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Goldberg variation no.1 (Read 5205 times)

Offline kard

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Goldberg variation no.1
« on: November 03, 2007, 05:30:36 PM »
I just looked up the variations on youtube and realized that you cross your hands at the two bars just before the end of the first theme/section. (?) I had split up the fingering for the notes so I don't cross my hands (...im playing it allegretto). I didn't realize that the intention was to cross the hands so my question is, am i cheating and should i just relearn those bars?  I'm under the impression that it kinda doesn't matter but i wanted some opinion on this.

Offline jlh

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #1 on: November 03, 2007, 05:55:01 PM »
Don't forget that this work was NOT composed for a single-manual keyboard instrument like the piano, so the intention could not have been that the hands must cross on a piano (each hand has its own keyboard on a harpsichord).  I have never played this work, but just bear in mind that while crossing may be a better option (there may be reasons -- I don't have a score) it is up to you to figure out how to make this work on a piano. 

Cheers!

Josh
. ROFL : ROFL:LOL:ROFL : ROFL '
                 ___/\___
  L   ______/             \
LOL "\         [ ] \
  L              \_________)
                 ___I___I___/

Offline kard

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #2 on: November 03, 2007, 06:10:04 PM »
ohh single manual i.e. one set of keys/keyboard? 
I'll try out the hand crossing and compare them, thanks :)
It seems that would be less complicated than the fingering I have but maybe it will end up being less comfortable. 

Offline jlh

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #3 on: November 03, 2007, 06:29:18 PM »
ohh single manual i.e. one set of keys/keyboard?

Yes.  ;)
. ROFL : ROFL:LOL:ROFL : ROFL '
                 ___/\___
  L   ______/             \
LOL "\         [ ] \
  L              \_________)
                 ___I___I___/

Offline thalberg

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #4 on: November 03, 2007, 06:41:36 PM »
I've played the Goldbergs, and I recommend crossing hands there.  It works better and sounds better in my opinion.  I played that variation full speed, and I don't think it would have been possible for me not to cross hands there.  Elsewhere, like variation 11, you will probably re-finger and not cross, but in this instance, I recommend crossing.

seicinta

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #5 on: November 04, 2007, 09:48:13 AM »
 :'(:'(

Offline kard

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #6 on: November 06, 2007, 09:15:16 PM »
no the thing is that my music doesn't have any fingering on it, so it becomes my responsibility to find fingerings :(   

for that passage (with crossing) i have |53131213 5153|
any suggestions?
I can get through that passage, (after..much, much concentration lol..) but it just seems like
an interruption to the flow to me, that's why I was trying to avoid it. But i guess once you make the attempt it works out anyway

Offline thalberg

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #7 on: November 06, 2007, 09:35:38 PM »
When I played the Goldbergs, my edition did not have fingerings, and I simply failed to find good ones.  The piece is just too hard to  finger.  It was my first experience in my life being unable to finger something.  I had to buy the Henle edition--it has fingerings.  It helped tremendously.  I recommend it.

seicinta

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #8 on: November 07, 2007, 06:31:33 PM »
 :'( :-*

Offline slobone

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 06:20:53 PM »
I'm also using Henle, but their fingerings are often unnecessarily complicated, so I simplify them.

For me the cross-hands measures in Var 1 were the hardest part of the variation. I just couldn't cross my left hand over without bumping into my right hand. But I kept at it, and now it's not a problem.

And anyway, I can't imagine how you could possibly re-finger it to eliminate the crossing?

BTW the first variation was written for one manual only, it says so in the original score. The first variation intended for 2 manuals is #8. (#5 gives you a choice of one or two, but who wouldn't use 2 if they could?)

Offline kard

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 10:19:52 PM »
Thanks you guys :)  The crossing hands is working out now, just getting used to the speed.
and as for the fingering (allthumbs) I was simply playing the notes as written but disregarding the fact that the two F#'s were with the right hand etc.
   
I try singing when I practice lol but I keep forgetting to breath and stuff so somtimes I get out of breath :D but its fine. I love this variation ^_^  (and the fact that I can play it now...well the first section anyway)

Thanks again

Offline slobone

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 01:38:11 AM »
I love this variation ^_^  (and the fact that I can play it now...well the first section anyway)

Good, so now you can start having fun with it. Decide whether the left hand eighth notes should be legato, staccato, or in between, where the accents go, etc. Make sure the LH echoes the RH on the opening G-F#-G figure that keeps recurring. (I like to accent the third note of this figure.) Also what dynamic levels to have at different points.

