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#1550000 - 11/03/10 11:07 AM What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly?
D4v3 Offline
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Given that most pianists and composer were improvisers during that time and looking at the Urtext editions there are no dynamics or tempo markings.

I believe there are some general rules to playing baroque music and was told that to think of polyphonic music as an interchangeable melody and accompany or call and answer is not the right way to think of it.

Someone also told me to think of this kind of music as the perfect form of communism, each note is respected individually and there is not any one note or sets of notes that get more attention than the others.

Your thoughts?
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#1550050 - 11/03/10 12:19 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
Palindrome Offline
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Listen to a lot of his choral music.
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#1550085 - 11/03/10 01:20 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
Steve Chandler Offline
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When I studied organ I was taught that each voice needed a specific articulation. On the organ (and harpsichord) you can accent individual notes. The way to make the individual melodies in a contrapuntal texture stand out was to play them differently. For example when Bach has sixteenth note movement with eighth note accompaniment the eighth notes may often be played detached or even staccato. In a four or five voice texture this becomes more difficult but usually some way of articulating the various voices is possible.

Another of example might the c major fugue from Book 1 (WTC). I'll play the ascending part legato but detach the eighth notes after the 32nd note figure. There's no right or wrong in doing this, it's simply what works for you. However, in a fugue it's very important to be consistent in articulation, especially as regards the theme. One last example would be the Eb major fugue from Book 1. The theme has a trill in it. I've found that if I use a short trill I can put it into every entry of the theme.

The good news is that with Bach you get to be creative in developing your interpretation. That can also be bad news.

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#1550117 - 11/03/10 02:15 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
BruceD Offline
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One "mistake" that students often make in playing Bach contrapuntal works on the piano is bringing out the subject louder than the other voices every time it occurs. This often destroys the flow of the other voices, whether they are (also) playing the subject, or the counter-subject or episodes. Volume is only one way of bringing out the subject; as Steve points out, there are others, among them articulation.

Regards,
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#1550150 - 11/03/10 03:10 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
david_a Offline
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Yes, listen to the choral music, AND to all the other non-keyboard Bach you can get your hands on. Listen to keyboard music too, but definitely don't stick to that.

Descriptions about "think of polyphony this way" are always lame and inadequate, only rough guides to the situation.
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#1550155 - 11/03/10 03:20 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Cantabile!
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#1550157 - 11/03/10 03:23 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Cantabile!


Well, yes; depending on context.
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#1550187 - 11/03/10 04:09 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
survivordan Offline
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Another element to consider is what kind of dynamics to have (both dynamics range and form (terraced, or not)).
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#1550188 - 11/03/10 04:12 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: BruceD]
Hideki Matsui Offline
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I think I may be guilty of some of this. I have been working on English Suite #2. 1st movement. I think I watched too much of Ivo Pogorelich's performance on YouTube and have been trying to emulate the percussive attack he uses. It just doesn't sound right without, among many other things, the tempo, which is at least 18 bmp away for me.

Originally Posted By: BruceD
One "mistake" that students often make in playing Bach contrapuntal works on the piano is bringing out the subject louder than the other voices every time it occurs. This often destroys the flow of the other voices, whether they are (also) playing the subject, or the counter-subject or episodes. Volume is only one way of bringing out the subject; as Steve points out, there are others, among them articulation.

Regards,


Edited by Hideki Matsui (11/03/10 04:18 PM)
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#1550230 - 11/03/10 05:06 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
david_a Offline
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To answer the exact question in the title of the thread:

Yes. smile
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#1550259 - 11/03/10 05:41 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: david_a]
beet31425 Online   content
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Originally Posted By: david_a
To answer the exact question in the title of the thread:

Yes. smile

Thanks, David. I was trying to determine the implications of the thread title (e.g. are there other, non-musical aspects to playing Bach correctly, which the OP doesn't want to consider for the purposes of this thread?), but I like your parsing much better. smile

-J
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#1550273 - 11/03/10 05:59 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
stores Offline
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What is the correct way to play Bach? That's one hell of a question considering the reply space given.
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#1550293 - 11/03/10 06:09 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
btb Online   content
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Hi D4v3,

As you will notice ... unless you accurately present the Bach keyboard work which is presently testing you ... most of the membership start vaguely shooting from the hip.

