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Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ? (Read 2444 times)

Offline psaiko

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Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
« on: October 05, 2006, 03:52:27 PM »
I have very little experience with Bach and Im going to play some 3-part inventions before I start on wtc.

I came across some notes which has tempo and dynamic markings on it. Will it destroy my interpretation by learning from these notes? For the moment I dont have a teacher, so it will be difficult knowing how to interprete without these hints.

Sheet music to download and print: Sinfonias by Bach



Offline leucippus

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #1 on: October 05, 2006, 05:10:40 PM »
Yes it is a sin.  It will destroy your interpretation, and corrupt your soul for all of eternity.  When you die you will be judged unfit to play on the treble clef, and you will be condemned to forever play only on the bass clef.  It is a sin to even think of what you are proposing here.  There mere fact that you have even thought about this is the same as having done it.  So you are doomed forever with no hope of repentance.

Also the fact that you have lustfully eaten from the fruit of the Inventions before having patiently reaped the wisdom from the garden of WTC is so contemptible that the penalty for that is unspeakable. 

Sorry, but that's just the way things are.

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #2 on: October 05, 2006, 05:20:24 PM »
I have very little experience with Bach and Im going to play some 3-part inventions before I start on wtc.

I came across some notes which has tempo and dynamic markings on it. Will it destroy my interpretation by learning from these notes? For the moment I dont have a teacher, so it will be difficult knowing how to interprete without these hints.

If you have little experience with Bach, I would suggest beginning with the two-part inventions.  I don't know you, of course, but it is not good to overestimate your polyphonic abilities.  And sure, it is fine to go by the tempo and dynamic markings.  They are put there for a reason by the editor, to help you.

Best,
Michael

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #3 on: October 05, 2006, 05:22:59 PM »
i'm still laughing a bit from leucippus response.  the harpsichord gave very little ability to shade meanings as the piano does.  if you see four of five levels of dynamics - there's something shady going on, imo.  but, according to romantic interpretations - anything goes.
i think if more students were given the opportunity to play on a harpsichord once or twice - they would see and hear better in terms of what they might want to imitate.  i say, might, because everyone is different.

i personally prefer to hear only the basic two.  forte and piano.  the reason i say this - is that there are many different variations of playing using only those two dynamics, and, in my opinion, is very effective.  reminiscent of the early fortepiano.

or, you can choose to play only one, mp or mf.  the additional voices that come in give you the textured loudness rather than dynamics through the touch or pedal.  also, the speeding up of rhythms (say you start with slower notes and move toward sixteenths) gives an impression, together with more voices, of a loudness vs softness.

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #4 on: October 05, 2006, 06:18:29 PM »
Pianistimo brings up a good point - beware of overdramatic dynamic markings.  You may want to differentiate a bit for shading, but in general, there should not be romantic gestures such as, for example, one-bar crescendi from piano to fortissimo, a la Rachmaninoff.  Err on the side of subtlety.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #5 on: October 05, 2006, 08:30:36 PM »
agreed, totally!

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #6 on: October 05, 2006, 09:05:18 PM »
the harpsichord gave very little ability to shade meanings as the piano does.

That's correct, but what, if you would play an Invention with Violin and Cello?
You would play them with colourful dynamics, as violinists and cellists do, when playing the solo-suites.

So that argument doesn't impress me much.

The only problem with edited editions is, that you don't know, what signs estimate from the composer and which one from the editor. In the case of the Inventions, it's clear, that ALL dynamics are added by the editor. Therefore it's free to you to use this dynamics or to use your own dynamics. But it is surely wrong to don't think about dynamics at all. Music needs dynamics - even harpsichord music does  :D
(Dynamics on the harpsichord are produced by playing rubato!)
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline leucippus

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #7 on: October 05, 2006, 10:14:19 PM »
I am a sinner and I have no moral values.  I can't wait to learn the Bach Inventions so that I may pour my heart out engorging them with erotic romantic dynamics.

I have every intention of playing all 30 of them like this and recording them on a CD with a front cover of me in an open black vest that reveal the hairiness of my romantic sensuous chest.  I'll call it, "The Insidious Immodest Inventions of Bach"

Itíll be a big hit, you wait and see.  ;)

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #8 on: October 05, 2006, 10:38:59 PM »
I am a sinner and I have no moral values.  I can't wait to learn the Bach Inventions so that I may pour my heart out engorging them with erotic romantic dynamics.

I have every intention of playing all 30 of them like this and recording them on a CD with a front cover of me in an open black vest that reveal the hairiness of my romantic sensuous chest.  I'll call it, "The Insidious Immodest Inventions of Bach"

Itíll be a big hit, you wait and see.  ;)


Probably will rise to the top of the same charts that Gould's Mozart did...

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #9 on: October 06, 2006, 12:17:56 AM »
hmm.  i never really thought of cello and violin.  i suppose you are right.  carry on, leucippus.  i sort of want to buy that cd already.

Offline phdezra

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #10 on: October 06, 2006, 01:17:14 AM »
I have very little experience with Bach and Im going to play some 3-part inventions before I start on wtc.

Are three-part inventions graded easier than WTC pieces? The reason I ask is because as a beginner, my teacher recently assigned WTC Prelude I to me. Is it just this specific Prelude I that is particularly easy - I have not tried the others yet, and certainly not the Fugue  ::) . Anyway, if three-part inventions are easier, I'm wondering why I skipped over them?

Anyone?

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #11 on: October 06, 2006, 01:22:30 AM »
Are three-part inventions graded easier than WTC pieces? The reason I ask is because as a beginner, my teacher recently assigned WTC Prelude I to me. Is it just this specific Prelude I that is particularly easy - I have not tried the others yet, and certainly not the Fugue  ::) . Anyway, if three-part inventions are easier, I'm wondering why I skipped over them?

Anyone?

Bach himself ordered his works for study as such:

1. The little book of Anna Magdalena Bach
2. The little book of W.F. Bach
3. Two-voice inventions
4. Three-voice inventions
5. French and English Suites
6. Partitas
7. Well-Tempered Clavier
8. Goldberg Variations, Italian Concerto, Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue

I assume he referred primarily to the fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier in this progression.  (Of course, however, some preludes can be quite tricky.)  Also, remember that a good teacher does not waste time - you may not have needed the three-part inventions.

Best,
Michael

Offline maestoso

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #12 on: October 06, 2006, 03:37:47 PM »
where are the 1 voice inventions for the ht challenged among us? lol just when i thought i was getting somewhere ht, i had to go and try some inventions and ruin my progress. thanks bach i'm going back to flock of seagulls piano style!
"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosphy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents." - Ludwig van Beethoven

Offline leucippus

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Re: Is it a sin to learn Bach with dynamic markings ?
«Reply #13 on: October 06, 2006, 04:33:37 PM »
I'm thinking like maestoso.  I don't find the Inventions easy at all because I have yet to learn hand-independence.

I've been searching for more pieces similar to the 12 KŲhler studies.  Pieces that slowly meld your hands together with progressive results.  I've actually been thinking about writing up my own etudes for this purpose.