Piano Forum



Rhapsody in Blue – A Piece of American History at 100!
The centennial celebration of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue has taken place with a bang and noise around the world. The renowned work of American classical music has become synonymous with the jazz age in America over the past century. Piano Street provides a quick overview of the acclaimed composition, including recommended performances and additional resources for reading and listening from global media outlets and radio. Read more >>

Topic: Stems directions on Bach's fugue  (Read 836 times)

Offline carlosvieira

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 1
Stems directions on Bach's fugue
on: May 25, 2022, 02:38:59 PM
I am having a hard time on finding out wich hand should play each voices on Fugue I (BWV 846). If I stand firm to the rule that the stem direction (down to the left hand, up to the right hand), some passages seem impossible to execute.
Sign up for a Piano Street membership to download this piano score.
Sign up for FREE! >>

Offline lelle

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2232
Re: Stems directions on Bach's fugue
Reply #1 on: May 25, 2022, 04:15:10 PM
In a fugue, the stem directions only serve to show you the separate voices, and do not tell you anything about which hand plays what. You'll have to figure that out yourself, though typically what is written in the treble clef will often be possible to play with the right hand, and what is written in the bass clef is often possible to play with the left hand. But sometimes you'll have to use the right hand to play notes in the lower stave and vice versa.

Offline slurred_beat

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
Re: Stems directions on Bach's fugue
Reply #2 on: May 27, 2022, 10:34:27 AM
How do you know when stems directions means which hand and when it means voices? It seems like it's different from different pieces. How do you know??

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 7507
Re: Stems directions on Bach's fugue
Reply #3 on: May 27, 2022, 10:50:04 AM
I am having a hard time on finding out wich hand should play each voices on Fugue I (BWV 846). If I stand firm to the rule that the stem direction (down to the left hand, up to the right hand), some passages seem impossible to execute.
Post the section up and you can get some advice.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.pianovision.com

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3818
Re: Stems directions on Bach's fugue
Reply #4 on: May 28, 2022, 12:30:40 AM
How do you know when stems directions means which hand and when it means voices? It seems like it's different from different pieces. How do you know??

You can't, generally.  There are more or less legible engraving styles, but I think the expectation is that the reader/performer does the work himself or herself in finding out what is best.

I like the Busoni editions for some of Bach precisely because it's easier to read at a glance (ignoring some of the oddities of the romantic style and editorial [IMO] excesses...you can just filter those out pretty easily, especially when comparing to more modern urtext editions), and there are others, but generally it gets easier.

Pencil and paper is your friend, IMHO.

FWIW, there are some useful engravings for free from Peter Billam including of the WTCI C major fugue.  No, I'm not related to him nor is his stuff monetized, AFAIK:  just some handy, remarkably legible scores of Bach, in particular.  Based on Czerny's fingerings, I believe, but much more legible at a glance for sight-reading.

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.
For more information about this topic, click search below!
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert