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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:59 pm 
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hyenal wrote:
As final question, what do you think guys is the advantage of NBA against Henle? Chris mentioned only Henle and Alfonso/Terez only NBA.

I can't compare them but I can say that I find the fingerings in the Henle are nearly always good. I like the look and feel (as well as the smell) of the Henle books. They are very nicely made, especially the clothbound (of which I have only two but I still think they were worth the dough).

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:08 pm 
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hyenal wrote:
@Sarah: Thanks Sarah, but '500 posts' is nothing, compared to Terez' or Alf's over 1000, or Chris' over 6000!!!

Haha... What's in a number. As a rule, one post from Terez or Alf is longer than 10 of mine. :P

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:50 am 
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Perhaps you are just better at condensing your points, Chris. :wink:

Rather off-topic, but I wanted to clear this up:
alf wrote:
Terez wrote:
PS - I have been practicing that Chopin etude, the 25/1, with the metronome on 4 16ths per beat.


FOUR 16ths per beat in the 25/1 means that for example at bar 29 LH plays 2.(6) notes per beat, on the first beat. That is for sure a creative way to use a metronome. :P

Not so creative, really. Chopin wrote four sixteenths per beat in the left hand in some notable passages throughout. Since six-per-beat is intuitive for this etude, four against is slightly counterintuitive. It's simple 2-against-3, but it helps me to even out the polyrhythm, to concentrate (subconsciously) on the submissive division of the beat. I have even more trouble with the f minor t-n etude (3-against-4), so when I was first learning it, I practice the right hand against the metronome on four, and practice the left hand against the metronome on triplets. I don't get dependent on this sort of metronome practice, but it is helpful in establishing the feel of the polyrhythm. I won't be able to use it much longer, as the highest metronome setting doesn't get anywhere near performance tempo at 4-per-beat, but for now, while I'm still learning the notes of the inner pages, I find it a useful tool. I really only concentrate on every other tick, as those align with the 1 and 4 of the 6, but that subdivision is there, working its way into my brain so that I won't have to think about it any more.

OT, on editions: I have always used Bach-Gesellschaft. I have all the suites, inventions/sinfonias, and the Goldberg in a cheap $10 volume from Dover. I have gotten other scores from IMSLP. I just got some Henle editions of a few things, but I chose them mainly because NBA is harder to come by, and I'm not so sure the improvement on B-G was really worth the money I paid.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:45 pm 
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hyenal wrote:
@Chris, Alfonso and Terez:
Thanks for the informations around the edition things! Now I think I have to pay something for good scores... What I have here in Germany is only partitas on Henle. Before I bought it my teacher showed me two scores: Bärenreiter(NBA) and Henle. He recommended the NBA, but said Henle is ok, too. I saw in NBA there is no fingering, so I decided for Henle :lol: It's funny of me that I always have preferred scores with fingering than without it, even though I must change many fingering of it at last. As Terez said, it is still interesting to compare mine with other's. (Thanks for the score example for finger substitions, Alfonso. I think your own fingering for that Gigue (3 instead of 1) very good, of which I didn't think yet)
As final question, what do you think guys is the advantage of NBA against Henle? Chris mentioned only Henle and Alfonso/Terez only NBA.


I still use Henle extensively (now for example: the Italian Concerto), but I'm progressively replacing all my older Bach editions with the Bärenreiter NBA/Dürr (so far, Partitas and WTC). I agree with your teacher, Henle is OK if you cannot find Bärenreiter. I buy my scores at Di-Arezzo's (the German site is: www.di-arezzo.de), they have probably the largest classical catalogue in Europe. Prices are good and if you use the normal postal service the delivery costs 7,50 EUR. For me a good edition means also a quality paper, a quality binding and a quality typography. Henle, Wiener-Urtext and Bärenreiter rank at the top for all those features and cover most of the mainstream piano literature, plus are often less expensive than other alternatives which are often less reliable as well.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:51 pm 
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Chris, Terez, Alfonso, thank all of you very much for the edition informations again! :)
I live in Germany, so here you can buy Bärenreiter and Henle nearly at every local music store. (Dover is hardly to come by, I guess.) But I'll check the prices at the internet store you let me know, Alfonso, thanks!
And this would be between Off-Topic and On-Topic: which edition of Chopin Etudes would you guys recommend? I know the newest edition is Peters Critical Edition and I have one of them (Preludes). But everything is too small printed there and the binding is not so comfortable to use. Maybe this is one of many causes which let me give up to learn them so early :roll:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:26 pm 
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hyenal wrote:
And this would be between Off-Topic and On-Topic: which edition of Chopin Etudes would you guys recommend?


