Sunday, July 16, 2006

Now the Fun(?) Begins!

As I mentioned in my last post, my piano teacher (Deborah) said it's time for me to start putting my hands together on the fugue.

Sigh. I was afraid of that. And it sounded so nice hands-separately.

But first ... she said to pick out the section I considered the most difficult, and to start by tackling it.

OK. Not an unusual approach to learning something.

So I picked out measures 17-19. It's physically impossible for me to maintain every complete held note in this section, and it will continue to be until I get my hand-stretching machine from eBay (heh). It's a scary, scary section for me; the paper is nearly rubbed through from repeated eraser marks as I changed the fingering and changed it back again (and again, and again ...). I hadn't done the hands-separately mega-drill session on this section yet, so that's what I did today.

Best to ease up to that hands-together thing., don't you think?

I had about an hour available for practicing. I flew through the scales, inversions, and arps (man, are they sounding good!) and went straight to the fugue.

I drilled. And I drilled. And I drilled. (I think I'm starting to sound like a dentist here ...)

The LH isn't bad in this section because it's only playing the bass voice. The RH, on the other hand (no pun intended), is playing alto and soprano, and the soprano is doing all of these wonderful musical arabesques from high held notes to lower notes over an octave down and than back up a sixth, and then up an octave to a high-above held note again. It's really very lovely.

The alto, meanwhile, is not exactly repeating the soprano, but shadowing it. Jumping up a fourth instead of a sixth or an octave. And it's a quarter-beat behind.

Argh. Just thinking about it makes my brain long for something easier to think about--like quantum physics, maybe, or advanced calculus.

Anyway, the RH sounds good. The LH sounds great. Put 'em together, and ...

Oh, my.

I think this is where the fun is supposed to begin.

Stay tuned. I'll be sure and report the moment, which may be a very long time from now, when I can actually play a single measure of this fugue hands-together.

I finished up the too-brief practice session with a run-through of the Liszt. I hate that I haven't been near a piano since my lesson last Thursday, but as they say, poop happens. And a lot of poop has been happening lately.

Stay tuned ... I've slated tomorrow and Tuesday for monster practice sessions (unless more poop happens), to make up for the missed days this weekend.

Today's total practice time: about 60 minutes.


robert said...

No, *No*, NO, Waterfall! Don't ease up on HT. HS is excelent to do, but too much and you'll have the gestures for HS drilled in and HT will be that much harder. You need to be practicing those HT gestures, which only comes from HT.

Your teacher is right in the section choice. In any Bach fugure, someone once remarked, there's always a section where all hell breaks loose. Easy to find, and a big nasty gremlin just waiting for a swat.

It's hellacious business when you're at the point you are now in a fugue, but we've all been there.

Don't stop HS, of course. But even if you just do half a bar HT at glacial tempo, you gotta keep at it.

robert said...

Sorry for the misunderstanding, Waterfall! If not glacial, then how about...the last Ice Age?

The Arpeggist has just decided that the best thing for improving the A-words are...scales in double-thirds. More elsewhere, soon.

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