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Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15 (Read 7799 times)

Offline emill

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Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
« on: April 15, 2007, 11:42:14 PM »
Hi to all, :)

I would like to ask your comments regarding the way I played these Bach pieces. 
I am 11 years old and really would like to improve myself.  Thank you for your time.

Enzo



member on behalf of my son, Lorenzo

Offline imbetter

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #1 on: April 16, 2007, 07:41:28 PM »
i thought both of them could be greatly improved.

First of all, your moving your fingers too much. I think that your wasting energy by doing that. Second of all They seemed a little metronimical. Try and play them more freely. Also try attaching the notes a little more.
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #2 on: April 16, 2007, 08:16:31 PM »
Hi Enzo, I agree with imbetter, that you could play the two inventions more freely, taking a bit more time at the end of phrases and where the music is especially intense. But I don't agree in the statement, that you move your fingers too much. You have a very natural technique and your non legato is very appropriate for these Bach Inventions. Personally I would play them much slower, but that's a question of personal taste. For your age and only two years of learning the piano, this is a really great performance!
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline piano121

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #3 on: April 16, 2007, 09:06:08 PM »
Really a wonderfull job. Very beautifull pieces.

I agree about the fingers going crazy. Not that it doesnīt work the way you do, but it can get much better. If you try to make them quieter, you will produce a better sound. Itīs actualy all about relaxation of your hands. Your fingers must lie on the keyboard, and then just press the notes down. Think as your fingers been glued to the keyboard.

Now, despite the way you move your fingers, the sound you produce is very good. you articulate the voices well, nice touch, nice stacatto on Bach.  I think those pieces sound great, and you got amazing speed, and control. Definately an amazing job for only 2 years. You are trully gifted. I wish I was on your shoes when I was 11. Keep up the amazing work.

Offline emill

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #4 on: April 17, 2007, 02:06:19 AM »
Many thanks to piano121, counterpoint and imbetter  :)....

I will try to relax my fingers as I was bit tense. That is what my teacher also told me.
I often become tense when a video is taken.  Yes, I can make it better if I just relax my hands and fingers.  Thank you again.
member on behalf of my son, Lorenzo

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #5 on: April 18, 2007, 02:18:22 AM »
I agree with counterpoint that your technique is natural and your finger arched shape is optimal. I can see thought what imbetter is talking about out.
Not always but in certain moments you have lift your fingers high.

This means that you have tried to use the small weight of your fingers to depress the key rather than the weight of your arm. Fingers need to move very little and especially never need to be lifted high. The lifting movements should come instead from the hand, wrist and arm.

I don't think that you should use much finger action in pressing the note down.
In order to keep your fingers "glued" to the keyboard and press a note down you need to lift a finger enough to rely on its weight.

Instead the playing depressive movement may come from the hand and wrist.
Try it yourself and you'll see what the most efficient biomechanical way:

In playing position keep the third finger of the right hand on the G after the middle C
In this position you have to push the G down without removing the finger from the key

There are two ways to obtain this:

1) Raise the finger high in isolation and strike the note with the weight of the finger

2) Keep your wrist loose and raise it (not much) allowing the back of the hand to raise too. Then bring the wrist back to the aligned with the hand and arm position.
This will automatically depress the key using the weight of arm and avoiding strenunous use of small muscles.

Which motion is the less strenuous and most efficient?

The lifting and falling motion of the wrist is the "breathing" of the arm.
It also agrees with the basic principle of percussive playing, and piano is a percussive instrument.
The concept of "arm breathing" is dangerously underestimated by pianists while paradoxically even them are aware of its importance when applied to singing (and it applies to both singing and piano playing in the same way ... i.e. release of contraction and catching of a new playing impulse)

Offline emill

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #6 on: April 18, 2007, 11:34:29 AM »
Hi danny elfboy,

I can not understand very well your advice because I am not yet good with english.
I am still in grade 5 in gradeschool. I will print it and discuss this with my teacher tomorrow during our lesson.  Many thanks to you for viewing, observation and comment.

enzo
member on behalf of my son, Lorenzo

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #7 on: April 18, 2007, 05:43:45 PM »
Hi danny elfboy,

I can not understand very well your advice because I am not yet good with english.
I am still in grade 5 in gradeschool. I will print it and discuss this with my teacher tomorrow during our lesson.  Many thanks to you for viewing, observation and comment.

enzo

It's actually not easy to explain this and it's very easy to misunderstand.
You must thin of the arm as a level pushing down the hand.
The hand when pushed down pushes down the key without this being lifted high.
This creates a slighlty and non exaggerated but rhythmic and dance-like up-and-down motion of the worst which is indeed the "breathing" of the arm muscles.