Wiener-Urtext/Badura-Skoda or the new PWM/Ekier. The new PWM/Ekier should be the state of the art of what scholars know about Chopin's music. I have the Preludes and have recently ordered Valses and the misc. works (Berceuse, Fantasia, etc.). They have great commentaries but the typography is poorer compared to WUE, which is also far less expensive. Go for the WUE, I am quite happy with it.

hyenal wrote:
I know the newest edition is Peters Critical Edition and I have one of them (Preludes). But everything is too small printed there and the binding is not so comfortable to use. Maybe this is one of many causes which let me give up to learn them so early :roll:


That's exactly one of my pet-peeves, poor readability.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:29 pm 
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Last I heard, the etudes weren't out yet in Peters. I have been waiting for those, since I work more on the etudes than any other Chopin genre. I'm going to buy it for a study edition because I'm told by several people that it's the best Chopin urtext available, covering all of its bases properly. I spend so little time with the score when learning a piece that readability doesn't affect me much.

Speaking of finger substitution and 4-5 crossing (and do you cross over, or under?), and those last few measures of the organ passacaglia...I have been avoiding working on those few measures, saving figuring out the fingering for later, working on more straightforward things in the manual parts. If I had a real edition, I could cheat, but I don't like cheating anyway. Anyway, I've finally figured out the fingerings, and I'm amazed by how smoothly it all works out. I can't think of a single instance in the simple keyboard music where Bach requires anything close to this amount of legato dense polyphony, but I'm hardly an expert, so maybe Alf knows of something. However, even if this was written for harpsichord, a certain amount of cheating would be nearly undetectable. On organ, you don't have that luxury.

Image

I thought this passage was going to break my fingers when I first tried playing it, but I quite enjoyed figuring out the fingering when the time came. It's like a logic puzzle. :lol: Anyway, it occasionally requires one hand to pick up a note in the other hand's staff, but that is another very common thing for Bach keyboard writing, and not so prominent in this passacaglia as elsewhere, with the exception of one variation that requires it quite a bit:

Image

That one reminds me a good deal of the capriccio in the c minor partita, but really, it's fairly standard stuff for Bach.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:17 pm 
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alf wrote:
Wiener-Urtext/Badura-Skoda or the new PWM/Ekier. The new PWM/Ekier should be the state of the art of what scholars know about Chopin's music. I have the Preludes and have recently ordered Valses and the misc. works (Berceuse, Fantasia, etc.). They have great commentaries but the typography is poorer compared to WUE, which is also far less expensive. Go for the WUE, I am quite happy with it.

Thanks Alfonso for sharing this useful info. Indeed Etudes of PWM kosts about 10 EUR more than WUE!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:28 pm 
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Terez, thank you for this interesting stuff! I tried to find fingerings for the first measures and gave it up on the second bar :lol: If it is not too much work, may I ask you to bother with showing us/me your fingering a bit? (just a couple of measures) I'd like to have more examples of finger crossing which I hardly do (while finger substitution is actually one of my daily things.)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:29 am 
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hyenal wrote:
Terez, thank you for this interesting stuff! I tried to find fingerings for the first measures and gave it up on the second bar :lol: If it is not too much work, may I ask you to bother with showing us/me your fingering a bit? (just a couple of measures) I'd like to have more examples of finger crossing which I hardly do (while finger substitution is actually one of my daily things.)

LOL, easier said than done, but I did it anyhow. It was fun. :lol: There are surprisingly few options in this passage, but there are a few things that might be done differently:

Image

Of course, that switch to 4 in the 2nd measure soprano is not strictly necessary, though it sort of happens automatically sometimes with my hand shape (by the wrist pivoting, which happens a lot in these few measures :lol:), and neither are the switches in the RH parallel 6ths at the end entirely necessary, if you are willing to do some thumb-hopping. I wrote in thumb-hopping in two places in the alto, and 2-hopping in the LH twice. But in the last bit there, it is tasteful and even customary to make a grand ritardando, so the switching is quite possible. Thumb hopping is necessary the last two moves, though, I think.....the break in the bottom note doesn't sound bad at all so long as the top voices are legato. I suppose you could pick up that last G in the LH with the pedal...but I don't know if that is allowed!

