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#1551027 - 11/04/10 06:58 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
bellamusica Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/10
Posts: 372
There's a story about Wanda Landowska where she was in disagreement with another pianist on how to play Bach. Eventually she said "Fine, you play Bach your way and I'll play Bach his way." laugh

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#1551071 - 11/04/10 07:47 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: bellamusica]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6649
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: bellamusica
There's a story about Wanda Landowska where she was in disagreement with another pianist on how to play Bach. Eventually she said "Fine, you play Bach your way and I'll play Bach his way." laugh


Supposedly, Casals, it was with whom she had the conversation.
_________________________

"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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#1551081 - 11/04/10 07:56 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2715
just listened to young pianists playing in a competition, Bach was on the program, of course, and the different ways they played gave me a smile: with pedal, without pedal, with gradual dynamics, with terrace-dynamics, wthout any, fast and lightweight, heavy and ponderous, real piano sound, quasi harpsichord sound, and the funny thing is: Bach still was Bach, the music just can't be played to death, if only one has fingers, heart, and, yes, sometimes: brains.
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couch� de bonne heure, but not anymore!

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#1551083 - 11/04/10 07:59 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Forgive me klutz old chap,

But I was trying to be helpful to a battling newcomer to the Bach-game ... who had only reached the third measure of the Invention ... the note was merely to forewarn of the typical Bach compositional approach ... switching identical note outlines.

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#1551917 - 11/06/10 04:14 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
SamOnThePiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 239
Loc: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
The correct way to play Bach, is to play like Bach!

There is definitely no one way to play like bach.
_________________________
Never,ever lose against yourself and always try to be a better person than you ever were yesterday.

Founder of my own dreams, to become a concert pianist.

I am Samuel Cho(click!) and music is what I'm here for.

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#1552032 - 11/06/10 09:40 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2521
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: D4v3
my current teacher is sending me back to the two-part inventions (#2 C min) to be exact.

I thought it would be as simple as finding the "theme" and bringing it out more than the accompanyment(sp?) and as the theme shows up in the other hand bring it out more there.


Playing this music is not difficult. Grasping it in your mind is difficult. And you can only play so well as you understand it.

This week, my daughter had four 2-3 hour lessons dedicated, at my insistence, exclusively to the C-maj Invention. Not playing the piece so much as examining it, and even so they didn't go entirely through it in detail. My daughter was a bit overwhelmed, so we decided to stop after four sessions so that she can digest what she has learned. Every portion that they worked through she has been able without difficulty to play hands together, the evening when the teacher was not there.

I think that it is a mistake, viewing the Inventions as pedagogic material aimed at developing keyboard technique (independence of the hands, and so on). They are of course, but without a doubt they were written in the spirit of the apprenticeship of composition. Their most interesting content is conceptual.

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#1552155 - 11/06/10 12:56 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: landorrano]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6649
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: landorrano


Playing this music is not difficult. Grasping it in your mind is difficult. And you can only play so well as you understand it.


Isn't that a contradiction?
_________________________

"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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#1552237 - 11/06/10 02:53 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: stores]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2521
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: landorrano


Playing this music is not difficult. Grasping it in your mind is difficult. And you can only play so well as you understand it.


Isn't that a contradiction?


No.

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#1552291 - 11/06/10 04:10 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: landorrano]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6649
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: landorrano


Playing this music is not difficult. Grasping it in your mind is difficult. And you can only play so well as you understand it.


Isn't that a contradiction?


No.


Well, if playing it isn't difficult, but grasping is, and your playing depends on your understanding then you do the math.
_________________________

"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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#1552478 - 11/06/10 10:23 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: stores]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Sounds to me like a semantic difference on what "playing it is difficult" means.
And even maybe on what "playing it" means.

As is the case with many arguments, I think the two of you would realize there's no argument at all, except how you're viewing the words. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1552544 - 11/07/10 12:10 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4610
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
As long as you play it like, well, music. I'm so sick of these typical, robotic performances of Bach. Bach loved the voice so much, and loved cantabile,and the voice has expressive capabilities, no? So why should keyboard music be played without any dynamic range or musical shaping (even though it should be subtle!)?
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"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."

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#1552578 - 11/07/10 01:56 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
If I may presume to paraphrase landorrano: The physical act of playing this music is not difficult.

I think that added phrase removes the misunderstanding, and it was the way I originally read the post.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1552580 - 11/07/10 01:03 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: david_a]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: david_a
If I may presume to paraphrase landorrano: The physical act of playing this music is not difficult.

I think that added phrase removes the misunderstanding, and it was the way I originally read the post.

....and I can perhaps clarify the disagreement with this quote from Josef Hofmann:

"What makes you think we play with our hands?" smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1552584 - 11/07/10 01:18 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8412
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Peyton
It's been a long time since I took lessons but as I recall when I played Bach for my teacher she would insist I not use the pedal. Is that standard practice?

No.

It's a view. smile

Not an uncommon view, but not predominant.


And your source for the idea that it is not the predominant view is...?

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#1552587 - 11/07/10 01:24 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
I expect to see some back-pedalling on this standpoint.

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#1552590 - 11/07/10 01:27 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: wr]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: wr
And your source for the idea that it is not the predominant view is...?

