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#1094393 - 08/22/05 01:17 PM "Extra" Rest?
fumblethumb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/05
Posts: 8
Loc: N. VA
Recent lurker with a question for my first post.

I have a copy of Prelude #1 of Bachís WTC. Right off the bat, in the bass clef thereís a rest immediately above a note. (Thereís also a note directly above in the treble clef.)

Hereís my puzzlement: why is there a rest above a note (in the bass clef)? Itís not to indicate a rest in the treble clef ---thereís already a note there. Itís almost as if itís a two-note chord one note of which is a rest.

As you can no doubt infer Iím hacking at this without benefit of teacher. This one has me really puzzled.

TIA
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#1094394 - 08/22/05 02:06 PM Re: "Extra" Rest?
derekrs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 115
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
in my copy there is no note directly above the first note in the bass clef. Are you talking about WTC 1 or 2?

Anyways, regardless of that, i believe that the rests are there because there are multiple voices in the piece. The rest, i think, indicates that that specific voice has a rest. Since there are multiple voices, i don't think that you'd call it a two-note chord. If you have two notes with a rest in the middle, then the upper and lower voice play a note and the middle voice has a rest.
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"There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between." -- Thomas Beecham

My blog: pianotrek.blogspot.com

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#1094395 - 08/22/05 02:12 PM Re: "Extra" Rest?
fumblethumb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/05
Posts: 8
Loc: N. VA
Thanks. Your reply makes enough sense for me to have another look (I'm at work just now).

It's WTC 1; I assumed anyone who replied would have an different edition from mine which is why I tried to be generic in my question.

I haven't actually started to play it, I'm trying to "read" without playing---as an exercise. Unfortunately I hit a wall on the first freakin' note!
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#1094396 - 08/22/05 04:01 PM Re: "Extra" Rest?
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
I was puzzled when I first saw this one too. I wondered "Why are they trying to make the score more complicated than it need be?" DerekRS is right though, those rests are meant to show when the various voices are to pause. If you look at a church hymnal you'll see the same thing going on, there will be parts for Tenor, Bass, Alto and Soprano, sometimes the same note will be shown for both (the notehead will have 2 stems). If I remember correctly the CM prelude has 3 voices. Try to play just one voice at a time to fully see what we're talking about here.

~pianocliff

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#1094397 - 08/22/05 07:06 PM Re: "Extra" Rest?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
actually, this prelude is 5-voice one, i.e. 2-voice on LH and 3-voice (arpeggios) on RH. so, when you play it, don't worry about the rest, but you need to know what to play with which hand. basically, the 2 low register notes (on bass) are played with LH, where your LH play and hold 1st bass note and then play the 2nd one and hold them together until your RH 3-note arpeggio is played. this is pretty much the way to play the piece throughout. once you know this, it's pretty easy to learn and play it. good luck!

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#1094398 - 08/22/05 10:28 PM Re: "Extra" Rest?
derekrs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 115
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
I took a look at the music and it looks like it is only three voices, not 5. The "arpeggios" are only one voice. I would also call them broken chords, not arpeggios. The other voices look like the half notes and the dotted 8th tied to the quarter.
_________________________
"There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between." -- Thomas Beecham

My blog: pianotrek.blogspot.com

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#1094399 - 08/23/05 01:06 AM Re: "Extra" Rest?
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
Signa has it correct here on the voices. listening to goulds recording will help to feel this.
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JOHN

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#1094400 - 08/23/05 06:38 AM Re: "Extra" Rest?
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Derekrs is right. It's not 5 voices. If anything it's three. If you look at the first measure, middle C is one voice, the 16th rest followed by E is the a second voice, and the 8th rest followed by G-C-E could be the third. Actually, I would say its two voices under broken chords.

If it was 5 voices, Bach would have written the rests to correspond to that, and might have changed the voice leading.

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#1094401 - 08/23/05 08:47 AM Re: "Extra" Rest?
fumblethumb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/05
Posts: 8
Loc: N. VA
Many thanks to all who responded. Much was learned...
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#1094402 - 08/23/05 01:43 PM Re: "Extra" Rest?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i read at least twice before from different sources that this prelude is 5-voice (not in fugue sense but choral). i will check this out again...

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#1094403 - 08/23/05 05:33 PM Re: "Extra" Rest?
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
Looking at the score...



I see three voices in the first bar, the C in the bass is obviously distinct from the E a third above it because of the rest sign there. (2 voices) The rest in the treble clef shows that the sixteenth note arpegios belong to another voice, leading me to believe that there are indeed three voices total. The fugue is a whole different story, but for the most part I think the prelude has 3 voices. Sorry if I started a little debate, that wasn't my intention.

~pianocliff

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#1094404 - 08/24/05 11:54 AM Re: "Extra" Rest?
derekrs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 115
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Yay! Proof from the score. That score is the same one I have, hence my saying 3 voices.
_________________________
"There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between." -- Thomas Beecham

My blog: pianotrek.blogspot.com

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#1094405 - 08/26/05 05:27 PM Re: "Extra" Rest?
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
My reasoning has nothing to do with the score.
My reasoning lies in the way the work is to be played. Nevermind.
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JOHN

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