Offline imbetter

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #8 on: April 19, 2007, 01:52:16 AM »
Hi danny elfboy,

I can not understand very well your advice because I am not yet good with english.
I am still in grade 5 in gradeschool. I will print it and discuss this with my teacher tomorrow during our lesson.  Many thanks to you for viewing, observation and comment.

enzo


ive been in america for 11 years and i dont understand it either :)


the funny thing is danny is swiss :)
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #9 on: April 19, 2007, 08:31:08 AM »

ive been in america for 11 years and i dont understand it either :)

the funny thing is danny is swiss :)

You're not understanding the concepts Jonathan  :P
But I checked it many times and I still can't find a fault in the way I expressed myself ... seems like there isn't another way to phrase it.  ???

Try to read ones of Abby Whiteside book.
Althought she's american the concepts she tries to explain are so complex and hard to express through words that you'll need to reread it several times in order to understand anything.

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #10 on: April 19, 2007, 09:31:30 AM »
You're not understanding the concepts Jonathan  :P

Me doesn't understand it either  8)

Danny, perhaps it would be a good idea to make a video in which you demonstrate what you are talking about. You already have written so much about that topic, and it didn't get clear what you want to say. so perhaps a video could help...?
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #11 on: April 19, 2007, 11:24:22 AM »
Me doesn't understand it either  8)

Danny, perhaps it would be a good idea to make a video in which you demonstrate what you are talking about. You already have written so much about that topic, and it didn't get clear what you want to say. so perhaps a video could help...?

First of all admit you don't understand because it's hard to express such concepts through words rather than because of my english  >:(

On the second place I'd like to make a video as it would show in few seconds what can't explained with few words but alas I don't have a camera or a webcam for what's matter.
Mind you, I got my first dvd ever 4 months ago and I still have a black and white cell from 6 years ago

Anyway I begin to wonder:
what's so hard to understand about lifting the wrist between each keystroke?
Maybe if you're interested in this and a have a cam you should make a vid of the motion I'm talking about so I can see what you're not understanding and how to point out the correct motion instead.

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #12 on: April 19, 2007, 12:45:28 PM »
Anyway I begin to wonder:
what's so hard to understand about lifting the wrist between each percussive blow?

I can make roundabout 5 to 6 "liftings of the wrist" per second. But then I'm not relaxed at all. And for many, many pieces, that's waaaayyyy too slow.
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #13 on: April 19, 2007, 01:30:30 PM »
I can make roundabout 5 to 6 "liftings of the wrist" per second. But then I'm not relaxed at all. And for many, many pieces, that's waaaayyyy too slow.

To play any percussive instrument you need weight trasmittion.
The shape of the bone of the arm and the fingers is such that they work as arches trasmitting the weight from the keystone to the pillars.
Percussive weight trasmittion needs also a pressure force which comes from exerting weight from above to below.
That's it percussive playing is based on a falling weight which creates a pressure force.
The falling weight is that of the hand and forearm.

If the structure of playing is static no falling weight can be trasmitted through the joints.
Also as long as the structure is static the muscular activity is static too which means that tension is being accumulated by not allowing any dynamic muscular activity of shortening and lengthening (hence the breathing)

If you look at a drummer you'll notice the drums sticks goes up and down.
If someone tries to play with just the fingers (i.e. lifting the fingers high) he/she will soon visit an hand doctor but nonetheless the movement is up and down.
It's impossible to play a percussive instrument without an up and down motion.
The point becomes therefore what the pivotal of such up and down motion should be.

Focusing the up and down motion on the fingers will lead to discomfort, pain and injuries. The reasons are many but the main ones are that the movement is too strenous for the small muscles and tendons moving the fingers and for the joints and that if we rely on the fingers we never allow a completely reset (shortening) of the arm muscles contracting through the piece.

The up and down motion of the wrist (which shouldn't be thought as something isolated in the wrist but as a motion of the whole arm, wrist and hand) is that moment in which all contraction is resetted to allow the release of tension before a new striking (from above) impulse.

It's so clear in singing that we can't sing the whole piece on the same breath impulse but need to catch our breath periodically i.e. starting many new impulses periodically and it shouldn't be less clear as far as piano playing is concerned.