I guess that means you disagree. ha

You're entitled.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1552597 - 11/07/10 01:53 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1325
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: survivordan
Another element to consider is what kind of dynamics to have (both dynamics range and form (terraced, or not)).

I think that terraced alone is too limiting, even though a harpischord is only capable of doing that.

We are trending towards stricter interpretations, after an older era of very romantic interpretations of everything (I remember my violin teacher showing me one CD of Bach that had heavy rubato and excessive vibrato all over the place). This teacher was definitely a purist, who insisted that there was only one way to play everything when it came to baroque. Maybe this trend is not such a good thing when performances of Bach become dull and predictable.

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#1552629 - 11/07/10 03:26 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Peyton]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8412
Originally Posted By: Peyton
It's been a long time since I took lessons but as I recall when I played Bach for my teacher she would insist I not use the pedal. Is that standard practice?



Whether it is standard or not (and I am guessing that with the better teachers, it is standard), it should be the basic starting point for playing Bach on piano. This is because of the simple and obvious reason that Bach didn't ever write anything with a sustain pedal in mind - it didn't exist. Because of that, it is a no-brainer that his non-organ keyboard music should be completely playable without it (unless you think he didn't know what he was doing).

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#1552649 - 11/07/10 04:01 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: wr]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: wr
....it is a no-brainer that his non-organ keyboard music should be completely playable without it (unless you think he didn't know what he was doing).

Peyton: That's an opinion. smile

And in any event it's not a no brainer, among other reasons because people could differ on what "playable" means.

Maybe you want to start a separate thread on your question? You're wondering if it's "standard practice." We have a nice cross section of pianists on this site. If you start a thread on it, you'll get a good idea of how prevalent whichever view is -- from what the members' views are, and from what they may say about their teachers' views plus what they've read. My strong guess is you'll find that some people (including some "better teachers" as well as some "worse teachers") smile hold the "no pedal" view but most by far don't.

BTW....a fair number of people might say "mostly no pedal," or "not too much pedal," but those don't count as "no pedal," which was what you asked about.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1552656 - 11/07/10 04:08 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Chopin insisted his students learned without applying pedal (it would be added later) probably because for him it was principally a loud pedal. In the case of Bach, using it in this sense is perfectly legit.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1552660 - 11/07/10 04:14 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Chopin insisted his students learned without applying pedal (it would be added later)....

Where have you seen this???

It seems odd because much of Chopin's music is essentially meaningless without pedal. Are you maybe talking just about certain repertoire?

Old joke: A student plays an audition for a new teacher. The piece is in B major, but he plays only white notes, leaving out the sharps. The teacher interrupts and asks what the hell he's doing. The student answers, "My old teacher told me to learn notes first and then put in the expression later." ha

Pedal is an inherent part of much piano music, as are the sharps and flats.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1552661 - 11/07/10 04:15 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Where have you seen this???
You had to have been there - unpublished Streicher family letters.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1552664 - 11/07/10 04:20 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2521
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Mark_C


"What makes you think we play with our hands?" smile


+ 100

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#1552665 - 11/07/10 04:22 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Where have you seen this???
You had to have been there - unpublished Streicher family letters.

yeah right ha

You have to do better than that if you want to get away with a statement like you made. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1552667 - 11/07/10 04:24 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: landorrano]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Mark_C


"What makes you think we play with our hands?" smile

+ 100

BTW: I never understood if Hofmann meant that we play rather with our heart, or our head.
But it works fine either way. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1552670 - 11/07/10 04:29 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
http://www.epta.si/eng/wp-content/datoteke/4-chopin-as-a-teacher-and-his-pupils1.pdf is the best I can do for you - check pg 2. You'll have to wait till she publishes them like the rest of Joe Piano Public!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1552671 - 11/07/10 04:30 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: wr]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2521
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Peyton
It's been a long time since I took lessons but as I recall when I played Bach for my teacher she would insist I not use the pedal. Is that standard practice?



Whether it is standard or not (and I am guessing that with the better teachers, it is standard), it should be the basic starting point for playing Bach on piano.


For teaching Bach, I agree. I lose all confidence in a teacher who introduces pedaling and crescendos and diminuendos and so on to a youngster. It distracts attention from where it should be, which is not playing.

But playing Bach is another story, to each his own in my view.

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#1552673 - 11/07/10 04:32 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
http://www.epta.si/eng/wp-content/datoteke/4-chopin-as-a-teacher-and-his-pupils1.pdf is the best I can do for you - check pg 2. You'll have to wait till she publishes them like the rest of Joe Piano Public!

How is that an answer about the pedaling thing?
(Where is there anything like what you said about pedal???)

Nice of you to give a reference, but if you're going to send us somewhere to check something out, it would help for it to have something on what we're talking about. smile

I gave you the benefit of the doubt, figuring that you wouldn't give an irrelevant reference, so I even checked all 3 pages.....
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1552674 - 11/07/10 04:36 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Oh, I see, you don't believe me? Fine, find another attendee!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1552677 - 11/07/10 04:40 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Oh, I see, you don't believe me? Fine, find another attendee!

I think you lose a lot of credibility when you do something like that. You sent us to a reference that has nothing to do with what we're talking about.

OK folks, it's official: Ignore this guy's post on what Chopin supposedly said about pedaling.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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