also interesting, when it came to keyboards I didn't know an D from a hole in the ground on treble clef, but I quickly picked up the treble clef early on and can transfer single notes I read to the keys just fine, but the higher the number of notes the slower I get, but I do get it without much trouble. Something that has helped a lot as of late with the bass clef is just taking some time while practicing to play just the bass lines only and all of a sudden I've really picked up on reading them much better as well. My organ teacher used to say, pretty soon those notes become your friends! :D

Marc

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:07 pm
by johnstump_organist
If you want to hear the logic of the dissonance and resolution directly, try holding all the notes that are right at the beginning of the measure and then at the same tme move the b on top ant the g# in the tenor to the a!s right beside them while still holding all the other notes. Once you've done this it will help you hear the goals of these notes and know where the dissonance is going. In the actual piece, the resolutions are ornamented just enough (the intervening e in top voice and the rest in the left hand) that you might not be aware of the logic at first sight/hearing.

John

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:15 pm
by johnstump_organist
To help with reading, try not to put a name to every note, put a name on the first note and the just follow the notes up and down the scale, learn to identify the single skips that mark a third (line to line, space to space), then move on to other skip intervals, triads, etc. It will make your reading more fluent in the long run.
John

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:15 am
by adri
BWV 537 Fantasie
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-537/

BWV 539, first part
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-539/

BWV 588 Canzona
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-588/

BWV 622 O Mensch
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-622/

BWV 639 Ich ruf zu dir
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-639/

BWV 691 Wer nun den lieben Gott
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-639/

BWV 714 Ach Gott und Herr (can be less embellished)
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-714/

BWV 730, and 731 Liebster Jesu
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-714/
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-731/


BWV 737 Vater unser (cantus firmus in pedal)
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-737/

And as bonus (for listening pleasure):
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-544/

And many more, like Neumeister Sammlung, Orgelbuchlein, etc.

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:39 pm
by RichardW
Thanks Adri - great list. I have pencilled in a couple for consideration this winter.

Note: You do have a couple of typos in there 691 plays 639, for instance, but not difficult to work out.

Thanks,

Re: One of the easier Bach pieces to learn?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:48 pm
by Tweedle_Dee
Thank you very much for this list! I think I can actually take on a few of these.