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#525739 - 11/07/07 12:02 AM How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
computerpro3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 367
Loc: Connecticut/Cincinnati
Back when I was at home, I could easily spend two months working on a prelude and fugue and still have an immense amount of work to do.

Ever since I got to CCM the pace of learning has been dramatically increased out of neccessity. You're not even allowed to look at the sheet music during lessons - everything has to be memorized. You should have seen the look on my face when he gave me the first prelude from book II of the WTC and told me I would be performing it in Studio class in less than a week.

The next lesson I had was on a Friday, and he assigned me the Fugue for tuesday's lesson and another performance on Friday.

It's good on one hand because if you had asked me two months ago if I could have learned a fugue in four days I would have just laughed at you. It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you have to. On the downside, while the notes are there after a couple of days, musically it at least takes another week or two before it really speaks like I want it to. I think part of it is just living with the peice and absorbing it into your system completely.

What's the average amount of time it takes for you to memorize a prelude and fugue and be able to play it well?

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#525740 - 11/07/07 12:37 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
How long is a piece of string?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#525741 - 11/07/07 05:24 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
A month at least. I think my biggest weakness is Bach.
_________________________
Practice makes permanent - Perfect practice makes perfect.

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#525742 - 11/07/07 07:27 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
computerpro3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 367
Loc: Connecticut/Cincinnati
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
How long is a piece of string? [/b]
I fully realize that no peice is ever "done", but I was referring to getting it to the point where you can comfortably play it in public and know what you're doing in terms of understanding the peice.

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#525743 - 11/07/07 07:43 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Aviator1010110 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 134
Loc: United States
Comfortably I do it in a few weeks (1 week play, 1 week memorize). I suppose I could do it in a week, but I'd definitely loose some sleep over it.

I had to learn Liebestraum No.3 in one week to be put on the program of a recital coming up, but I spent an uncomfortable amount of time at the piano. Wasn't fun!
_________________________
Technical skills should never come before artistry. I think of technical ability as a necessary tool for extracting a truly moving performance from a sensitive interpretation. -Aviator1010110

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#525744 - 11/07/07 11:48 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
I could probably learn one to a pretty good level in a week or two. Consider yourself lucky - in college I had to learn 4 Preludes and Fugues AND 4 Chopin Nocturnes per week...
_________________________
What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#525745 - 11/07/07 12:10 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
jazzyclassical Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/07
Posts: 154
Loc: California
Yes, everybody is different. And it probably depends on which prelude and fugue it was. But I think my fastest rate would be similar to Aviator, but adding one week to that. One week playing methodically, one week memorizing, and one week perfecting...
_________________________
Kawai acoustic piano
Casio PX-350

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#525746 - 11/07/07 12:32 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5289
Loc: McAllen, TX
Who did you decide on for your teacher? This sounds like what Chertock would do to me during my freshman year! :p
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#525747 - 11/07/07 01:29 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
computerpro3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 367
Loc: Connecticut/Cincinnati
........

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#525748 - 11/07/07 01:37 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Dan101 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 45
Loc: Canada
That's a tricky question. If I have time, with no family interruptions, a week. In real life, about a month.

If you want to learn quickly, try imposing a pretend deadline. Don't give yourself an ulcer or anything, though. Self-imposed deadlines often accelerate learning proficiency. Good luck!
_________________________
Daniel E. Friedman, co-owner of www.pianolessons101.com
You CAN learn to play the piano in a fun and positive way.

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#525749 - 11/07/07 06:11 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5289
Loc: McAllen, TX
Hahaha, I know exactly which practice room that is.

I broke the blinds in there once by accident.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#525750 - 11/07/07 07:45 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
w1cbs Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9
Loc: NYC
How about a million years, give or take a few days? LOL.
At this point I'd be happy to get through Willy the Whale!

Actually I'm just starting to learn and I admire the ability of all the contributers to this forum and the varied repertoire I've seen posted.