We can't play a piece on the same impulse
We can maximum play 5 notes on the same impulse before a resetting needs to occur and a new impulse needs begins.

The lack of phrasing would be one note for each impulse (meaning that between lifting of the wrist there's only one note) but only staccato would need that.
Basic phrasing would mostly involve 4 notes for each impulse or 3 notes for each impulse depending on the rhythm.
With singing an Allegro would allow 3-4 bars for each breath impulse while it would be 2-3 bars at slower tempo.

Of couse just like when singing the impulse is not "huge" and you don't just catch a huge amount of breath making an inhaling sound but actually breath a little and make the impulse fast and small the up and down keystroke in playing is not "huge" but small and fast.




Offline counterpoint

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #14 on: April 19, 2007, 02:00:23 PM »
Danny, the question may sound a little odd, but anyways:

can you play piano yourself?  8)
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #15 on: April 19, 2007, 02:14:41 PM »
Danny, the question may sound a little odd, but anyways:

can you play piano yourself?  8)

Why would I be in a piano forum if I didn't  ;D
I'm a conservatory student and my "insight" on anatomy and technique have helped many people I've advised (including some on this forum that I'm sure would vouch for my approach). Not even my teacher (she says) has the free and tensionless technique I have developed as she has ingrained too many habits from the "fingers-school".
Also because I see dozen of students daily I can tell you that there are way more injuried pianists or pianists who suffer injuries and pain regularly than healthy and well functioning pianists.

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #16 on: April 19, 2007, 04:23:48 PM »
By the way there's no better evidence than trying.
If you're that skeptical you should try it yourself.
Let's say a simple scale patter C to G

1) play the five notes one by one by keeping the wrist and arm still (joints locked) and just raise the fingers from the metacarpo-phalangeal joints (knucles) high enough so that the falling weight of the finger can strike the key.

2) play the five notes one by one by using the weight of the arm instead by keeping the wrist joint loose and raising slighly the wrist and forearm and striking each key with the weight of the forearms and wrist. (imagine the motion as if you were hitting with your wrist an invisible keyboard just half an inch below your wrist)
The fingers remain motionless except that the moment the finger hits the key a contraction must occur to firm the fingers joints.

You'll notice no difference in sound or tone but a huge diffence in strain, tension and ease.

P.S The fingers remain motionsless to prove my point. Otherwise in real playing small fingers motions can accompany the main and basic arm/wrist motion. The point is that fingers never move or lift in isolation.


Offline ksnmohan

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #17 on: October 27, 2007, 05:12:27 PM »
Hallo Enzo,

Not heard from you on the Forum since April. When is the Piano Competition in Manila? I am sure that you are well prepared.

Best of luck!

Prof Narayanan
Madras(Chennai), India

Offline jenayen

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #18 on: October 30, 2007, 01:35:03 PM »
You ARE A GREAT GREAT Piano player.. !
i reeeeally liked the way you play and ur emotions,!!
in fact,i didn't just like it ,I LOVED IT!!...

and i'm sure that someday u'll be a profeseunal piano teacher if u kept practicing and developing your piano skills,,...
you'll do PERFECT  ;) :D

Keep Up the Amazing Work  ;)


Offline pinoypianist

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #19 on: October 30, 2007, 02:45:33 PM »
Hallo Enzo,

Not heard from you on the Forum since April. When is the Piano Competition in Manila? I am sure that you are well prepared.

Best of luck!

Prof Narayanan
Madras(Chennai), India


He won 1st prize.

Offline emill

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Re: Bach Three Part Inventions, No. 12 & 15
«Reply #20 on: October 30, 2007, 06:10:10 PM »
Wow! this thread got resurrected  :)... might as well have as I really have to thank Piano Street for having the resources and people who can really help.  Thanks to Pianistimo, teresa_b and counterpoint for helping me with my sanity and timely tips going into the competition.  Although enzo has an excellent teacher, it is always more helpfull to listen to what others advice in order to broaden your outlook.

Hi,  Prof Narayanan -  to my extreme dissappointment, the national piano competition for enzo's age group (11-14 years) was cancelled for vague reasons. In its place was the Bach piano competitions for which enzo won 1st prize for his age group. Made us so happy and proud parents as it was his 1st major competition barely 3 years of piano.

Hi, pinoypianist  and jenayen ... thank you for your support and encouragement. 

btw ... this is how he plays Sinfonia No.15 now: 
member on behalf of my son, Lorenzo