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Difficulties with Bach Invention No 8 (Read 2988 times)

Offline svensknavi

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Difficulties with Bach Invention No 8
« on: May 06, 2018, 09:53:25 PM »
Hello. So, I've been assigned to work on Bach Invention no 8 by my piano teacher, and for some reason, I'm struggling immensely on it. For some background, I've previously worked on Nos. 1, 4, and 13 as well, all being able to get the notes within a couple of weeks and polishing of them in the following weeks. However, with no. 8, I just cannot, to save my life, play it hands together. I can play hands separate at speed, or close to, with most of the notes memorized. But once I try to go hands together, I'm just barely managing to get through the second measure, and 3rd measure I just cannot even do at a speed faster than about 20-30 BPM.

Anyone familiar, either themselves or a student, having particular trouble with this invention, or ideas why it might be so much more of a struggled than other inventions?

Sheet music to download and print: Inventions by Bach



Offline drkz4ck

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Re: Difficulties with Bach Invention No 8
«Reply #1 on: May 07, 2018, 04:14:27 AM »
Invention no 8 was much harder for me too. I had done only number 1 before, and the difficulty in no 8 for me was the left hand, which was much harder.

I can't give tips specifically for this piece, but I might suggest some practice tactics.

Of course, I don't know what you have already tried, so I'll just give my best bet:

* Starting is slow, so don't bother with tempo right now. It's important you get the notes right, and you must know that tempo might escalate really quickly after a while.

* About these first measures, can you play them separately? If you're struggling with tying sections together you can practice the transition beteween them (like last 2 beats of bar 1 to first 2 beats of bar 2)

* Try to move on. Getting obsessed over one spot actually might cause more mistakes. I usually try to go through a little, just once, to get more familiar with what's yet to come. I'll be more prepared for the rest in the future (tomorrow, the day after) and in the mean time my brain can proccess what I've worked on today.

* Get a breather, try different stuff, go for a walk, eat something, even for just a little while. When you come back you can reevaluate what you're gonna work with. A night's rest usually makes things easier for me.

Well, I'm sorry if this is all too trivial for you, but I hope there's some value for you in it.
Also, it is difficult, but definitely possible, and totally worth the effort =)

Offline tenk

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Re: Difficulties with Bach Invention No 8
«Reply #2 on: May 08, 2018, 04:50:03 PM »
I'm a bit confused.

Four years ago, you posted
Hello everyone. So I'm currently working on the third movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, and I'm up to where the alberti bass comes in. My teacher and I were supposed to go over the technique for alberti today but due to a snow storm had to cancel, so it'll be a while before getting together again.

Followed by
Hi guys. I'm currently working on the Winter Wind etude (very slowly, of course), and I'm just wondering what a good way to mentally subdivide the the arpeggio sections (such as bars 9-12).

But now
Hello. So, I've been assigned to work on Bach Invention no 8 by my piano teacher, and for some reason, I'm struggling immensely on it.

You were playing Moonlight 3rd movement (under the guidance of your teacher), Winter Wind arpeggios (at any speed), but are struggling with Invention No. 8? I'll grant that learning Bach is quite a bit different than Beethoven or Chopin, but still...


Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Difficulties with Bach Invention No 8
«Reply #3 on: May 18, 2018, 12:17:02 AM »
I can't speak to Invention No. 8, but I"m working on Invention No. 9.  

I'll just convey in this posting what my teacher advised me regarding practice:

. Practice from the back forwards, i.e., start with the last measure and move back measure by measure.

. Do this hands alone, till the "music is in your fingers."

.  If you find yourself struggling, ask yourself:  1) Is it the notes or 2) the fingering or 3) the rhythm

.  Fix those troublesome spots hands alone before you put things together

.  When you put things together work on the recurrent motifs first.  That's usually the beginning and towards the end.  

. At this point, you have the music in your fingers, you've worked out the most troublesome parts, so you're putting together the sections which have the most "clarity" (I'm just calling it that..but the part you can hum..), together first.

. Then move onto the sections where the motif is being developed (this is what I colloquially call "The Part Where Papa Bach Messes with Your Mind.") and repeat the process from the first step above, if need be.

GL.  I've played Mozart sonatas, Chopin etudes, Schubert but far and away, Bach challenges me the most.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Difficulties with Bach Invention No 8
«Reply #4 on: May 18, 2018, 11:18:48 AM »
People are so different. I was assigned #8 very early, probably my third year and my first year with a trained teacher.  I had no trouble with it and recital that spring went over very well since I was about the size of a munchkin and could still pull the "cute" string in ladies.  
#8 is very like some of those Schmitt exercises I did to reconnect with my injured finger 3, only the thumb is on F instead of middle C.  I highly recommend the Schmitt exercises, they do a lot to gain control of the neglected fingers 4,5, and in my case, 3.  I used to do them while reading a novel on the music rack.  They should be that automatic after the first or second day.
So if you can do #8 without mistake at 20 bpm, do that over and over.  Read a novel at the same time.  Piano is supposed to be done with the lower brain, like athletes catch or throw a ball (which I could never do).  If you make a mistake, slow down and try again.  I don't care if you are at 1 bpm, play perfectly or don't play at all.  That was my teacher's method, and it has worked for me.  
All that analysis?  I start at the beginning and work to the end.  I don't even think about expression or chord structure or anything until the notes are down.  Then one can be emotional about the music, in the learning phase it is just mechanical, like programming a power loom.  Holes in the paper strip, impressions on the lower brain, it is just a program.  
That's the way I do it.  Your results may vary, some people can't do anything without a lot of emotion involved. But your concious brain, your focus, is getting in the way of your inner brain, the part that moves the muscles.  Get your fingers out of your conciousness, the notes come too fast for the amigdula to be in control.