Keep up the good work everyone.

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#525751 - 11/07/07 08:21 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Lemon Pledge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 350
 Quote:
Originally posted by w1cbs:
At this point I'd be happy to get through Willy the Whale!
[/b]
Eeek, I think I just had an early childhood flashback. Weird.

CDEFEDGABC ?

I'm not a piano teacher. Is everyone still using the same primers as 25 years ago?

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#525752 - 11/07/07 10:07 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Outrageous Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 7
Loc: Bloomington
When you guys say you can do it in a week, about how many hours a day are you putting in? If I go at my normal learning rate of practicing a new peice for around 30 minutes a day, probably a month or two..?? haha

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#525753 - 11/07/07 10:36 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11448
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Ya, 30 minutes a day isn't going to do much, but if that's what you can do, and you're not on a deadline, then that's great if you can do it consistently. \:\)
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#525754 - 11/07/07 10:46 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
When I was running the 4 P/F and 4 Nocturnes per week gauntlet back at IU (I see you're from Bloomington Outrageous - I assume that's where you are too \:\) ), I was putting in probably between 4 and 6 hours a day. Under those circumstances, I was able to learn them at that rate, (though some of them I was still sight-reading passages at my lesson \:\) )

Now, with two kids (one of them 6 months old), I'm lucky if I can get 15 minutes in a day - so under those parameters it would take me quite a bit longer to pick up a Prelude and Fugue.
_________________________
What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#525755 - 11/08/07 01:14 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
LVB1770 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 2
Loc: San Francisco
Unanswerable question!
_________________________
“In love's godlike breathing, there's the innermost aspect of the universe.” Scriabin

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#525756 - 11/08/07 01:55 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
my biggest weakness is Bach too, so I can't answer your question, It can take me just a couple of days to learn a sonata but weeks and weeks to learn a Bach fugue.
_________________________
Currently working on:J.S Bach Prelude&Fugue in C major from bk 1,Chopin Etude op.10 no.12,Impromptus nos.1&4 and Mendelssohn Song without words op.67

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#525757 - 11/08/07 10:52 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
computerpro3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 367
Loc: Connecticut/Cincinnati
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
Hahaha, I know exactly which practice room that is.

I broke the blinds in there once by accident. [/b]
Oh yeah? If you can get the number, THEN I'll be impressed (hint, it's one of the best two pianos in memorial).

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#525758 - 11/08/07 07:13 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
In his The Art of Piano-Playing, Heinrich Neuhaus claims to have learned the entire "Hammerklavier" in 96 hours, during which time he hardly slept.

Craig
_________________________
NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4

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#525759 - 11/08/07 07:55 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ctnski:
In his The Art of Piano-Playing, Heinrich Neuhaus claims to have learned the entire "Hammerklavier" in 96 hours, during which time he hardly slept.

Craig [/b]
and theres a fugue in there too!
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#525760 - 11/08/07 07:56 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
How long is a piece of string? [/b]
about this long:
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#525761 - 11/09/07 11:50 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Will335 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 105
Loc: Southampton
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
How long is a piece of string? [/b]
The distance from one end of a piece of string to the other is about the same as the amount of time it took before someone had to use that annoying cliche.
_________________________
My website

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#525762 - 11/09/07 01:47 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
If the shoe fits...
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#525763 - 11/09/07 03:52 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
Yes it takes a lot of time ..

I also find it helps when you know exactly when subjects enter (although I have not attempted to play a voice alone as some people advise) but I try to listen to every voice as I play

Check out this site
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~tas3/wtc.html

This site was one of the first sites that sparked my interest in Bach. A great site

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#525764 - 11/09/07 04:47 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bassio:
Yes it takes a lot of time ..