PS - If you'd like, I'll finger the other passage later. It seems straightforward enough, but the hand-switching technique is actually fairly counterintuitive.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:13 am 
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Thank you Terez ! It's great to see what others come up with as far as fingering goes.

On this subject - I often have more trouble remembering the fingering than the notes...
Busoni's Bach also has some mean fingertwisters as far as I can remember...

And regarding restarting Bach : I've had the same dilemna, but frankly (please spare me) many of the pieces do not appeal enough to me that I can learn them properly without my teacher making me slave on it. I've yet to play an entire P and F though (I've done Ps, I've done Fs, but never both - go figure)
However, the piano repertoire is something really huge ; I've found delights similar to Bach's in Glazunov, Medtner and sometimes even Scriabin.
Glazunov has that clean lyricism and a lot of polyphony and counterpoint (the 3 études, the piano sonatas - the second one first movement has a lot in common with Bach I find -, just wonderful music).
Medtner I like because you have both chordesque and polyphonic passages ; a great example of that diversity is the Tragica : the first theme has lots of chords, a melody with some minor harmonies with sometime a descending secondary voice on the left hand, while the second theme has four voices (though the thema is cantabile and one voice is marked staccato) and is hell to finger properly (unless you have more than ten of those boys).


Last edited by Teddy on Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:23 am 
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I haven't played any Busoni transcriptions, so I'm not going to try to make a comparison, but the thing I like about Bach's finger-twisters is that they are graceful, perfectly constructed technique, not to mention graceful, perfectly constructed counterpoint....the two happen to work together in a graceful, perfectly constructed way. It really is dancing. Bach's writing is every bit as idiomatic for the limited range polyphonic keyboard technique as Chopin is idiomatic for the piano. I feel like a lot of composers who write difficult music have awkward technical situations where the solutions are not all that artistic.

Also, I realized that on the first beat of the last measure, in the RH, I tend to slide rather than substituting: particularly there, the substitution would be illogical. All of the repeat finger situations are slides except for the last two in the alto, where an actual hop is required from the E-flat to the F. From F to G is not so bad, but still not really a slide for my hand shape. And also the 2-2 from F to G in the left hand.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:40 am 
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It's true that once you've mastered some of the finger twist moves, it is really fun to play. But I wouldn't say they are graceful, especially when learning it : often when playing Bach (or similar fingerpuzzles) I wonder if that's really meant to be played that way because I feel so awkward, though it ends up feeling natural.

One other thing I hate (or rather have trouble with) is practicing voice separate while keeping the "final" fingering. This goes not only for Bach, but also for most composers. I can never manage to remember the fingerings I use hands together (I usually practice without the sheet).
Fingering is also, usually, the first thing I forget in a piece, and my biggest cause of memory lapse during performance. You're playing fine and then you play a chord or a note correctly, but with the "wrong" finger, and then you just can't get back from there.
I was playing the Prokofiev first sonata for friends a while ago, and had to restart shortly after exposing the first subject (which is really nothing hard) : for a reason I play a lot of works in F minor (or C minor, simple yet emotionnal keys in my opinion !) and fingered a chord wrong, and couldn't for the life of me remember how it went after that (you know it has that chord and that chromatic line, but you just can't play it - attempting to do so will, in my experience, result in an awful sounding failure ; when it happens I just silence a few voices and sing the melody until it all comes back to me).


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:48 am 
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Teddy wrote:
It's true that once you've mastered some of the finger twist moves, it is really fun to play. But I wouldn't say they are graceful, especially when learning it : often when playing Bach (or similar fingerpuzzles) I wonder if that's really meant to be played that way because I feel so awkward, though it ends up feeling natural.

You said it yourself, at the end. Bach's technique is not awkward at all - only counterintuitive. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:18 am 
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Terez, this is an organ piece. You don't play legato sixteenths on an organ, it would sound a mush, except perhaps on a small organ with 4" stops max. Been there, done that.. There is little point in agonizing over the fingering to achieve a perfect seamless legato.

Having said that, the ability to cross any finger over any other one is a very useful one, especially in polyphonic music, and can often lead to better solutions than finger-substituting.

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