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#1505174 - 08/29/10 05:11 AM Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart
Batuhan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/09
Posts: 875
Loc: Istanbul
When i performing Chopin,Liszt,Schumann etc. pieces im very comfortable( After working hard on the pieces) But when i performing Bach or Mozart im always nervous and coward no matter how much time i spent on the pieces of mozart and bach also im always working with metronome even if chopin i wonder this is just me or how many people sharing the same problem with me ? And what is the solution ?

Sorry for my english i hope you understand me.
_________________________
Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.

Published:
Waltz Op. 36 No. 1 in G-flat major,
2 Preludes, Op. 12 in D-flat major.

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#1505183 - 08/29/10 05:33 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Batuhan]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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I use a totally different technique for Bach and Mozart than for Chopin. For Bach and Mozart curled fingers and tips all in a row, for Chopin a naturally curved hand.
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#1505199 - 08/29/10 07:45 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: keyboardklutz]
TheHappyMoron Offline
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Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
is this because the sound you want to portray of Bach and Mozart is of a clean and metronomic style?
this is a common idea of how to play them, but personally i play both bach and mozart with a rubato feel when needed, for afterall, they aren't robotic composers devoid of emotion. all music requires some form of spirit, as it is a reflection of our inner nature.
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All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

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#1505203 - 08/29/10 08:00 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: TheHappyMoron]
Batuhan Offline
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Registered: 09/21/09
Posts: 875
Loc: Istanbul
Originally Posted By: TheCannibalHaddock
is this because the sound you want to portray of Bach and Mozart is of a clean and metronomic style?
this is a common idea of how to play them, but personally i play both bach and mozart with a rubato feel when needed, for afterall, they aren't robotic composers devoid of emotion. all music requires some form of spirit, as it is a reflection of our inner nature.


Metronome is useful for not doing errors when performing. Also working with metronome doesnt mean you are a robotic im just tidy I know both are emotional composers like Chopin but music of them is much more systematic maybe this cause discomfort on me.
_________________________
Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.

Published:
Waltz Op. 36 No. 1 in G-flat major,
2 Preludes, Op. 12 in D-flat major.

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#1505204 - 08/29/10 08:05 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Batuhan]
TheHappyMoron Offline
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Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
don't get me wrong i use the metronome when i begin a piece, but i was stating that it seems that people play Bach and such with metonomic accuracy even when they have completed the piece. not that this is wrong of course, it's totally upto the interpreter. if thats how you wish to play them then practice will eliminate any discomfort you feel. smile
_________________________
All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

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#1505206 - 08/29/10 08:12 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Batuhan]
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Perhaps you should study the style suggestions for Bach and Mozart. As you might find there are guidelines and a lot of controversy as to how they should be done--just look at the different editions of Haydn, Mozart, and Bach. Some want legato, some semi-staccato, and others total staccato and the phrasing from one to another is different (often) and ornaments are not consistent.

There are some general guidelines tho and perhaps that would be something you should investigate. I don't know what books are available in Turkey and would imagine a good translation would work best for you or you could study and improve your English at the same time.

Others here will probably suggest readings on Mozart/Haydn and Bach performing practices.

www.royaltyfreemusic.com

Just type in MOZART sTyle and see what comes up.


Edited by Varcon (08/29/10 08:16 AM)
Edit Reason: Add link

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#1505209 - 08/29/10 08:20 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: keyboardklutz]
Gerard12 Offline
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Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 757
Loc: South Carolina
It could be that you're just more comfortable with the playing style when it comes to romantic composers. Don't worry about it, just accept it for now.

That doesn't mean that you should work less on Bach and Mozart. Your approach to playing them might be a 'work in progress' for a long time (or maybe just a short time).

Actually, everything we do is a work in progress, isn't it?

Sometimes nervousness means that we care deeply about the piece of music we are about to perform. And a lot of times we just don't feel we are up to the task. But we have to perform anyway because it's a jury, or recital, or something.......accept that also, along with your nervousness.

Because though there might be 'deficiencies' in your knowledge of the playing style needed for certain works, it's the vulnerability that comes from acceptance of your nervousness and shortcomings that will cause certain facets of the piece to be communicated to the listener.