I also find it helps when you know exactly when subjects enter (although I have not attempted to play a voice alone as some people advise) but I try to listen to every voice as I play

Check out this site
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~tas3/wtc.html

This site was one of the first sites that sparked my interest in Bach. A great site [/b]
This is surely one of my top favourites. I've used this site for a long time. I highly recommend it!
_________________________
Practice makes permanent - Perfect practice makes perfect.

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#525765 - 11/10/07 01:09 AM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bassio:
...I also find it helps when you know exactly when subjects enter (although I have not attempted to play a voice alone as some people advise) but I try to listen to every voice as I play [/b]
It helps?!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#525766 - 11/10/07 07:38 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11448
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Hehe, keyboardklutz ;\) . One really does need ot know whenever the subject enters, becuase that is the part that should be brought out above all the other stuff going on. This is what makes it interesting. I hear a lot of people play Bach fugues without taking this into consideration. If you have trouble bring out the subject, I suggest photocopying the music, then highlight all the subject entries and repetitions.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#525767 - 11/11/07 02:29 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Hehe, keyboardklutz ;\) . One really does need ot know whenever the subject enters, becuase that is the part that should be brought out above all the other stuff going on. This is what makes it interesting. I hear a lot of people play Bach fugues without taking this into consideration. If you have trouble bring out the subject, I suggest photocopying the music, then highlight all the subject entries and repetitions. [/b]
I would like to offer a different view, and quote Tovey's commentary, from the Associated Board edition of WTC:

"b. Part-playing.[/b] The nature of polyphony has been obscured rather than illuminated by Ouseley's famous definition of counterpoint as 'the art of combining melodies.' Much 'pianistic' fugue-playing has passed as 'scholarly' when it even fails to realize that definition, inasmuch as it 'brings out the subject' as if all the rest of the fugue were unfit for publication. This notion is peculiar to pianists. Organists, who perhaps play fugues more often than most people, do not find it necessary, whenever the subject enters in the inner parts, to pick it out with the thumb on another manual. They and their listeners enjoy the polyphony because the inner parts can neither 'stick out' nor fail to balance well in the harmony, so long as the notes are played at all. On the pianoforte constant care is needed to prevent failure of tone: and certainly the subject of a fugue should not be liable to such failure. But neither should the counterpoints; indeed, the less often a characteristic countersubject recurs the more important it may be that it should be hard clearly (e.g. the clinching third countersubject of the F minor Fugue in Book I.) Most of Bach's counterpoint actually sounds best when the parts are evenly balanced. It is never a mere combination of melodies, but always a mass of harmony stated in terms of a combination of melodies.

...When Bach combines melodies, the combination forms full harmony as soon as two parts are present. (Even a solitary part will be a melody which is its own bass.) Each additional part adds new harmonic meaning, as well as its own melody and rhythm, and all are in transparent contrast with each other at every point. No part needs 'bringing out' at the expense of the others, but on the pianoforte care is most needed for that part which is most in danger of failure of tone. Thus, one of Bach's standard types of triple counterpoint consists of a theme with wide intervals and a lively rhythm, a countersubject flowing uniformly and in conjunct movement, and another countersubject consisting of a few long notes forming a chain of suspensions or a slow chromatic progression. This third and simplest of themes will be the keystone of the harmonic arch. On the organ it will dominate sublimely if the notes are played at all: chorus-singers will luxuriate in it; the clavichord will respond to it with a
vibrato; the harpsichord will manage it quite satisfactorily; the pianoforte--?

The pianoforte player will manage it when he can give a good account of Chopin's
Prelude in E minor." [(c)1924, renewed 1951, now p.d.]

And a Bach fugue (primarily a stretto fugue, concerned mostly with repeated entrances of the subject) without constant emphasis of the subject:

Bach - Final fugue from....

The point of this last example is that we can learn much about playing Bach from music composed for other than keyboard instruments.
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There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#525768 - 11/11/07 02:57 PM Re: How long does it take you to learn a WTC fugue well?
ocd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 201
Loc: North East
I am yet to find out.

ocd
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"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen."

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