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#1454119 - 06/10/10 05:24 PM Pedal and Bach
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2715
this is an extension of some other thread, it deserves all attention, instead of being a mere byproduct, so:
What are your opinions about playing J.S.Bach on the piano, at all/with,without pedal/dynamics/'interpretation'/speed/ etc.
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#1454151 - 06/10/10 06:10 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: dolce sfogato]
Brandon_W_T Offline
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Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
I play it, usually, the way that I think sounds the best to me. Sometimes I will use a pedal, but sometimes I dont.

I usually do keep it at a fairly consistent tempo, unless its an organ piece, or another instruments piece, then I ad my own dynamics to how others play it on the other instrument.
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#1454155 - 06/10/10 06:15 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2715
I play the Goldbergs f.i. totally without, no problem, I'm in a different state of mind as a pianist, well, not a 'pianist' at all, a devote Bach-addict, but in the Partita's I'd like to use a bit of the right foot now and then, very inconsistent, agree..
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#1454194 - 06/10/10 07:15 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: dolce sfogato]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Quote:
this is an extension of some other thread


I wonder which one that might be.... smile

I'm not a purist about this. I have no objections to the judicious use of pedal. The harpsichord has different resonance characteristics from a piano, and in places a little help from the pedal allows for better and more accurate playing than a crabbed finger legato. On the other hand, I don't particularly think much of heavily pedaled and blurred Bach. I just find the sound unappealing.
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#1454270 - 06/10/10 09:41 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Piano*Dad]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Posts: 4610
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Why not. If you want no pedal and no dynamics why would you play it on piano anyway? You'd be better off with harpsichord and clavichord.
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#1454281 - 06/10/10 10:09 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mark_C Offline
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I think different arguments and ideas are valid -- not only because we don't know what Bach would have thought, but because various different approaches work, if done well.
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#1454282 - 06/10/10 10:10 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
f.i.

?

("for instance"?)
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#1454284 - 06/10/10 10:11 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mark_C]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 5046
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I like my Bach to sound clean and unblurred so I try to refrain from using more than a little pedal. I do try to "finger pedal" as much as possible.
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#1454286 - 06/10/10 10:12 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Mark_C]
Brandon_W_T Offline
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Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
I agree on the harpsichord having a different resonance, and a different singing tendency, so the argument that a harpsichord resonates like a no pedal piano, isn't fully true.
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#1454293 - 06/10/10 10:15 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 5046
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I mentioned elsewhere that I recently had an opportunity to play Bach on an organ. My efforts to avoid the pedal, finger pedal and stick to the nuances in the score really paid off. Unlike on the piano, the sustained notes continued to play and sounded fantastic to my ears. Had I depended more on the pedal, I don't know if I would have been able to pull this off.
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Deborah

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#1454304 - 06/10/10 10:24 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Originally Posted By: Brandon_W_T
I agree on the harpsichord having a different resonance, and a different singing tendency, so the argument that a harpsichord resonates like a no pedal piano, isn't fully true.


I don't know if this is in reference to my post, but if it is then I think you have misunderstood what I said. I did not say that a harpsichord resonates like a no-pedal piano. In fact, I was claiming rather the opposite. A piano's sound tends to cut off quite sharply. The dampers usually work all too well! In a sense, judicious use of the pedal can help a pianist avoid awkward and crabbed finger legato while maintaining the musical line. I just don't see this as a sufficient argument for 'anything goes.'
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#1454334 - 06/10/10 10:59 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Piano*Dad]
Brandon_W_T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
I think you misunderstood mine too. I said a Piano does not react like a harpsichord. Maybe a sustain pedal on a harpsichord can help certain things. But a piano will never sound or react like a harpsichord. Different dampers, and ways of producing sound all together, so different effects will occur.
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1905 Story and Clark Art Case smile

--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ

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#1454484 - 06/11/10 07:38 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Brandon_W_T]
sandalholme Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 826
Loc: Dorset, UK
This may appear to be "too expert", but wait until the end of the post. I spent many decades playing Bach on the piano, I then spent two decades playing Bach on the harpsichord. I have performed in public on both instruments. The last decade or so have seen me return exclusively to the piano (couldn't afford 2 high quality instruments) so I now play Bach on the piano having extensively learned how to play him on the hapsichord.
So, I have a deep experience of both. The result is (with one exception), whatever works for your conception of Bach, that particular piece and your instrument. The exception? Part playing. You cannot "bring out" the subject of a fugue - in terms of dynamics - on a harpsichord, only by articulation and intention. So I don't attempt to on the piano. "Intention"? Well, I believe that if we focus on an area of the music - say the appearance of a theme in the bass - it will sound differently to when we just play all the music without that differentiation. Doesn't necessarily have to be "brought out" dynamically. Fugue subjects don't have to shout out their appearance.
Basically, know the tools - your instrument, your technique, your perception of the work, your ears - and produce what you want to in whatever way you can. We realise Bach on the piano, particularly the modern grand, he did not write for it. (Unlike Beethoven, who probably did have a vision of instruments far more powerful than the ones he wrote for.) So employ your resources and enjoy the results.