Offline kard

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #12 on: November 10, 2007, 11:17:41 PM »
Yea, I'm experimenting with that currently. I love how there's a continuous 16th note drumming..almost. It makes for very interesting accents in my opinion. 
And forgive me but I'm gonna use the pedal at that measure I was asking about lol.. I want to keep those 8th notes as such..
 

Offline slobone

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #13 on: November 11, 2007, 08:13:28 PM »
Sure -- do what your ears tell you to do. But my first reaction is that it's going to sound kind of funny to only pedal for one measure. Frankly I think it's almost better just to leave out the RH crossover notes. I've never heard a recording where they really stood out.

Offline kard

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #14 on: November 16, 2007, 10:20:21 PM »
 I like a challenge  ;D   (i never thought of leaving it out before lol..) but you are right..

But then again..I already got that section ..yesterday, so its allright.
Its a little bit of half pedalling. I make it sound similar to the ascending and descending arpeggios a few measures before, just enough to keep them sort of fluid. 
I only started learning the second section today though lol..been putting it off for some reason or the other.
I also started off Chopin Mazurka Op.67 4, which is pretty fun.

Edit: bah...lol  I'll leave out the pedal. You get the same effect with a little dynamic change so why bother :)

Offline claude_debussy

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #15 on: December 12, 2008, 09:09:10 PM »
The Goldberg Variations have many, many challenges, of which fingering and hand-crossing are just the beginning.  These, of course, are just tools to create the best, and clearest voice-leading, which this piece demands.

Echoing a helpful suggestion above - I too use the Henle edition, but alter its fingerings and keep my 'real' fingerings copied down in another volume, the Kirkpatrick-Schirmer.

That's because the Henle fingerings, though helpful sometimes, are often too fussy and call for turning the thumb when it's not necessary - simplify and create your own.  Each variation takes a rather deep study before you even begin practicing.

But after a deep study to begin, my experience is I still have to go back and change fingerings, even two or three times, after I've tried what seemed to be the best version at the outset.  Moral of the story: you can't really know until you work with your hands on the music, to see what comes out and what the obstacles are - and to test the results with your ear.

Patience, patience, patience.

On the very difficult passage you're asking about, just before the repeat in Var. I: I carefully worked out a fingering that avoided hand crossing and practiced it for weeks.  I could play it in tempo, but it never really sounded right - the voice-leading and rhythmic emphasis is compromised.  So then I started all over again practicing hand crossing, using the same pattern seen throughout the variation - keeping an octave in one position and turning the 2nd finger over the thumb to play the 10th (don't apply this slavishly either, but it's a clue). 

Keeping accurate voice-leading is everything: hand crossing assures that you'll keep voices clear, which has to be the primary goal of the performer.

The process of trying a 'trick' fingering to avoid crossing and then surrendering to the more difficult hand-crossing original voice leading is, for me, a temptation that I've pursued in several other variations as well, particularly #5, which is very challenging.   

It seemed impossible until I watched Gould's DVD.  That's a big help: watching Gould's DVD and slowing it down frame-by-frame, which doesn't show everything, but gives you a lot of clues.

So far, there is no great 'performing' edition of the Goldbergs with complete discussions of fingering problems and ornamentation.

Btw, if you ornament the Aria according to the established 'rules' of Baroque ornamentation, it sounds all wrong.  No one plays it that way. 

Just another challenge on the steep mountain path offered by this most sublime of keyboard masterpieces.

On harpsichord don't miss Gustav Leonhardt, nor Landowska, who alone (I almost said 'single-handedly') brought the piece back into the mainstream repertoire.

On piano do NOT miss Gould's live 1957 Salzburg performance CD, an Austrian import that's rarely available in the US unless you track it down.  It's the greatest version of the piece ever played on the piano. 





Offline michael_langlois

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #16 on: December 12, 2008, 09:16:37 PM »
Don't forget that this work was NOT composed for a single-manual keyboard instrument like the piano

That may be true for the whole work, but this particular variation is meant for one manual.

ML

Offline kard

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Re: Goldberg variation no.1
«Reply #17 on: December 19, 2008, 05:49:36 PM »
This thread has gathered a great deal of information. I had put off the variation for a while now. I found a teacher in September who of course took me back to the basics. I'm working on Bach- Invention #1 and Mozart- Fantasia in Dmin with him for my music minor auditions in February. Its really interesting to have a regular teacher now. Someone to insist on all the little things. For the longest time, I had always thought of dynamics as optional lol. I will definitely be working with this thread some more when I take up the variations again. There is a video of me performing the variation (still messing up the hand crossing) from October in the audition room.

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,31779.0.html 

I'll be posting my progress with the Bach and Mozart soon.