Let’s hope you mention something from the Well Tempered Clavichord I or II.

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#1550296 - 11/03/10 06:11 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: btb]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: btb
As you will notice ... unless you accurately present the Bach keyboard work which is presently testing you .....

That's not the issue at all.
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#1550328 - 11/03/10 06:41 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
btb Online   content
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Sorry to have to disagree with your comment Mark C ... but without a definite target, you chaps are going to continue to shoot from the hip.

The OP is in dire need of help in picking up on the voices contained in a Bach keyboard work if he (or she) comes up with the outlandish revelation

“Someone also told me to think of this kind of music as the perfect form of communism, each note is respected individually and there is not any one note or sets of notes that get more attention than the others.” (how boring!!)

So far, the other chaps have added

1. Listen to choral music
2. On the organ play each note differently
3. Avoid playing individual notes louder
4. Listen to Bach’s music
5. Play cantabile
6. Consider dynamics
7. “One hell of a question”

Let’s be specific ... Bach’s output is so vast ... we do him a disservice by being vague.

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#1550335 - 11/03/10 06:46 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: btb]
Mark_C Online   content
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What I meant was that there are other, greater issues about the original post.
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#1550337 - 11/03/10 06:47 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: btb]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: btb
Sorry to have to disagree with your comment Mark C ... but without a definite target, you chaps are going to continue to shoot from the hip.

The OP is in dire need of help in picking up on the voices contained in a Bach keyboard work if he (or she) comes up with the outlandish revelation

“Someone also told me to think of this kind of music as the perfect form of communism, each note is respected individually and there is not any one note or sets of notes that get more attention than the others.” (how boring!!)

So far, the other chaps have added

1. Listen to choral music
2. On the organ play each note differently
3. Avoid playing individual notes louder
4. Listen to Beach’s music
5. Play cantabile
6. Consider dynamics
7. “One hell of a question”

Let’s be specific ... Bach’s output is so vast ... we do him a disservice by being vague.


My comment was not a shot from the hip. The OP asks for an entirely impossible reply, thus it's one hell of a question.
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#1550341 - 11/03/10 06:49 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: stores]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: stores
My comment was not a shot from the hip. The OP asks for an entirely impossible reply, thus it's one hell of a question.

That's pretty close to what I meant too.

I didn't exactly think it asked for an impossible reply, but that it was confused and unclearly stated.

And in fact, I don't think BTB exactly meant "shoot from the hip" either. smile
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#1550352 - 11/03/10 07:04 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: stores
My comment was not a shot from the hip. The OP asks for an entirely impossible reply, thus it's one hell of a question.

That's pretty close to what I meant too.

I didn't exactly think it asked for an impossible reply, but that it was confused and unclearly stated.

And in fact, I don't think BTB exactly meant "shoot from the hip" either. smile


But how is it NOT an impossible reply? Who here can pinpoint such a thing in a clearly defined way without authoring a short novel and even then words only fall short when the subject is art.
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#1550355 - 11/03/10 07:07 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: stores]
Mark_C Online   content
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You seem to think you know what he was asking.
Which is a pretty good trick, considering that I don't think he did. smile
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#1550372 - 11/03/10 07:32 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
John_B Offline
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Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Just a comment on the suggestions to listen to Bach's choral music.

That encompasses an enormous range - the St John and St Matthew Passion, the B min Mass, the motets and the cantatas. The cantatas aren't known as well as the two passions and the B min Mass but many are absolutely wonderful. Some of aria's in them are heart stoppingly beautiful. (Many pianists with know the chorale (i.e. hymn) setting 'Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring' which is lifted from his Cantata No 147 "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben")

However, these works, together with, say, the violin concertos, etc reveal a different side to Bach to that of the keyboard works. Often much more lyrical - often sublimely beautiful.

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#1550373 - 11/03/10 07:35 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
btb Online   content
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Couldn't agree with you more stores,

That's why the suggestion is made for the OP to be more specific about the Bach work.

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#1550445 - 11/03/10 09:16 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
Orange Soda King Offline
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Registered: 11/25/09
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Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
D4v3: If nothing else, listen to lots and lots of Bach's music... The piece you're working on, other pieces from that set, other keyboard works in general (partitas, English suites, French suites, Well Tempered Clavier), and then choral works/concerti/anything else.

The more Bach you listen to, the better! laugh

You will become more familiar with the style, and that will guide you closer to the direction you're looking for.

If you present us a specific example, some members here might be able to give you even better pointers.

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#1550555 - 11/04/10 01:25 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
btb Online   content
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Some would take a good deal more brandy with their soda ... a menu of unadulterated Bach-listening sounds like perdition.

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#1550557 - 11/04/10 01:28 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
btb Online   content
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Some would take a good deal more brandy with their soda ... a menu of unadulterated Bach-listening sounds like perdition.

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#1550659 - 11/04/10 07:25 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
Peyton Offline
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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?
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#1550700 - 11/04/10 09:50 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
D4v3 Offline
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wow, thanks for all the replies! Also, I did not intend for the question to be confusing, so my apologies there.

This is situation where my former teachers have allowed me to delv into advanced pieces with minimal exposure to Bach and polyphonic music; so, 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. In other words, all non theme parts arent as loud.

My teacher said that this was wrong and where I am confused is that I am getting the impression that Bach music is supposed to be played at the same volume for each "voice" but that you differentiate them via accents?

My teacher really wants me to stick to the Urtext editions on this era which have no dynamics or tempos so Im not sure how to shape the bach piece right now outside of my limited idea of louder theme vs softer non theme.

Also, apparently there is a "cross" mentality to Bach vertically understanding the chord structures of the piece and horizontally understanding the theme.

So I am to learn hands seperately memorized because the horizontal part of Bach music is apparently the hardest for students. After all of this I guess we will be transposing the piece inito different keys.

If that made any sense to you then you win +1 internets.


Edited by D4v3 (11/04/10 09:53 AM)
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#1550742 - 11/04/10 11:41 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
btb Online   content
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Here’s the first page of JS Bach’s Invention no. 2 ... Allegro moderato in C minor ... it is worth noting that Bach makes an exact repeat of certain RH outlines to the following measures in the LH ...

RH m1-2 is identically repeated in LH at m3-4, and similarly
RH m7-8 is identically repeated in LH at m9-10

Learning about “mordents” (upper and lower) is a necessary part of a musical education ... and Bach throws in a fair dose of these twiddly bits in his Inventions ... but glad I’ve graduated out of the Baroque Era.

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#1550809 - 11/04/10 01:17 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Peyton]
Mark_C Online   content
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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.
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#1550878 - 11/04/10 02:49 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: btb]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: btb
Here’s the first page of JS Bach’s Invention no. 2 ... Allegro moderato in C minor ... it is worth noting that Bach makes an exact repeat of certain RH outlines to the following measures in the LH ...

RH m1-2 is identically repeated in LH at m3-4, and similarly
RH m7-8 is identically repeated in LH at m9-10
Err.., it's called counterpoint?
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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
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Registered: 10/07/10
Posts: 369
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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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.
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"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
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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.
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#1551083 - 11/04/10 07:59 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
btb Online   content
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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
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The correct way to play Bach, is to play like Bach!

