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#1219806 - 06/19/09 08:03 PM Question: Bach Invention
CoffeeLover Offline
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Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 159
Loc: LA, CA
Hi, I wanted to ask you;

Is there an order in which I should learn Inventions or is it simply from #1 to #15?

Thanks

Eunyoung
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#1219809 - 06/19/09 08:14 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: CoffeeLover]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
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This topic has been covered before - try doing a search.

To answer your question briefly, you should follow your teacher's guidance first and foremost. Most teachers find #4, #1, #8 among the easiest. Anyway, unless you have an edition with the subjects and counter points printed out for you, you'll either need such an edition or your teacher's help learning how to look for them, and how to play them.
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#1219812 - 06/19/09 08:22 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: CoffeeLover]
heidiv Offline
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Loc: piano bench, usually
Most players start with a two-part invention first, because two voices are obviously easier to control than three. The one in D major is a common starting point (sorry I don't have my book in front of me or I would give you the number). When you can do the 2-parts well, you can move on to the 3-parts. They're fun to play and are great preparation for playing the fugues. Have fun!

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#1219816 - 06/19/09 08:29 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: heidiv]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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The D major (#3) is more difficult than the d minor (#4); I'd recommend saving it for later on. The Sinfonias (3 part) are considerably more difficult than the Inventions. I'd recommend holding off on those until you can play some of the French Suites, at least.
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#1219870 - 06/19/09 11:19 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: John v.d.Brook]
C.Y. Offline
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Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 391
Is it better for students to learn all 15? Or just choose some of them is good enough?

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#1219910 - 06/20/09 01:40 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: C.Y.]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Learn them all. They were compiled in diatonic scale order - C d e F G a b Bb A g f E Eb D c.
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#1219913 - 06/20/09 01:52 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: keyboardklutz]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
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Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Learn them all. They were compiled in diatonic scale order - C d e F G a b Bb A g f E Eb D c.


Care to explain the "diatonic scale order" further?
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#1219930 - 06/20/09 02:38 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: AZNpiano]
keyboardklutz Offline
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They first appear in the Clavier-Büchlein for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach in that order (vaguely in the order of difficulty) though I doubt they were composed specifically for it (they're just to darn good).
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#1219934 - 06/20/09 02:45 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: keyboardklutz]
trillingadventurer Offline
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Registered: 05/28/08
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Loc: San Diego
I don't have any students who can do an invention yet. But we have started some Minuets. I find these inventions very challenging and I love playing them.
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#1219939 - 06/20/09 03:17 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: keyboardklutz]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
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Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
They first appear in the Clavier-Büchlein for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach in that order (vaguely in the order of difficulty) though I doubt they were composed specifically for it (they're just to darn good).


So does that mean No. 2 (C minor) was intended to be the hardest??? Maybe if you play that piece at Presto con fuoco, but I've been playing it (and teaching it) at Largo. My favorite invention!!
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#1219949 - 06/20/09 04:38 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: AZNpiano]
keyboardklutz Offline
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That's the order Bach taught them in, but bear in mind they were also composition texts.
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#1220154 - 06/20/09 03:57 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: keyboardklutz]
CoffeeLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 159
Loc: LA, CA
Thank you all for your replies.
Wow, you guys are very nice.

So, the order Bach taught his students is #1 to #15 after all these uneven difficulties between each of inventions?
Sorry, I don't have a teacher, and I am a very beginnier in Bach music. So please bear with my stupid(seriously) questions, and forgive me if I misunderstood you.

Inventions I've completed (that doesn't mean I don't make mistakes. Needs a lot more work) are:
#1,2,3,4,6,8,10,13 and 14.
Almost done with #5 and 9.
The rest are almost untouched. (#7,11,12 and 15)

I asked this question so that I will know the order to finish the ones left. Also I would like to polish all the pieces in the proper order.

By the way, I am not clear about the concepts of two parts and three parts very well, either. Is it simply for "two hands" and "three hands"?
My understanding is that in case of three hands, either LH or RH covers the third hand part, and that's why Sinfonias are harder.
You need someone's guidance on which hand plays the third part in each bar in each piece. And I'll need to learn something like French Suits first before Sinfonias, is that correct?

Thank you all again, and have a great weekend!


Edited by CoffeeLover (06/20/09 03:58 PM)
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#1220165 - 06/20/09 04:22 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: CoffeeLover]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: CoffeeLover


So, the order Bach taught his students is #1 to #15 after all these uneven difficulties between each of inventions?
No, he taught them in this order: C d e F G a b Bb A g f E Eb D c.
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#1220189 - 06/20/09 05:19 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: CoffeeLover]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
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Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
The German name which Bach gave these studies was Inventionen und Sinfonien. The former, Inventions, were constructed using two parts which harmonize; each part uses the same subject (not theme) and counterpoints. The latter, which we often call 3 part inventions, uses three voices (parts) which harmonize, again using one subject and counterpoints, developed in each voice. Difficult to write, difficult to play. Bach loved doing this, and if I recall, managed to write either five or six part pieces for solo organ.

