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Difficulty ratings - Bach Suites/Partitas?

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by hreichgott, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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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.
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    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 :)
     
  3. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    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.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    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... :)
     
  5. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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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?
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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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...
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Here is another way.....just a plain attachment.
     
  8. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    Thank you! This is indeed helpful.
    Heather
     
  9. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Good one Monica.
     
  10. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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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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