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#2289485 - 06/13/14 10:58 PM Prelude in C tips
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1896
Loc: Pennsylvania
I am considering taking a run at Prelude in C (J.S. Bach).

The mechanics of playing it are, of course, not an issue.

The issue I face is finding a way to keep track of where I am and what comes next.

My choices are to just keep playing it over and over until I memorize it through some miracle of brain remembering function


Inserting the chord structure into the piece in hopes that the chord progression will help.


Following along (reading) the printed page as I play it.

The latter would seem to be the best means but the issue is I am not a strong reader, while playing ... so that might be a problem for me.

Any tips for me ?

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2289487 - 06/13/14 11:00 PM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
What Prelude in C?


#2289488 - 06/13/14 11:04 PM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: Polyphonist]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1896
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
What Prelude in C?


Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

#2289501 - 06/14/14 12:03 AM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12056
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Definitely figure out the chords. I often suggest students practice this while playing block chords to break down all those individual notes into a chord progression. Even if you can't name all of the chords, reading the sheet music as chords (all the notes in a measure at once time) is helpful.
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

#2289526 - 06/14/14 03:23 AM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1647
Loc: Australia
I attempted to learn this piece with only months of experience. I did not know many chords at the time and probably still do not know enough to do an analysis of this piece. But I gave each measure a chord name that was close enough (even if they were wrong) to mean something to me. This also helped me identify repeated use of the same chord. This may have been a very clumsy analysis but is was effective. After a while though the names became unimportant and the shapes of the chords took on more significance.

Good luck, this is a great piece to learn. I intend to go back to it one day to do it justice.
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano

#2289553 - 06/14/14 08:16 AM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2611
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
My teacher had me block the chords and pay attention to which notes changed from chord to chord to help me get some sense of direction.
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

#2289576 - 06/14/14 10:10 AM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: malkin]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
I wrote it out as chords instead of eighth notes. Surprise! it now fits on less than a page, no page turns necessary.

Fingering choices are really important in this one. It becomes easy if you use the optimum ones. The first time I worked on this one I had a copy with no fingering suggestions, and the ones I came up with seemed to work. Then I found a copy with better recommendations and a lot of awkwardness disappeared.

As far as keeping track, I would suggest listening to it enough times to really memorize what it sounds like. You should almost be playing it by ear. You should definitely be able to sing it.

Remember, you're supposed to play the fugue that follows at the same speed. Hee, hee.

Edited by TimR (06/14/14 10:12 AM)
gotta go practice

#2289625 - 06/14/14 12:36 PM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Don, you might get something out of the study thread we had a while back.

Post #2069897 is where I summed it up for memorising.


#2289655 - 06/14/14 02:50 PM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2397
Loc: Virginia, USA
Something else that hasn't been mentioned (I agree with blocking the chords). This is a great piece to "read" - why? Because, except for the last couple of measures, every measure has the same thing repeated twice. Eek, at least that's what my memory tells me, I haven't checked! So you can read ahead very easily.
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

#2289794 - 06/14/14 07:29 PM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
mstachowsky Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/14
Posts: 17
I always use it as a reading piece. I havent memorized it and I use it to get myvreading back in shape if ive been away for a while. Just play it slower until you can read it atvspeed.

#2289818 - 06/14/14 08:27 PM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1896
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks to all for the "tips".

I am leaning toward "reading" it. As has been noted, 2 measures are repeated each time the "read" changes so that helps me keep up with the changes. And, it is the "easiest" way to approach it initially and I have never been accused of doing things the "hard" way. LOL ...

Thanks again to all.

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

#2289830 - 06/14/14 09:11 PM Re: Prelude in C tips [Re: dmd]
hreichgott Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1103
Loc: western MA, USA
You may find that, in addition to understanding the chords, that keeping track of certain notes is helpful. I remember paying most attention to the second note in each measure and the highest note in each measure, and I could pretty much get away with that when learning this. I was not able to read notes at the tempo of the piece at the time, but reading 2 notes per measure at tempo I could do.

Edited by hreichgott (06/14/14 09:12 PM)
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sometimes a bagatelle is just a bagatelle. Beethoven Op. 33
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
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