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Bach: Invention No. 1 in C Major

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Johann Sebastian Bach - Inventions :
Invention, No. 1
Invention  No. 1  in C Major by Bach piano sheet music
Key: C Major Year: 1723
Level: 5 Period: Baroque
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext
piano sheet music Piano score: Czerny edition
piano sheet music Piano score: Autograph manuscript
Recordings in Naxos Music Library

A study in conversation

The compositional economy of this piece is astounding. Virtually every note of the whole piece is derived from the first twelve notes, by means of transposition, inversion (turning the subject upside down) or augmentation (lengthening the note values). The concise, upward moving subject sounds happy and confident. A steady tempo and a clear sense of direction towards the first and third beats of each bar will give the piece a strong forward motion. Subtle crescendos and diminuendos can be used to bring out the melodic contour.

Practice & Performance Tips:
As you learn each invention, try to locate all the subjects, which might appear transposed. Practice the inventions hands separately. Try to memorize each hand first, in order to develop independence and touch control. Strive for an even playing. You may want to practice each voice (or each hand) non-legato first. Double check that your fingers are always relaxed before and after playing each note. Practice slowly!
The subject in this invention has 8 notes (C-D-E-F-D-E-C-G) while the countersubject has 4 notes (C-B-C-D). Lift your hand slightly between the subject and the countersubject. In other words, try to leave some "air" in between the G and the C and do the same throughout the invention. The lifting will help the music breathe and add clarity to the invention.

Learn the whole invention without the ornaments first. When you are ready for the ornaments, make them consistent: the first ornament that appears in this invention is called a trill (m. 1, right hand). The B with the trill can be realized as C-B-C-B (therefore, start from the upper note). Measure 5 contains a mordent on C. Play it as C-B-C.

Bach uses sequences very often. If you consider the first sixteenth-note (semiquaver) in m. 3 (right hand) as the end of the... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.

Invention in C Major No. 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach. Sheet music and recordings of thousands of piano pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach and many other famous composers to view in your digital device, print out or listen to.

Invention in C Major - No. 1 is a piece by the baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
The composition was first published in 1723 and is included in Inventions by Bach.
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