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 Post subject: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:33 pm 
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Hello,

I'm wondering if anyone can help me construct a list of Bach's English and French Suites and Partitas in rough order of difficulty. I am trying to choose music for an advanced student and I don't completely trust my own assessment of difficulty for music I have not played. When choosing Bach for myself I am routinely way off in how long I think it will take me to learn.

I have a few graded lists of repertoire, but none include the suites or partitas as whole works; they only include isolated movements. Difficulty can vary a lot from one movement to the next. And part of the difficulty is just dealing with the length -- learning 30 minutes of music is a different task from learning one allemande!

Let's use a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is equivalent to the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (learning the whole work), 5 is equivalent to learning three preludes and three fugues chosen randomly from the WTK, and 10 is equivalent to the Goldberg variations (learning the whole work).

I'll rate the pieces I've actually played as a whole:
English Suite no. 2 in A minor BWV 807: rating 6
Partita in B flat BWV 825: rating 4

Feel free to argue with my ratings as well as to add your own.


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
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Location: Netherlands
Oh but this will be so subjective. What is difficulty ? What comes natural to one may be daunting for someone else. For example you rate the B flat Partita only 4, but I find that Gigue, despite its apparent simplicity, one of the hardest things in all Bach. Likewise, I find the Prelude of the 2nd English Suite very tiring and demanding. Not sure it makes sense to rate a suite/partita as a whole, as it's individual movements that really stick out. I do believe the Partitas are generally harder than the English Suites,
which in turn are generally harder than the French Suites. Which is probably just stating the obvious, as well as contrary to what I said before that :)

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:59 am
Posts: 261
Of course this will be subjective. I'm not asking for something to turn into a stone monument (or even university curriculum). I'm just looking for the insight of people who have played pieces I haven't played to help give a general idea of difficulty. Difficulty evaluated overall -- technical issues plus voicing plus everything else. People will probably have some differing opinions, as what comes easy to some doesn't come easy to others.

My opinion of that Gigue may be biased because I learned it in the course of Suzuki book 5 (it's been moved to 4 now!) which was, well, over 20 years ago now, and I've played it regularly over the years so perhaps it seems easier than it really is.


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:12 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8501
I have not played the pieces, but I have a book that has some information on them. The book is Maurice Hinson's, "Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire". I've scanned four pages that list all Suites and Partitas and saved them as a pdf file. You can access the file with this link:

http://rapidshare.com/files/1500998197/ ... %20pdf.pdf

The letters at the end, I, M, or M-D stand for Intermediate level, Moderately Difficult, and Difficult.

Hope this helps... :)

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:37 am 
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Thanks Monica! Sounds like it would be a helpful list if only I could see it. Would you mind turning on download permission?


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
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Oh sorry, Heather. I thought anybody could just click on the link and then download the file. I'm not sure how to turn on download permission. I just poked around on my RapidShare account and clicked on buttons, etc, so please let me know if it works now...

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
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Here is another way.....just a plain attachment.


Attachments:
Bach info pdf.pdf [1.94 MiB]
Downloaded 592 times

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com
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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:22 pm 
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Thank you! This is indeed helpful.
Heather


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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:43 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Good one Monica.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:59 am
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Ooo, the music library nearest me has that whole Hinson book. That's going to come in useful in the future.


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