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BWV 860 - which fingering? (Read 339 times)

Offline morrowless

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BWV 860 - which fingering?
« on: July 30, 2021, 12:49:18 AM »
Prelude in G major, BWV 860 WTC1.
The Alfred/Palmer edition suggests using the thumb to play two consecutive different notes. (D then E). This seems rather unconventional to me. The Henle edition has finger 2 then 1. What is the reason for playing D E with the thumb? Seems impossible and inefficient at fast tempo. Thanks.

Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Bach: Prelude & Fugue, BWV 860 no 15
piano sheet music of Prelude & Fugue


Offline j_tour

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Re: BWV 860 - which fingering?
«Reply #1 on: July 30, 2021, 02:11:11 AM »
Prelude in G major, BWV 860 WTC1.
The Alfred/Palmer edition suggests using the thumb to play two consecutive different notes. (D then E). This seems rather unconventional to me. The Henle edition has finger 2 then 1. What is the reason for playing D E with the thumb? Seems impossible and inefficient at fast tempo. Thanks.

Good question.  FWIW the Peters (ed. by Kreutz) also recommends fingers 2 and 1 in the very first bar.

If I had to guess, it may be that Palmer was trying to impose a particular kind of articulation:  as you can see from the music, it's not absolutely required that perfect legato is even desirable.

It's just one of several options.

Just looking at the piece (it's been a while since I've read it at the keyboard), I can see wanting to give some "texture" to the arpeggios, or at least divide them up as a matter of phrasing.  And moving the hand to repeat finger 1 is certainly going to achieve that effect without any real effort from the keyboardist.

But I could only speculate as to why Palmer insisted on that particular fingering:  your guess is as good as mine, I'm sure, if not better.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline morrowless

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Re: BWV 860 - which fingering?
«Reply #2 on: July 30, 2021, 05:24:49 AM »
Thanks for your input, that makes sense.
On YT I see harpsichordists play this using the 1-1 fingering, at slow tempo that Bach maybe intended it for. But at faster tempo on Piano no one seems to use 1-1.
I think I'll stick to 2-1. 2-1 appears again in bar 1 when I reach F# with 2. So it's not only faster, but easier to remember.

Offline j_tour

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Re: BWV 860 - which fingering?
«Reply #3 on: July 31, 2021, 02:32:13 AM »
I think I'll stick to 2-1. 2-1 appears again in bar 1 when I reach F# with 2. So it's not only faster, but easier to remember.

Yeah, I would say that's the most versatile method.

No, I'm not pretending to be a master of all things at the keyboard, but for me, it doesn't cost anything to use IMHO the more natural fingering, and it leaves one's options open.

There may be some obscure tradition W. Palmer was trying to draw on, or even just for a pedagogical reason (which is reasonable, you know, to get a student used to moving the hand entirely, perhaps).

So I looked at the fugue again, which I only vaguely remembered, in addition to the prélude which is the subject of your OP.

Well thank you very little, now I'll have to read this set from WTCI again.  I might get around to playing it in the next two months off the page.  ;D

Actually, it's a pleasure, so thank you.  I'm just so lazy.

;D
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.