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What is really Johann Sebastian in the Notebook?

The familiar Minuet in G and its partner piece, Minuet in G minor were traditionally believed to have been composed by J. S. Bach. However, recent research points to the German composer and organist Christian Petzold. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Bach Invention in C  (Read 13518 times)
crashtest
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« on: December 28, 2001, 05:18:59 AM »

In the Bach C major 2 part invention, there are mordent signs (or are these trills according to Bach's time?) above the notes in the Henle edition. The sign is above a B, I have been playing that ornament as follows- B-C-B. In the Schirmer edition, that ornament is written out as B-A-B (Inverted Mordent?). I know ornamentation was not standardized in Bach's time, but what is the correct execution of that ornament?  Also, is it better to do the 2 part inventions, then proceed to the 3 part and finally to the well-tempered clavier? Is this a logical way to go?
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piano sheet music of Invention
james_neher
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2001, 07:36:39 PM »

Editions vary in their notating of baroque ornaments, with some older ones agreeing with the way you play your example (b-c-b). However, newer practice is to start such ornaments on the upper neighbor, which would make your ornament c-b-c-b. The first three notes sound like a triplet.  A judge criticized one of my students for playing it the old way, so I have now switched over. - Although learning all 2-part inventions is an excellent plan, I see no reason to rule the others off limits until you have. Why not sample an easier 3-part invention after you have learned 6 or so 2-part inventions.  At that point you would also be equipped to begin working on WTC (Book I E-minor or D-major, for example).  I believe Bach addresses a wide range of abilities; that is part of what makes these volumes such a treasure.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
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Best wishes...Jim Neher, teacher/administrator
crashtest
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2001, 07:01:59 PM »

So would that c-b-c-b trill be played over the 2 notes in the bass, or does its time take up only one note ?(In the left hand)
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dinosaurtales
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2001, 03:50:09 AM »

Ew.  Good question.  James_neher is correct - there are "new" ways.  I was taught to do the b-a-b way, where the initial b occurs "on" the beat - with the bass note.  This was about 35 years ago.  I would not be surprised that there are more modern interpretations.  
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So much music, so little time........
james_neher
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2002, 07:56:46 PM »

Regarding the synchronization of the ornament with the left hand:  c-b-c goes with the first left-hand eighth note (the f), and the final b goes with the next left-hand eight note (the d).  The results sound like a sixteenth-note triplet followed by an eighth note.
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Best wishes...Jim Neher, teacher/administrator
pianodeanne
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2002, 02:48:50 AM »

Crashtest,
I studied this invention 17 years ago *gasp*, and I remember playing it with the B-A-B.

About the 2-part, then the 3-part, I think you are right.  Seems sensible. Wink
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Praise, praise, praise!!!
androwe
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2002, 12:34:18 AM »

ORDER:
(normally, in order of difficulty)

Inventions, Sinfonias, Suites, Partitas (German suites), Preludes and Fugues, Fantasias/Toccatas etc.

There are many exceptions to the rule, but I believe that this is the considered order of difficulty for Bach keyboard works.

Andrew
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Binko_Binobo
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2002, 06:56:13 PM »

Well, you learn something new every day. I've never even heard of the triplet (c-b-c)-b interpretation of the ornament on the b. I've only been aware of the c-b-c and b-a-b approaches.

Anyhow, I've learned it as b-a-b, and that seems to make the most sense melodically to me. I have a hard time believing Bach wanted that line ... G-C-B-C to be played: G-C-cbcB-C or G-C-cBc-C. It just doesn't feel right and doesn't sound as good as the more turn-like interpretation. But with Bach, there is always room for dispute in regards to ornamentation, so play what sounds good to you.

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Binko_Binobo
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2002, 06:59:39 PM »

Of course I meant "b-c-b" not "c-b-c" in the first graf.

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Binko_Binobo
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2002, 07:01:16 PM »

SIGH....and in the second paragraph, as well....
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Binko_Binobo
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2002, 08:39:55 PM »

Hmmm...not to be holding a dialog with myself or anything, but I've found some audio recordings of a recent master class held by a concert pianist whose name escapes me, and he seems to support the c-b-c-b (per james' suggestion.) He recommended playing the initial C slightly before the beat.