There is definitely no one way to play like bach.
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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
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Registered: 02/26/06
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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
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Registered: 12/28/09
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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
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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
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Registered: 12/28/09
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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.
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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 Online   content
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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
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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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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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#1552578 - 11/07/10 01:56 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
david_a Offline
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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.
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#1552580 - 11/07/10 01:03 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: david_a]
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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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#1552584 - 11/07/10 01:18 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
wr Offline
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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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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]
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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.
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#1552597 - 11/07/10 01:53 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
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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
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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]
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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.
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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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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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#1552660 - 11/07/10 04:14 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
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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.
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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
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Where have you seen this???
You had to have been there - unpublished Streicher family letters.
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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
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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]
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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
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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 Online   content
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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
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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
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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!
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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
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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]
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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.....
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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
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Oh, I see, you don't believe me? Fine, find another attendee!
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#1552677 - 11/07/10 04:40 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
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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.
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#1552679 - 11/07/10 04:45 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C

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.
Either you don't know who Friederike Streicher-Müller was or...hmm, donno. As for the OK folks - delusions of grandeur?
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#1552680 - 11/07/10 04:49 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
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If you're serious, please tell us where that reference has anything related to what we're talking about, or what you said, or in fact, anything relevant at all, whatsoever. ha

Otherwise, we have to assume you're skrewing with us, as you have sometimes been known to do....
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#1552682 - 11/07/10 04:52 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
skrewing with us
skrewing?? You really don't know who Friederike Streicher-Müller is do you? May I suggest an opportune Google?
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#1552684 - 11/07/10 04:56 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C


OK folks, it's official: Ignore this guy's post on what Chopin supposedly said about pedaling.


I too have been told something of this sort about Chopin. Cannot give a written reference, it was in conversation.

As far as I know Chopin didn't publish a method book with a teachers copy. As with everything at the high levels of artistic traditions, the most important ideas are passed personally from master to pupil.

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#1552691 - 11/07/10 05:25 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: landorrano]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
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.


Right. As I said, I think that using no pedal should be the starting point, for the reason I stated - but I didn't mean to imply it was also the end point (although it very well could be, too). I have heard plenty of good performances of Bach on piano where the pianist used pedal.

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#1552693 - 11/07/10 05:26 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
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@Mark C Not being able to verify someone's facts, is not the same as that person lying. I don't think we have to ignore what Keyboardklutz said at all.
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#1552696 - 11/07/10 05:33 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Victor25]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: Victor25
@Mark C Not being able to verify someone's facts, is not the same as that person lying. I don't think we have to ignore what Keyboardklutz said at all.


You kind of DO have to when the link isn't at all supportive of the issue at hand. I know who the person to whom klutz is referring is, but that really means nothing in regard to the topic at hand.
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#1552698 - 11/07/10 05:38 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Those in the know in the Chopin world are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for publication of these letters. Shame that to some(one?) that just translates as 'skrewing with us'.
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#1552700 - 11/07/10 05:40 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: stores]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores
You kind of DO have to when the link isn't at all supportive of the issue at hand. I know who the person to whom klutz is referring is, but that really means nothing in regard to the topic at hand.
If you don't want to know what's in sought after unpublished letters re: Chopin by one of his top pupils that's your business - others may have an interest.
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#1552721 - 11/07/10 07:01 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
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Enquiring minds want to know!

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#1552729 - 11/07/10 07:48 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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On his punctuality, contrary to other sources, she said it was poor - sometimes not turning up at all. At other times he sat in an adjacent room working while she played. He didn't allow much, if any, limb movement and on pedaling, as I've said, disallowed it till the fingers knew what they were doing. That's all I remember for now - hopefully some of them'll be published soon.
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#1552760 - 11/07/10 09:02 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
David-G Offline
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Klutz, methinks you do enjoy winding people up... This does sound very fascinating. Do I take it that you were at the EPTA conference?

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#1552765 - 11/07/10 09:04 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: theJourney]
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Originally Posted By: theJourney
I expect to see some back-pedalling on this standpoint.


You mean bach-pedaling? wink

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#1552783 - 11/07/10 09:43 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: stores
You kind of DO have to when the link isn't at all supportive of the issue at hand. I know who the person to whom klutz is referring is, but that really means nothing in regard to the topic at hand.
If you don't want to know what's in sought after unpublished letters re: Chopin by one of his top pupils that's your business - others may have an interest.


