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#408918 - 03/13/08 09:08 PM WTC I - D Major Prelude - Stay in black key area?
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
I have a question about Measure 7 of the Prelude in D Major from Book I of the WTC - image posted below. I have circled two notes where the thumb plays on black notes and I am curious to know what others do and recommend in this particular passages (and by inference similar passages).

The question is, after playing the first circled note (F#) with the thumb, do you stay in the black key area, or do you immediately pull out and subsequently move back in when you get to the second circled note (C#)? Staying in means playing the following A natural with the 4th finger deep between the Ab and Bb. At slow speed I can do this without a problem and it feels and sounds really good. At faster speed, though, it begins to feel a little risky. I am wondering if I should be practicing toward being able to stay in comfortably at tempo. The thing is, I don't like the way it feels to move suddenly in and out when playing at tempo, plus it requires a lot of effort to not make it sound abrupt. What would you/do you do here? I'm wondering if I'm the only one who finds this measure tricky.

Thanks for any comments.

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#408919 - 03/13/08 09:59 PM Re: WTC I - D Major Prelude - Stay in black key area?
wdot Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/07
Posts: 728
Loc: South Carolina, USA
This is undoubtedly a tricky passage. But I would not want to try to play it at tempo while keeping my hand "in the black key area."

I've been playing for almost 50 years, and I had some terrific teachers. Frankly I don't recall any of them having ever said anything to me about where my hands were in the North-South direction, as opposed to the East-West.

My bottom line is that if this is something you absolutely need to think about, you have to move your hand "South" to the white keys and then, if you need to move your hand to reach the C#, then back North. My guess is that if you just relax your wrist, the passage will eventually flow naturally.

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#408920 - 03/13/08 10:27 PM Re: WTC I - D Major Prelude - Stay in black key area?
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Thanks for your comments, wdot. I just played through the passage a couple of times again. I realize now that what happens to me is that if I pull out immediately after playing the F# I find I fall into a pattern of "jerking" my hand in and out thereafter whenever the thumb has to play on a black note again. With a little experimenting just now I realize that it's really only this first one that requires a super-fast shift. I'm going to experiment with trying to not let that one fast shift lead me into a pattern of abrupt shifts, but rather try to make subsequent shifts more gradual and less extreme. That may be a solution. Keeping a relaxed wrist is a good suggestion - thank you.

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#408921 - 03/14/08 02:00 AM Re: WTC I - D Major Prelude - Stay in black key area?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
How about this fingering?

Bach did not use what we would call conventional fingering today. Like his contemporaries, he had a different concept of thumb under/overs. I find 2 over 1 from the second F# in bar two much easier than the your 1 under to 2 to the second A in bar one.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#408922 - 03/14/08 08:50 AM Re: WTC I - D Major Prelude - Stay in black key area?
wdot Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/07
Posts: 728
Loc: South Carolina, USA
Good suggestions, kbk. I definitely agree with your change in the first measure. I'll have to try out the second measure fingerings on the piano. They feel pretty solid on my desk, though.

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#408923 - 03/14/08 08:56 AM Re: WTC I - D Major Prelude - Stay in black key area?
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Interesting fingering, KK. I agree with wdot - I like your fingering measure 6. Your fingering in measure 7 requires that you stay in the black keys at the F#, since you have the thumb playing it again three notes later. Right now it doesn't feel easier than the original fingering, but that may be a matter of practice.

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#408924 - 03/14/08 02:00 PM Re: WTC I - D Major Prelude - Stay in black key area?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Jerry and I have read this interesting article.
http://www.normandypianocourses.com/PianoSepOct2004pp34-35.pdf
It's very germane to this thread as it's about fingering. Near the end he says one famous French teacher didn't charge for the lesson but for the fingering! I plan to go to the writer's workshop here in London in April.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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