Like I said, you learn something new every day.
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Karin
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2002, 01:00:43 AM »

From my book, the 1st trill is cbc b (the cbc a tripolet).  I'm quoting a footnote:

"ALL manuscripts show a TRILL here.  The mordent on this note, which appears in the Busoni edition, the Czerny edition and the Mason edition, is withoust foundation. "

I cannot credit my quote, the cover of my book is off.

Karin

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Karin
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2002, 12:53:42 AM »

It's me (Karin) again.  Found a cover sheet to my book so I can properly reference it:  J.S. Bach An Introduction to his Keyboard Music, Willard A. Palmer, Editor

I just listened to it http://www.classicalarchives.com/bach.html and it seems different there

On another note  Wink my sister in law says that if you can play this piece you can play anything with the counterpoint going on

Karin
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janice
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2002, 01:41:39 AM »

Speaking of Bach Inventions,you absolutely MUST check out the Willard A. Palmer edition (I also have his edition of Bach's WTC). In this edition, the suggested ornament articulation is printed above EVERY ornament!  It's awesome!  This is especially good for those who haven't had much experience with ornaments.  I love it, because I don't really have to think when I play Wink!  But it also has markings for suggested phrasing and dynamics (oh no!  You shouldn't use dynamics in Bach's stuff!  That's a SIN and you'll received 20 lashes with a wet noodle!!!) Wink  Seriously, check it out.  About twice the price of a Schirmer (he's SO generic!), but worth it!--Peace, Janice
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pianodude
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« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2004, 10:53:51 PM »

I agree with Janice. In my case, I do not have any teacher and also do not have a solid music theory background. Therefore, I need somebody to tell me how to play all those weird things. Fortunately, there is Palmer edition. Otherwise, I won't be able to play the trill or mordant etc correctly.  Tongue
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xvimbi
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2004, 12:27:55 AM »

If you get the "Introduction to Bach's Keyboard Music" by Palmer, you'll find a page with Bach's original instructions on how to play all ornaments but the easiest ones (e.g. the Schleifer/slide, I believe).

If you get Palmer's edition on the 2- and 3-part inventions, you will find a table with the speed that several editors suggest and several performers used. It's mindboggling! I believe there is an invention that Gould plays with MM=240 for the dotted quarter note, while Schiff is playing MM=80, or something like that. Since there are no metronome markings in Baroque, you can choose any speed you like!

There is a lot of info on the web. E.g.,  check out:

http://homepages.kdsi.net/~sherman/WTC.htm

Another thing: the inventions were written in a different tuning scheme. That's why there are only 15 inventions, not 24. To play all that correctly, you'd have to re-tune your piano, but it sounds fine as it is. Check out:

http://www.eunomios.org/contrib/francis1/francis1.html

Of course, everyone nowadays uses dynamics with Bach. Some even argue that, because of that, one doesn't need all those ornaments anymore, because they were intended to draw attention to certain notes. On a piano, this can be done with dynamics, rendering ornaments obsolete.

Don't start a flame war now, please.
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faulty_damper
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« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2004, 11:12:12 AM »

Yes, Bach wrote out all the ornament markings to the introduction to the Well Tempered Clavier.  All trills should be executed starting with the note above.

If there is a trill above the b, then it should be executed c-b-c-b.

However, there are a few situations that it should not be played starting with the note above especially if the tempo slows down and an extra note speeds the tempo up.  Example:  WTC2 Prelude in F-, final measure.
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jlh
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« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2004, 08:44:03 AM »

Quote
ORDER:
(normally, in order of difficulty)

Inventions, Sinfonias, Suites, Partitas (German suites), Preludes and Fugues, Fantasias/Toccatas etc.

There are many exceptions to the rule, but I believe that this is the considered order of difficulty for Bach keyboard works.

Andrew


Don't forget the Goldberg Variations... they were originally for 2 keyboards, but playing them with only 2 hands certainly makes them tedious to learn.
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