Of course I'm interested in the letters, but that's not the point here. Someone asked you for evidence backing up your statement, but you've not given any...unless, of course, you've read aforementioned letters and found something we're unaware of.
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#1552825 - 11/07/10 10:30 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: stores]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: David-G
Klutz, methinks you do enjoy winding people up... This does sound very fascinating. Do I take it that you were at the EPTA conference?
Yes, and as such
Originally Posted By: stores
...unless, of course, you've read aforementioned letters and found something we're unaware of.
you could say I've read extracts from the letters (from a projector screen along with everybody else there).
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#1552958 - 11/07/10 02:15 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: landorrano]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
....As far as I know Chopin didn't publish a method book with a teachers copy. As with everything at the high levels of artistic traditions, the most important ideas are passed personally from master to pupil.

Right -- but usually things like that were put in writing somewhere by somebody. There's a book (by a guy named Eigeldinger) that focuses on what his students said about his teaching, and many other sources that talk quite a bit about it, and those serve as the main references about this. Our fellow here gave a reference that supposedly had stuff about what he said -- but it doesn't.

If it's nowhere except what some of us 'heard somewhere,' it's probably not true, especially since it makes very little sense as a blanket rule. (Really I would say "none," but I'm trying to be kind.) smile

Originally Posted By: Victor25
Not being able to verify someone's facts, is not the same as that person lying. I don't think we have to ignore what Keyboardklutz said at all.

He backed it up with something that supposedly bore out what he said, but actually doesn't say anything about it. BTW I didn't say he was lying, I just think he was wrong and he's reluctant to say that he might be.
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#1552977 - 11/07/10 02:39 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
Andromaque Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C

He backed it up with something that supposedly bore out what he said, but actually doesn't say anything about it. BTW I didn't say he was lying, I just think he was wrong and he's reluctant to say that he might be.



Clearly the reference was to the speaker at the conference who is a descendant of the Streicher family. Friedericke Mueller-Streicher was a student of Chopin and is cited as such by many references, including Eigeldinger. Apparently a large number of her letters describing lessons with Chopin have been found, and, presumably, said speaker shared some excerpts with the audience. Excerpts of which were shared here by Kbk and in his trademark style.
So it is a bit disingenuous to claim that the weblink has absolutely no relationship to what he said. On the other hand, there are no quotes from said letters there (or anywhere else). I suppose we will have to wait and see what gets published.. I would not necessarily extrapolate and radically pronounce him "wrong" AND reluctant to admit it!!!

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#1552980 - 11/07/10 02:46 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Andromaque]
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Originally Posted By: Andromaque
....it is a bit disingenuous to claim that the weblink has absolutely no relationship to what he said. On the other hand.....

Sorry, but that part is plainly wrong, and obviously I disagree with much of the rest too. I assumed he did mean that the link had something about what we were talking about, esp. since he said 'see page 2.' "Disingenuous" means I realized there wouldn't necessarily be anything about it there and I'm just being rhetorical or something like that; in fact I genuinely feel what I said -- and I think you must have missed something or else you wouldn't doubt it: I assumed it so much that, as I mentioned, I even looked carefully through the other pages to see if maybe the page numbers were showing up differently for me than for him, or maybe he made a mistake about which page it was.

When someone wonders about backup for a specific point, and the other person gives a link and points you to a certain page......well, I'm very surprised you think what you said.
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#1552986 - 11/07/10 02:56 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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There's no talking sense to some people. Here's my original reply:
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Where have you seen this???
You had to have been there - unpublished Streicher family letters.
UNPUBLISHED! In fact Mrs Steicher's talk was the first time they'd been presented to the public. Quite exciting in my book!
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#1552987 - 11/07/10 02:59 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
david_a Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
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
That can be seen either as an argument that the hands are not of paramount importance, or an argument that piano music should be performed without any use of the hands. If the former, then it is exactly the point that landorrano already made in the first place, and no explanation of anything is necessary since nobody disagreed even if they claimed to. If the latter... well, Hofmann's nose must have been pretty sore most of the time. smile
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#1552990 - 11/07/10 03:01 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
There's no talking sense to some people. Here's my original reply:
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Where have you seen this???
You had to have been there - unpublished Streicher family letters.
UNPUBLISHED! In fact Mrs Steicher's talk was the first time they'd been presented to the public. Quite exciting in my book!