And no, it won't be perfect.

In fact, it'll never be perfect.




Edited by Gerard12 (08/29/10 08:24 AM)
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#1505219 - 08/29/10 08:48 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Gerard12]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Ha, welcome to performing classical works.. I always feel like I'm naked. It's so much harder than romantic repertoire, but the more you do it, the better it will become.

You also need a teacher who really knows how to teach the classical stuff.
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'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1505229 - 08/29/10 09:22 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: keyboardklutz]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I use a totally different technique for Bach and Mozart than for Chopin. For Bach and Mozart curled fingers and tips all in a row, for Chopin a naturally curved hand.


That's your choice, and that's fine. But I know of no good evidence that using a technique designed for the particular action of a harpsichord or fortepiano necessarily gives better results than a more contemporary technique as it has evolved on the modern piano with its stiffer feel and double escapement action. Mimic a Baroque keyboardist at the harpsichord if you wish, but do not presume without good argument or evidence, that that approach makes for the best sounding fugue on a modern instrument.
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#1505240 - 08/29/10 09:38 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Piano*Dad]
Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/10
Posts: 159
Loc: Canada
my opinion on metronome is that you should use it if you absolutely need to straighten out some passages, but don't depend on it.

i feel that you should trust your own inner pulse to help keep you grounded. the more you use it rather than using the metronome, the greater your own instincts can develop!

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#1505249 - 08/29/10 09:57 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Richter]
Batuhan Offline
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Registered: 09/21/09
Posts: 875
Loc: Istanbul
Originally Posted By: Richter
my opinion on metronome is that you should use it if you absolutely need to straighten out some passages, but don't depend on it.

i feel that you should trust your own inner pulse to help keep you grounded. the more you use it rather than using the metronome, the greater your own instincts can develop!



Oh thanks for your advices Mr. Richter i cant believe richer is here wow
_________________________
Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.

Published:
Waltz Op. 36 No. 1 in G-flat major,
2 Preludes, Op. 12 in D-flat major.

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#1505378 - 08/29/10 01:20 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Batuhan]
pianoman6584 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 109
I don't think it's a matter of the meteronome that's troublesome, but rather the style of composition. Bach tends to choose about 4 to 5 patterns then repeats them at random in each hand. It's the inconsistency in hands that can make it intimidating at first. Most romantic music remains consistent in technique in any specific passage. It's just something you have to adapt to. I used to have Bachnophobia until I said to myself "If you can't play Bach, you can't play anything." While opinions will vary, I felt severely handicapped before being able to play it. I havn't studied Mozart much, but seeing as he's in the same era, the same rules probably apply to him.

SO the solution? We all know it. All you can really do is dive in and give it a go one measure at a time. While the complexity of the work as a whole may be staggering, any given group or passage will usually be quite simple, so break it down.

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#1505395 - 08/29/10 02:27 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: pianoman6584]
gsmonks Offline
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Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 607
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
The technique in Bach's time was very different. Players used fingers more, thumbs less. They "walked" with the fingers, which is not done in modern technique. Also, you're talking harpsichord music, not piano music. The pianoforte tranformed the sound, but it also served as a vehicle to transform keybaord technique.

Have you ever played a harpsichord? It takes a very different approach that demannds a light touch (otherwise you'll bust the mechanism and annoy the owner). I don't mean taking a modern electronic keyboard and turning on the harpsichord sound. I mean the actual intrument.

Any, as soon as you play a harpsichord, virginal or clavichord, the techique used to play Bach and Mozart becomes more readily apparent.

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#1505414 - 08/29/10 03:08 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: gsmonks]
areiser Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/10
Posts: 22
In regards to using different techniques at the piano and harpsichord or with Classical and Baroque music...

I have spent many years on my technique (had an arm problem and went the route of Taubman with great results, although I acknowledge that there are other good ideas out there about healthy technique as well). I play piano and harpsichord and use the same general concepts to play all my repertoire - afterall, isn't the point to be at the bottom of the keys without any pressing or effort? I do use early fingering in some of my repertoire but this doesn't change my technique.