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#1454529 - 06/11/10 09:56 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4610
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)
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#1454547 - 06/11/10 10:20 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]
gooddog Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 5046
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: sandalholme
I believe that if we focus on an area of the music - say the appearance of a theme in the bass - it will sound differently to when we just play all the music without that differentiation. Doesn't necessarily have to be "brought out" dynamically. Fugue subjects don't have to shout out their appearance.
I'm interested to hear other people's viewpoints on this. I was taught to bring out the motif when it appears. This doesn't mean shouting it out. The goal is to have it sing above the others.

Angelina I'm not crazy about the sound of a harpsichord myself. To my ears, all that plucking overpowers the tones.
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#1454567 - 06/11/10 10:38 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: gooddog]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4610
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Skeletons at a party dancing in the dark...... that's what I associate it with haha
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#1454617 - 06/11/10 12:14 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18892
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Skeletons at a party dancing in the dark...... that's what I associate it with haha


... or as someone else said : "Skeletons (doing it - (this is a family forum, after all!)) on a tin roof."

Regards,
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#1454996 - 06/12/10 07:27 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8412
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.

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#1454997 - 06/12/10 07:34 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8412
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Why not. If you want no pedal and no dynamics why would you play it on piano anyway? You'd be better off with harpsichord and clavichord.


That may be true, but since I currently have neither unlimited funds for instrument purchases nor unlimited space in which to house them, I do these anachronistic things with my piano.

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#1455006 - 06/12/10 08:26 AM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: BruceD]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Skeletons at a party dancing in the dark...... that's what I associate it with haha


... or as someone else said : "Skeletons (doing it - (this is a family forum, after all!)) on a tin roof."

Regards,



The Beecham quote that I know is "The sound of a harsichord - two skeletons c*p*lating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm."

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#1455090 - 06/12/10 12:00 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: John_B]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
I thought it was George Bernard Shaw......
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#1455128 - 06/12/10 01:25 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: gooddog]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2450
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I mentioned elsewhere that I recently had an opportunity to play Bach on an organ. My efforts to avoid the pedal, finger pedal and stick to the nuances in the score really paid off. Unlike on the piano, the sustained notes continued to play and sounded fantastic to my ears. Had I depended more on the pedal, I don't know if I would have been able to pull this off.


In a good hall, the piano can do the same thing. It's just not apparent to the performer.

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#1455138 - 06/12/10 01:38 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: wr]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4610
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.


Yes but music back then wasn't really "performed" (especially not like today), it was more just played for common friends. In which case the clavichord would really work.

How would you explain why he wrote "to be played with a cantabile sound" on his inventions? (was it the inventions.. or WTCs? Forgot) We all know the harpsichord does not do anything like that.
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#1455158 - 06/12/10 02:13 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]
sandalholme Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 826
Loc: Dorset, UK
Bach wrote "most of all to achieve a cantabile manner of playing" in his 1723 edition of the Inventions and Sinfonias as part of his intentions in publishing the works. It is difficult to believe, knowing that Bach composed for harpsichord and clavichord, that he only meant this in reference to performance on a clavichord without making that specific.
It is perfectly possible to achieve cantabile with a harpsichord. I have done it for decades and if you listen to any half decent harpsichordist you will hear this.
Pianos and harpsichords make different sounds, as do oboes and clarinets etc.

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#1455167 - 06/12/10 02:24 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: sandalholme]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4610
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
How is it possible to achieve cantabile on a harpsichord? It's not.. You can't do dynamics on harpsichord, unless of course there's different keyboards of it.
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#1455173 - 06/12/10 02:33 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: wr]
Happy Birthday stores Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6649
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Didn't Bach prefer the Clavichord to the harpsichord anyway?

(god do I hate harpsichord haha)


He may have personally liked playing the clavichord the most, but that doesn't mean he was writing with it in mind when composing any specific work, does it? After all, most clavichords are so quiet that they just don't work in public performance. Bach didn't write any clavichord concertos, after all.


You're right, he wrote KEYBOARD concertos, thus meaning they're not relegated to the harpsichord.
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"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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#1455174 - 06/12/10 02:36 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]
Happy Birthday stores Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6649
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
How is it possible to achieve cantabile on a harpsichord? It's not.. You can't do dynamics on harpsichord, unless of course there's different keyboards of it.


Well, it's certainly not the "cantabile" that we think of in regard to the piano, but it is possible in the way you shape a phrase and the way you articulate and the way you attend to the rise and fall of the line. It's a great deal more work to play the harpsichord (and early pianofortes) well than most think.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1455199 - 06/12/10 03:18 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: stores]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4610
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
How do you shape on a harpsichord?
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#1455210 - 06/12/10 03:46 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: Pogorelich.]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich

Yes but music back then wasn't really "performed" (especially not like today), it was more just played for common friends. In which case the clavichord would really work.


Whilst I am sure there was a lot of domestic music making (for which the clavichord would be ideal) I don't think it right to say there were no 'performances' for larger audiences. After all, in Leipzig, there were concerts at Zimmerman's Coffee House and other venues.


Edited by John_B (06/12/10 03:47 PM)

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#1455226 - 06/12/10 04:27 PM Re: Pedal and Bach [Re: John_B]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5970
Loc: Orange County, CA
For Bach, pedaling depends on the piece. For some faster pieces, I don't pedal at all. For some others with chords, I pedal generously, with half pedal or flutter pedal when necessary. The D Major Fugue from WTC-II, for example, would call for lots of pedaling.
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