I don't think so, because it just about can't be true. smile

At least not as anything like a blanket principle.
Until it's someplace where we can look at it and see if it adds to what we already know and can imagine, the idea that "Chopin insisted his students learned without applying pedal (it would be added later)...." remains implausible.

I can imagine that sometimes, for some students, for some pieces....he might have said that. (Most teachers do.) But as any kind of uniform or common principle, be very skeptical about it -- and, IMO, don't be presenting it as a truth.
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#1552998 - 11/07/10 03:11 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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If you don't want to give credence to Streicher's observations (Mikuli did) then you're the poorer for it. Here's her descendant:

But please do assume I'm 'skrewing' with you if you like, I care?
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#1553003 - 11/07/10 03:16 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mark_C Online   content
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All I said is we need to see it before we decide that it adds to what we know or can imagine.
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#1553004 - 11/07/10 03:17 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
theJourney Offline
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Perhaps there will be a Joyce Hatto CD bundled with the book when it comes out?

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#1553010 - 11/07/10 03:23 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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I'm sure there'll be plenty of posters who are happy to accept that I read the passage with my own eyes. They may even be pleased I've shared something with them which may never otherwise have seen the light of day, but then perhaps you have your own evidence on Chopin's teaching in regard to pedaling you could share with us?
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#1553011 - 11/07/10 03:28 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I'm sure there'll be plenty of posters who are happy to accept that I read the passage with my own eyes.....

You keep arguing against things that nobody said or thought.

Even I accept that you read it, but I would never assume that what someone made of something like this is what I or anyone else should make of it, especially since it seems to go against our basic sense of Chopin and his music (as it does). We need to see it, and judge what we might make of it. And yes indeed, I tend to think that what I would make of it is very different than what you did, and that I might feel you simply misunderstood it.
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#1553015 - 11/07/10 03:35 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Who is this 'we'? Is that your 'folks' again? Or the Royal We?
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#1553030 - 11/07/10 03:48 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Anyway, enough of all this - back to the OP. To recap: Considering that Chopin was a real Bachophile I think his view of how the pedal is used is relevant. If you study his early manuscripts and first editions you'll see he principally saw it as a loud pedal. In that sense I would have thought he'd use it in appropriate passages in Bach. Maybe the nay-sayers would like to support their own views on the topic with some evidence?
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#1553061 - 11/07/10 04:31 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: Mark_C]
landorrano Offline
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We want to know if Keyboardklutz is snobbyish or snobish ... and with a link to back it up.

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
... especially since it seems to go against our basic sense of Chopin and his music (as it does). We need to see it, and judge what we might make of it.


Speaking for us, what Klutz has said fits very well with our basic sense of Chopin.

To me it is clear that Klutz has been around some people who represent one of the lines of descent from Chopin.

EDIT:

To us it is clear that Klutz has been around some people who represent one of the lines of descent from Chopin.


Edited by landorrano (11/07/10 04:48 PM)

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#1553086 - 11/07/10 04:57 PM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: landorrano]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
..EDIT:

To us it is clear that Klutz has been around some people who represent one of the lines of descent from Chopin.

How does that affect what I said in my last post? (which is what you were replying to)
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#1554688 - 11/10/10 02:11 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Just remembered another Streicher quote - Chopin said that he'd have to blot out the page with ink if he was to put the full directions for a piece on it.
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#1554705 - 11/10/10 02:53 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
Victor25 Offline
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So that lazy bum just left us guessing!
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Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)

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#1554712 - 11/10/10 03:11 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Probably saving paper!
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#1554715 - 11/10/10 03:18 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
Victor25 Offline
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Registered: 05/30/09
Posts: 1676
Loc: The Netherlands
Chopin was an environmentalist, I'm learning something new every day laugh!
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Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)

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#1554722 - 11/10/10 03:51 AM Re: What is the correct way to play Bach, musicaly? [Re: D4v3]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Yeh, I'm sure I could come up with a Streicher quote for that too. There are hundreds of letters home!
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