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Question for someone who knows how to play Goldberg variations aria (Read 356 times)

Offline hiroica

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My question is in regards to the left hand for the first six measures of the piece.  Iím a novice, but can play the whole aria, yet the first six measures are not working.  Iím using the Glenn Gould 1981 as a reference for tempo, phrasing etc.  Iím going to explain my issue as it relates to measure one, but itís also applicable to the rest of the first six measures  (though some more than others).   When I first started playing the piece I mistakenly was playing each notes in the left hand as a quarter note.  So for the first measure, I would play in the left hand a g for one beat, then a b for one beat (I would release the g here), then a d for one beat.  So I was playing one note at a time.  Then I was listening to other recordings and noticed that I had been playing it wrong and that the g should be held for 3 beats , the b for 2 beats, and the d for one beat.  Itís when I starting trying to play it this way that everything went wrong.  Whenever I play it, no matter how softly I play the notes, the first two notes are sustaining way too loudly.  The first measure isnít so bad but measure 5 is particularly bad.  Whenever I hear any recording of it,  I can faintly hear that the notes are all sustaining so that by the time the third note in a measure is played, you are hearing three notes.  But whenever I try to play it, itís awful.  Like I said it just sounds like the by the time I play the d in the first measure, the initial g and b are too loud. It sounds closer to being correct when I just play quarter notes, but that sounds like something subtle is missingÖwhich it is.  Has anyone come across this as a challenge or does anyone have any tips ??
Thanks

Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Bach: Goldberg Variations
piano sheet music of Goldberg Variations


Offline lelle

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My question is in regards to the left hand for the first six measures of the piece.  I’m a novice, but can play the whole aria, yet the first six measures are not working.  I’m using the Glenn Gould 1981 as a reference for tempo, phrasing etc.  I’m going to explain my issue as it relates to measure one, but it’s also applicable to the rest of the first six measures  (though some more than others).   When I first started playing the piece I mistakenly was playing each notes in the left hand as a quarter note.  So for the first measure, I would play in the left hand a g for one beat, then a b for one beat (I would release the g here), then a d for one beat.  So I was playing one note at a time.  Then I was listening to other recordings and noticed that I had been playing it wrong and that the g should be held for 3 beats , the b for 2 beats, and the d for one beat.  It’s when I starting trying to play it this way that everything went wrong.  Whenever I play it, no matter how softly I play the notes, the first two notes are sustaining way too loudly.  The first measure isn’t so bad but measure 5 is particularly bad.  Whenever I hear any recording of it,  I can faintly hear that the notes are all sustaining so that by the time the third note in a measure is played, you are hearing three notes.  But whenever I try to play it, it’s awful.  Like I said it just sounds like the by the time I play the d in the first measure, the initial g and b are too loud. It sounds closer to being correct when I just play quarter notes, but that sounds like something subtle is missing…which it is.  Has anyone come across this as a challenge or does anyone have any tips ??
Thanks

I think you can improve this with some patience and a good strategy! You just need to gain some more control over your fingers.

Do the following with the left hand only:

When you play only quarter notes, without holding the notes, you can play them about as softly as you want, right? Now, play the first note only, the G, as if you were going to play quarter notes. Try to play only this note until you are satisfied with the softness. Then play the note, and hold it for a longer duration, still soft, still as if you are going to play quarter notes. Only when you can do this, try to add the B and play it while holding the G. Kind of trick yourself psychologically into doing whatever you are doing when you are just playing quarter notes and gettign the softness right, but hold the G for a longer duration. Chances are, you'll not be satisfied initially, so try again. Play the G softly as if you were going to play quarter notes, then continue holding it, and try playing the B, until you can play the B with the softness you want while holding the G, and only then play the D. Rinse and repeat for each bar.

You'll have to be a bit methodical with this. And have some patience. Sometimes you'll need a few nights of sleep while practicing like this until your body suddenly starts figuring it out better and better.

Keeping your hand and wrist very relaxed and moving your fingers gently will help.

Let me know if this is useful.

Offline hiroica

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Awesome thank you I will try this :))

Offline lelle

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Let us know how it goes and if we can help you more!