I would just like to point out that whether you are playing Classical or Romantic repertoire, the mechanism of the instrument and the anatomy of the body does not change. If you have a healthy technique, you will have enough control at the piano to create a wide range of sounds that are appropriate for different periods.

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#1505416 - 08/29/10 03:16 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Pogorelich.]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Ha, welcome to performing classical works.. I always feel like I'm naked. It's so much harder than romantic repertoire.....

I agree -- and that means I disagree with the thrust of most of the other replies. There are some people for whom it's just a matter of recognizing the different styles and different kinds of approaches, but for the great majority of players (IMO), it's just plain HARDER to make Bach and Mozart sound excellent.

P.S. When people say that Mozart is "easy" (which they often do), I think it almost always means that they're just not that sensitive to all of what's involved.
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#1505433 - 08/29/10 03:49 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Pogorelich.]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4777
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Ha, welcome to performing classical works.. I always feel like I'm naked. It's so much harder than romantic repertoire, but the more you do it, the better it will become.
I think the physiology of our individual hands is a factor in shaping our comfort zone with different composers.

My small hands are utterly comfortable playing ARCT level Bach, intricate ornaments of Haydn and Mozart but I struggle with RCM level 10 Romantic music because the chords and stretches are too big for my hand. I can practice Bach uninterrupted for hours, but the Romantics make my hands hurt and I have to switch to other music after a while to rest my hands.

I love and want to learn all kinds of music but, contrary to many others, I am most comfortable with Bach, Mozart, Haydn and others quite simply because the music fits my hand size.
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#1505441 - 08/29/10 04:13 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Piano*Dad]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
But I know of no good evidence that using a technique designed for the particular action of a harpsichord or fortepiano necessarily gives better results than a more contemporary technique as it has evolved on the modern piano with its stiffer feel and double escapement action.
Mozart would die before he allowed anything more than the minimal movement.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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#1505443 - 08/29/10 04:18 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: gooddog]
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17835
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I admire anyone who can play Bach with passion, precision and control. I am spending the summer months working exclusively on about a dozen of the Two- and Three-Part Inventions and Sinfonias. It is such a humbling experience!

Regards,
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#1505444 - 08/29/10 04:19 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: BruceD]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4777
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Bruce, I'm sorry you didn't hear my Bach at its best. I've just started Partita #2. It's so beautiful and it gives my hands a rest from the Ballade and Aufschwung!
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Best regards,

Deborah

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#1505445 - 08/29/10 04:19 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: areiser]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: areiser

I would just like to point out that whether you are playing Classical or Romantic repertoire, the mechanism of the instrument and the anatomy of the body does not change. If you have a healthy technique, you will have enough control at the piano to create a wide range of sounds that are appropriate for different periods.
I would at this juncture like to point out that neither Bach nor Mozart had a healthy technique. Unless you're fully grounded in your Taubman don't attempt the curling.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1505447 - 08/29/10 04:24 PM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: areiser]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4777
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: areiser
I would just like to point out that whether you are playing Classical or Romantic repertoire, the mechanism of the instrument and the anatomy of the body does not change. If you have a healthy technique, you will have enough control at the piano to create a wide range of sounds that are appropriate for different periods.
Your general statement doesn't take into account hand size. I've got decent technique but no matter how much better I get, my hands won't get any bigger.
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Best regards,

Deborah

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#1505776 - 08/30/10 04:15 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: gooddog]
gsmonks Offline
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Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 607
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Quote:
Your general statement doesn't take into account hand size. I've got decent technique but no matter how much better I get, my hands won't get any bigger.


Ever seen a suit of armour? They're tiny. Even WWI German and Austrian helmets were tiny, like they were made for kids.

Back in the 1600's, people were tiny wee things with tiny hands and wee little fingers.

So trying to play Bach for us moderns is often like trying to squeeze your foot into a child's shoe- something only a tiny, wee person is really suited to do.

Big people should stick with Schumann and Rachmaninoff, whose hands had evolved, somewhat.