These were teaching pieces Bach wrote for family members, for the most part. There is a lot to learn in each which is not included on the printed page, but is passed from teacher to student. As soon as you can, I would encourage finding a teacher who can actually guide you through these.
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#1220200 - 06/20/09 05:28 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: CoffeeLover]
C.Y. Offline
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Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 391
Originally Posted By: CoffeeLover

By the way, I am not clear about the concepts of two parts and three parts very well, either. Is it simply for "two hands" and "three hands"?

I am just a parent, but I don't think this is right. Two parts means two voices (melody), you need to be able to show both voices when you play it. I think it is called counterpoint.

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#1220539 - 06/21/09 01:42 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: C.Y.]
CoffeeLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 159
Loc: LA, CA
keyboardklutz, John v.d.Brook and C.Y.-

Thanks for your help!
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#1220563 - 06/21/09 02:26 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: CoffeeLover]
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
Originally Posted By: CoffeeLover
Hi, I wanted to ask you;

Is there an order in which I should learn Inventions or is it simply from #1 to #15?

Thanks

Eunyoung



I don't think that the order is important.
My first invention was number 8, which is not the easiest one, but i really enjoyed playing it and i found it quite easy.
Just choose the one you like the most, or the one that you think could improve your technique the most.

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#1220634 - 06/21/09 04:41 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: John v.d.Brook]
landorrano Online   content
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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2443
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook


These were teaching pieces Bach wrote for family members, for the most part. There is a lot to learn in each which is not included on the printed page, but is passed from teacher to student. As soon as you can, I would encourage finding a teacher who can actually guide you through these.



One of the most valuble comments I have seen on these forums.

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#1220785 - 06/21/09 11:09 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: landorrano]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Before playing Bach Inventions, I would definitely play some of the short preludes and fugues and some selected movements from the French Suites.

I have found that difficulty is really an individual thing. I have students who think that 8 is really hard, but have no problem with the g minor.

I think the two most difficult are the Eb and the A major.
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#1220849 - 06/22/09 03:30 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: Minniemay]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5277
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Before playing Bach Inventions, I would definitely play some of the short preludes and fugues and some selected movements from the French Suites.

I have found that difficulty is really an individual thing. I have students who think that 8 is really hard, but have no problem with the g minor.

I think the two most difficult are the Eb and the A major.


I wouldn't touch fugues (unless it is a 2-voice fugue) before the Inventions. Fugues are definitely difficult. Try bringing out the middle voice, which sometimes is bouncing back and forth between the hands.

I've taught the G minor Invention twice, and it is definitely one of the most difficult pieces in the set. The ornaments are just deadly.
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#1220892 - 06/22/09 08:15 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: AZNpiano]
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Inventions are the gateway into Preludes and fugues and the french suites. Like John recommended, I start with No. 8 (that was my first as well), No. 1 and No. 4. I find that when students are ready for Inventions, the hardest part is the true polyphony going on. This sort of independence in the hands is a difficult thing to master, and should be tackled with Inventions, because the French Suites and Preludes & Fugues are much more demanding in this respect. Once I went through a few Inventions and a couple of Sinfonias, the Preludes & Fugues were almost easier.
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#1220983 - 06/22/09 12:11 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: Morodiene]
ahvat Offline
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Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 125
I am still new in bach's Invention aswell, after learning the 1st Inventionen my teacher started me with 3, but it took me a while to get the feel of Bach's Inventions. I learned 3 quicker than 1, and 2 looks alittle easy to me. I'm not a sight reading pro'. But Bach's Inventions will probably help me sight read other difficult pieces to come.

My book has both invention(2 part?) and sinfonia(3 part?).

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#1221460 - 06/23/09 09:30 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: ahvat]
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Yes, the Inventions are 2-part, which means two voices. The Sinfonias are three-part, or three voices.
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#1221552 - 06/23/09 12:44 PM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: AZNpiano]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I wouldn't touch fugues (unless it is a 2-voice fugue) before the Inventions.


I wasn't talking about fugues in the WTC. I'm talking about the Short Preludes and Fugues. Many of those fugues are quite short and simpler than many inventions.
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#1258875 - 08/30/09 06:10 AM Re: Question: Bach Invention [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
The German name which Bach gave these studies was Inventionen und Sinfonien. The former, Inventions, were constructed using two parts which harmonize; each part uses the same subject (not theme) and counterpoints.
Not quite accurate. Bach originally called the 2-Part Preludes and 3-Part Fantasias. To say each part uses the same subject and counterpoints is too simplistic - the term inventions refers to the musical 'idea'. Each 'idea' calls for a different type of treatment, so they are a treatise in composition, especially in the creation of suitable 'idea'(s) for different genre. The 3-Part, which I find lack the same focus, seem in contrast uni-genre.
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