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#1617174 - 02/10/11 07:35 PM A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong
Derek Andrews Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 62
Loc: PA
I found this not too long ago and was very impressed. This guy improvises a prelude & fugue in a Bach/baroque influenced style. To my ears, if someone told me Bach composed it I'd be none the wiser! My ultimate goal is to be able to do this as well as this guy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG3KmJy--ig

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#1617196 - 02/10/11 08:29 PM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3755
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Thanks for sharing. I thought that was *very* impressive.

In a completely different league, imo, from Gabriela Montero, who is good of course, but has never amazed me.

-Jason
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1617769 - 02/11/11 03:03 PM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
A2mom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/07
Posts: 103
Loc: Northern California
_________________________
A2mom
Northern California
Shigeru Kawai SK3, Clavinova CVP207

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#1617793 - 02/11/11 03:40 PM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
Derek Andrews Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 62
Loc: PA
Haha, that's amusing. I found Karst's improvisation the other way around, from William Goldstein's. Personally, I think Karst's is more interesting. Goldstein's is very good too, but is is a pretty simple 2 part repetition of a theme on a circle progression that gets louder and more ornate (not really a fugue, more a set of variations), Karst does more interesting things with chromaticisms, modulation, and form in his fugue, I think. From what I can tell he introduces each voice in turn as is common in a baroque fugue. Very cool.

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#1618046 - 02/12/11 05:25 AM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 135
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Hi Derek,

in my opinion this is a very interesting topic. Classical improvisation is actually not teached on german conservatories and college of music. I think it would be worth doing it.

Regarding this point I found a review from Professor Susan McClary in the internet.
http://www.artistshousemusic.org/videos/improvisation+and+canon+in+western+music


I think Karst's playing is not a regular fuge. Shure after the "Dux", the "Comes" comes in in a traditional manner at a fifth apart. But then he doesn't consequently develop the theme and also sometimes he has up to 4 voices simultaneously whereby the meantime he has 2 voices. But I think that's all not relevant for doing own improvisations. I think that the point is, to improvise in a contrapuntual context in a more or less baroque stil.

I find out, trying to get closer to this kind of playing, it is a good idea NOT to start with complete selfmade stuff but rather having an allready existing piece of music as a reference to build up own ideas.

I did such an experiment with the Bachs 2-part inventions.
First of all I did cut down the time to halftime to have the harmonic rhythm more comfortable for improvisation. Than I started improvising allways on small "cells"(motives). If heard that Bach himself used to teach improvising his students allways by small units.

If you like, you can watch and listen to the score of Inventio #1 here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jup21yK8qzc





Edited by Cudo (02/12/11 05:26 AM)

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#1618469 - 02/12/11 05:46 PM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3755
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Hey Cudo--

Nice job with the Bach invention. How did you get those drums? Are they real? They sound good.

-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1618626 - 02/12/11 11:06 PM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
Derek Andrews Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 62
Loc: PA
cudo, interesting. Where did you read about bach teaching improvisation in small units? I find this comment interesting because of some of my recent efforts/exploration into baroque improvisation, that involves simple, orthogonal building blocks for the style rather than allowing myself to be intimidated by the totality of an entire composition or bach's prolific output (which is very easy to do when enjoying listening to his music...)


Edited by Derek Andrews (02/12/11 11:09 PM)

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#1618631 - 02/12/11 11:15 PM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
Derek Andrews Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 62
Loc: PA
I've known about this guy for a while, works in music therapy I suppose--a very good classical improviser and a thoughtful blogger. Here's a fun post he's made about classical improvisation in general:

http://ericbarnhill.wordpress.com/facts-about-improvisation/

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#1618652 - 02/13/11 12:30 AM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 135
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Originally Posted By: Derek Andrews
cudo, interesting. Where did you read about bach teaching improvisation in small units? I find this comment interesting because of some of my recent efforts/exploration into baroque improvisation, that involves simple, orthogonal building blocks for the style rather than allowing myself to be intimidated by the totality of an entire composition or bach's prolific output (which is very easy to do when enjoying listening to his music...)



Johann Nikolaus Forkel(1749–1818)was in direct contact with the sons of Bach and wrote the first biography about Bach. I remember that he wrote in his book "Über Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke" something about playing in small units.
Also there is a book from Dietrich Bartsch out called "Bloß nicht improvisieren! Bloß nicht!" where he mentiones something about "Sätzchenspiel", what means, playing in small units.

I did some exercises for myself transposing small units -->
www.cisum.info/bachinvention1.pdf
Doing these exercises by heart strengthen the ability to move around freely.



Hi beet31425,

I was working with the Yamaha Motif XS6. First of all, for playing-along the Inventions, I choosed a normal 2-bar swing pattern. I played the inventions for weeks and tried to make excursions and embellishments on the fly. When I finally had the version I liked most, I erased the swing Loop and taped in the drums step by step acording to my improvisation. That was a lot of work, but I think it was worth the trouble because the sounds of the Yamaha Motif are quit good samples.

There is another Invention, No:12, with electric piano sound, I did.

http://www.cisum.info/inventio12.mp3

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#1618999 - 02/13/11 01:11 PM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
Derek Andrews Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 62
Loc: PA
I wonder what he meant by small units? Is it an isolated comment in a larger essay? I wonder if he meant making improvisations themselves short lived or simply that you should focus on little building blocks?

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#1619072 - 02/13/11 03:13 PM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 135
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Hi Derek,
I think a "small unit" could be a motiv or maybe even a theme. Anyway, the aime is modulating this unit in a harmonical or rhythmical sense.

An interesting person regarding improvisation in classical music is Martin Gellrich.
http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/archiv/.bin/dump.fcgi/2004/0715/berlin/0200/index.html
or
http://art-live.de/DISS_PDFVERSION16-Bilder.pdf

I think classical music can only be understood by people who are capable of improvising it. Most classical music is born out of improvisation, so what?

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#1619464 - 02/14/11 01:09 AM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
cubop Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 28 2012


Registered: 12/17/10
Posts: 368
Loc: Norway
Thanks to Derek Andrews for the link to the article on improvisation, and thanks to Cudo for the link to some very interesting information "Von der freyen Fantasie". I love that German "fantasieren" for improvising. I knew that improvisation was important in the Good old Days, but I did not know it was that important.
Now the big question is: How do you practice it today. Of course in Jazz and Latin that is what it's all about, but contemporary "classical" improvisation? What might that be? There are lots of composers, but where are the improvisers? This is probably a bit off topic in a thread that begins with Bach-like improvisation. But "Nows the Time".
cubop

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#1620388 - 02/15/11 05:16 AM Re: A Bach-style improvisation by Karst de Jong [Re: Derek Andrews]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2300
Loc: Sydney
This is very interesting guys. I knew that Bach was one of the greatest improvisers but I didn't know he taught it.

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