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#1505805 - 08/30/10 06:53 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: gsmonks]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Yes, people were smaller. We have very detailed evidence for this from places like British military records from the 1600s onward. But it's a leap to argue

1. that 'they' had tiny, wee little fingers, and

2. that the keyboardists of the day had an average hand size,

ergo

3. modern players should avoid playing Baroque work and stick to more modern stuff.

I am far more convinced that the difficulties we have with Baroque work are driven by differences in the instruments played than with morphological changes in the human body. Successful fortepianists and harpsichord players today are not necessarily wee, tiny little things with wee little fingers.

Scottish, are wee? smile
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#1505806 - 08/30/10 07:13 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Piano*Dad]
Piano*Dad Offline
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About Bach's hand span: this is pulled off the web from another forum. I cannot vouch for its accuracy. Perhaps Kreisler can offer more definitive evidence. But this offers some reasons for not thinking too hard about tiny Baroque hand spans. His hands seemed perfectly normally sized by modern standards (reaching a decent tenth on a modern keyboard).

Quote:
< In my reading, I have never come across claim or any reliable evidence of this. > [this was an earlier question about Bach's supposedly large hands, to which this poster offers a response]

Guess you'll need to go read more. smile The gushing tribute about this, by CFD Schubart in 1784-5, is on page 369 of the New Bach Reader or #903 in Bach-Dokumente III. It says Bach could reach a twelfth with the left hand and play other stuff with the middle fingers in this,
simultaneously.

However, that remark, being only about the left hand, has me a bit suspicious (and I jotted a marginal note to myself in my copy of NBR, some years ago). On instruments with short-octave basses, that's only the span of a tenth since the lowest notes are playing a third lower than they look. It's still a decent-sized span. Was Schubart referring to fully-chromatic instruments all the way down, or possibly to somebody's recollection of a performance on a short-octave? There's a bunch of 17th century stuff, and on into Reincken, that can't be played as written unless there's a short-octave bass.

Bach didn't write anything [to my hands' knowledge from playing all of it] in his keyboard music requiring more than a tenth, other than the trick from the D minor English Suite that I've already mentioned, plus the one spot in Contrapunctus 13 where one somehow has to play low G, middle C#, and high Bb. And that one works decently enough arpeggiated. (Like the way violinists have to arpeggiate passages that look on the page like three- or four-string chords.)

< Remember also that the octave span on normal keyboards available in Bach's time was a little less than that normally found on a modern grand piano. >
Define "normal" -- but in general I agree with the rest of that statement, other than "normal" not existing. Sometimes the spans were smaller (some French and some German), sometimes they were about the same as a modern grand, and sometimes they were larger (some Flemish and Italian). 18th century French harpsichords averaged about 159mm to the octave, while modern piano is 164 or 165. Some of the Couchets were 167 or bigger.

Bach allegedly liked the layout of a Mietke harpsichord that was slightly narrower than the typical French size...which would make it somewhere in the high 150s. That's a bit of a circumstantial argument (albeit a weak one) for not having abnormally large hands.

Narrower spans on the keyboard don't necessarily make it easier to play, anyway. They create different problems, in needing to keep the motions small and having less margin of error. My harpsichords here have 164, and reed organ at 162...but my clavichord has only 157. That much of a difference makes it harder to play, and not only from habit. The 7-mm reduction per octave still doesn't let me reach any comfortable eleventh, or make any of the tenths much better either, but it does make the tightly confined hand positions more treacherous than on 164.
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#1505809 - 08/30/10 07:22 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Piano*Dad]
Mattardo Offline
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Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 1306
Perhaps the OP is just nervous, knowing that one little mistake with Bach or Mozart can be very revealing, as opposed to later music where the occasional mistake can crop in and it doesn't necesarrily stand out so much?

A missed note with Mozart can bring the entire piece crumbling down - I find that this can really intimidate some pianists.

My quick advice would be to try to relax. Tension can cause more mistakes in Mozart and Bach than any other technical shortcoming, I believe. Depending on the way in which they are played, we do not have the normal crutches that give us a little bit of mental support while playing. It can appear as if we are approaching a stark, clean, barren musical exercise in which we must try to inject some musical feeling. I don't feel this way anymore, but I did at one time.

