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Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

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Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by Circle_of_Fists on Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:28 pm

Hi Andrew, (or anyone that might have insight on this)

So, I started learning this Bach piece this week:

http://www.lespartitions.info/gratuites/partitions/pdf/bach-prelude-bwv999-piano.pdf

After a couple of days, I've only managed to memorize about the first half of this thing, and that memorization is sketchy at best. I'm just really having a hard time with memorizing this one. (playing it so far isn't too bad, but it's just so easy to get lost.)

It just simply wanders all over the place. Well, at least to me it does that. I was wondering if it would help with memorization if you could somehow explain this song to us, or put differently, show the chord progression development or some such thing that might help me better understand how this piece is organized. I'm hoping that will make memorization easier.

Or is it better just to say, "This is just how Bach is, deal with it!" Razz

Any suggestions? No
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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by chackyjazz on Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:26 pm

HI.. I really like this song... I am learning it to.

Maybe the problem is in your learning process for a new tune.

Can you comment a litlle about how you approach the learning of a new tune.???

- An specific advice is to make some analisys of the chords you are playing (arpeggios)..... for example Cm, Fm, Bdim/Fm... etc, etc

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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by Circle_of_Fists on Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:39 am

chackyjazz wrote:HI.. I really like this song... I am learning it to.

Maybe the problem is in your learning process for a new tune.

Can you comment a litlle about how you approach the learning of a new tune.???

- An specific advice is to make some analisys of the chords you are playing (arpeggios)..... for example Cm, Fm, Bdim/Fm... etc, etc

Hi CJ, I'm glad you responded!

I don't necessarily think my problem is my memorization process (since I have little trouble with other pieces of similar "difficulty level"). But I'm sure it has to do with the way my (and others, I'm sure) brain works.

I memorize things in patterns. Everything up to this piece has patterns and melody that make it relatively easy to memorize. But this one is throwing me for a loop. (perhaps it's the dry melody?)

The first 12 measures on this one have been no problem. A nice melody, and a pattern I can go with.

Measures 13-18 are starting to lose me, but it's only a few measures, and I can deal with that in small quantities.

Then come measures 19- X (where X < 19).

I don't get them. I don't get music theory yet. They just don't make sense, and don't make a pattern. The groups of notes just wander around like drunken sailors on holiday. I can't make any sense of it, and can't memorize it for the life of me.

Can you help me make sense of the second half of this piece? What is the pattern?

Crying or Very sad
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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by frank on Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:03 am

For the "simple" Bach pieces the rythm is very important and which notes are played more loud. I like this performace:


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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by Circle_of_Fists on Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:13 am

frank wrote:For the "simple" Bach pieces the rythm is very important and which notes are played more loud. I like this performace:


ahhhh.... someday! Very Happy
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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by endre on Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:10 am

Wish I could help you, but I'm just thinking, there are good days and there are bad days Smile
I'm doing some exercises (little tunes) that are going towards hand independence.
I'm struggling with 6 measures since the past 3 days. Smile (well, a half hour to an hour day dedicated to this one). Rh is a simple melody. Lh the same, somewhat similar but not the same, a different note. Together they sound like you put together 2 totally unrelated melodies and try to play them at once, you know when you get the feeling those notes don't match at all. Just can't grasp it because it sounds so weird Smile Funny to see how much impact our brains has over how our hands work. If a melody is simple and the 2 parts complement each other well (this is subjective, too, I think) it is so much easier for me to learn it. If my brain can't get it what's going on my hands don't want to cooperate Smile I read what is there and try to play it but if it sounds good to me, then it's simpler to do it.
Damn modern pieces! Smile

I just wanted to share these thoughts, altho not of any help to you, sorry Smile
It is funny now but yesterday evening after trying the piece for nearly an hour it just exhausted me so much, couldn't believe. I can learn it mechanically but not sure my brain will ever know what's going on. Although if I can survive these I won't be so having much problems with old pieces...

About memorization, I had the exact same problem with some Bartók tune, I learned it eventually, but it took way way longer than anything else just because of the same reasons above, just sounded weird and my ears didn't like it as much Smile

These symptoms are probably normal, just weird for me, since I never had much to do with music, and as an adult it's definitely harder to change your way of thinking.

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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by Circle_of_Fists on Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:56 pm

Glad to hear I'm not alone. Wink

I set this piece aside a couple of weeks ago, and just started on it again the other night. I think I won't make this song my main focus, but just to pick it up every day for just a few minutes and try to passively learn it.

I'll see how that goes. Razz
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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by endre on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:28 pm

Like a charm.
Another very weird thing.
I try I try and I try and doesn't work. Then I am pissed off and quit trying for a couple of days. But as long as I spent some decent amount of time trying (an hour, two, whatever) if I go back to it it will suddenly just go better a bit.
It is really as if I continue learning overnight, if I try hard enough I gain more with time than it appears in that moment when I am practicing.

Give it a rest and I am sure if you pick it up fresh after a couple of days it will be a bit better already Smile

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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by endre on Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:42 am

Not to spam your topic, but in the meanwhile ofc I searched for and listened to this piece. This version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn6fB02xMGE

Love it, listened to it like 20 times past days I think. A new favorite, I guess. Bach can be amazing...
But it looks a bit complicated to play Smile all those 16th notes. But definitely worth it, I'm looking forward to your performance, whenever that may be Smile

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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by frank on Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:40 pm

endre wrote:Not to spam your topic, but in the meanwhile ofc I searched for and listened to this piece. This version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn6fB02xMGE

That's nice. A similar piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckpTdsFIW2o And the comments are right: the timing is perfect! Getting the timing right is really difficult for Bach pieces.

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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by Circle_of_Fists on Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:02 pm

Thanks for all the links. Those versions are great and help me understand this piece a little better. Smile
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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by Circle_of_Fists on Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:18 am

endre wrote:Wish I could help you, but I'm just thinking, there are good days and there are bad days Smile
I'm doing some exercises (little tunes) that are going towards hand independence.
I'm struggling with 6 measures since the past 3 days. Smile (well, a half hour to an hour day dedicated to this one). Rh is a simple melody. Lh the same, somewhat similar but not the same, a different note. Together they sound like you put together 2 totally unrelated melodies and try to play them at once, you know when you get the feeling those notes don't match at all. Just can't grasp it because it sounds so weird Smile

Do you mind filling us in on what this weird exercise was? (I have a guess, but won't divulge unless, of course, I hit it on the nose... Razz )
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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by endre on Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:47 am

Haha Very Happy
It is one of the books I'm learning from. It contains small pieces, many of these made by contemporary composers, for study purposes. Doubt you know it, it's a hungarian book and this is a hungarian composer. Nowadays I learn a lot of these, canon-like, counterpoint-like, or whatever the correct terms are for these methods.

Now I am not sure anymore but I was probably referring to this one (made a photo):

http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/50/76658016.jpg

It's kinda a variation over a simple song. I just had troubles with the first 6 bars because it kinda sounds weird so I had problems learning it, always screwed it up somewhere Smile

Separately it's very simple but together it's so much harder. When left hand is playing just some accompaniment it's so much easier to put them together! Smile

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Re: Help Understanding Bach BWV 999

Post by Circle_of_Fists on Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:08 am

I knew it was that one! What a Face

ok, not really. Razz
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