26 September 2012
<p> On this website, you can watch John Maul's video lesson on <strong>Bach's famous C Major Prelude</strong> from the <em>Well-Tempered Clavier </em>Book I. The score appeared in <em>Pianist</em> issue 67. Read some of his tips on the technical aspects of the piece before you start learning</p> ...
J S BACH PRELUDE IN C BWV 846 (Scores, page 30, Pianist 67)
It’s important to keep the semiquavers as even as possible. The crossing from the left to the right hand can be a challenge. It needs to sound seamless. I like to practise both hands staccato. Then try holding the LH minims down but play the next LH note as staccato. (Watch me demonstrate this online.) You could also try out different rhythms. Be careful also with the last semiquaver on each phrase – there is a tendency for it to stick out.
Occasionally you may wish voice certain notes so that they ring out more. For example in bar 20, I like to emphasize the B flat as it’s a very definite harmonic shift. This is essentially just a matter of more velocity on that key. But I also find is helps if I hold that note a little longer.
I prefer to pedal twice per bar although it’s possible to pedal just once. The resonance will of course build more if you decide on the later option.
You’ll hear many versions of this piece, so I really believe that the tempo should fit your mood. For me, crotchet tempo of 70 feels very natural and seems to sit well.
If you have a digital piano, try selecting Harpsichord and play without the sustain pedal. Traditional harpsichords didn’t have a sustain pedal so it’s a good discipline to try playing without. This particular sound is made more authentic by the lack of velocity response, so no matter how hard one hits the key, the same volume will sound. I give my online lessons on Roland’s HP-507.
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