Now I play Mozart and Bach for the modern piano and am not so apprehensive about them, and I feel much better about the tension. Have some fun while doing it. Allow yourself to take some liberties with the two composers - throw in some extra ornaments, use some pedal, vary the rhythm in places - you might just find that this extra bit of freedom gives you the courage and skill to deal with the piece on it's fundamental un-onramented level when the time comes to 'play by the so-called book'.

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#1505820 - 08/30/10 07:47 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Mattardo]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it might make the OP more comfortable to practice without pedal...for a while. the music will sound lush and melodic when the pedal returns.

I enjoy bach immensely. it is so rewarding to learn because it is difficult. to get in the groove, the first four preludes of WTC I are great teaching pieces. I also rely on 'listening' as i learn. I put the pieces on my ipod and become intimately familiar with the twists and turns of melody... even going so far as to play along with the recording. Have a listen to the immense organ works that Bach wrote and you can glimpse the breadth of his vision.

best of luck.


Edited by apple* (08/30/10 08:03 AM)
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#1505841 - 08/30/10 09:12 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Piano*Dad]
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11423
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I use a totally different technique for Bach and Mozart than for Chopin. For Bach and Mozart curled fingers and tips all in a row, for Chopin a naturally curved hand.


That's your choice, and that's fine. But I know of no good evidence that using a technique designed for the particular action of a harpsichord or fortepiano necessarily gives better results than a more contemporary technique as it has evolved on the modern piano with its stiffer feel and double escapement action. Mimic a Baroque keyboardist at the harpsichord if you wish, but do not presume without good argument or evidence, that that approach makes for the best sounding fugue on a modern instrument.


PianoDad, I don't think kbk's approach is wrong. The reason he plays this way is not because of the period instrument,s but because of the content of the music.

Generally, Classical and Baroque consists of scales and close intervals, whereas much of Romantic and later music has larger leaps and arpeggios. When playing scales, the hand is more condensed and it works better if you go with this by having a more curved and uniform hand. Romantic, however, because of the larger intervals requires a flatter hand approach.
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#1505843 - 08/30/10 09:18 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: apple*]
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11423
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: apple*
it might make the OP more comfortable to practice without pedal...for a while. the music will sound lush and melodic when the pedal returns.

I enjoy bach immensely. it is so rewarding to learn because it is difficult. to get in the groove, the first four preludes of WTC I are great teaching pieces. I also rely on 'listening' as i learn. I put the pieces on my ipod and become intimately familiar with the twists and turns of melody... even going so far as to play along with the recording. Have a listen to the immense organ works that Bach wrote and you can glimpse the breadth of his vision.

best of luck.


I agree, apple. I think that Bach and Mozart (but especially Bach) are great for keeping one's "chops" up. If one plays too much Romantic stuff, their accuracy tends to diminish. At times when I've been away from the piano for a few weeks on trips, when I return the best thing for me to do is pull out some Bach to get myself back into shape.
_________________________
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#1505877 - 08/30/10 10:32 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Morodiene]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
Generally, Classical and Baroque consists of scales and close intervals, whereas much of Romantic and later music has larger leaps and arpeggios.


I'm smiling as I hear in my mind the prelude in D minor from WTC 1 with its wicked fast right hand broken chord pattern and its jumping around left hand. smile

Yes I agree that the hand naturally falls differently when playing scalar runs in Mozart in comparison to the rapidly moving chords in a Rachmaninoff prelude. If that's all KBK meant, fine. But this is quite a bit different than learning an entirely different style of playing in order to approach Bach or Mozart. And it's certainly not the crabbed curled-finger style often advocated by one of our more idiosyncratic posters here (who I won't name, but whose screen name starts with a g grin ).
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1505916 - 08/30/10 11:34 AM Re: Im Not Comfortable When Playing Bach And Mozart [Re: Piano*Dad]
jdhampton924 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 1009
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
I am nervous because with Bach and Mozart, there is just less notes to hide behind and feels like twice the content.

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