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Playing Bach on the Piano

January 1, 2013

I have a problem with unwanted accents in my playing – Hal Galper talked about this in one of his videos and noted that one should practice jazz lines as if playing Bach. I did some Google searching and came upon this excellent article on playing Bach – the author (Martha Beth Lewis) talks about the problem of unwanted accents – ‘unattractive thumps’ indeed!:

For example, in Bach’s Invention #4, in the RH in measure 2, be careful on that C-sharp. After it comes a lift because of the leap that follows. In playing, be careful not to emphasize the C-sharp by thinking of it as a staccato note. It is, instead, a thirty-second note followed by a thirty-second rest. (Another reason that C-sharp might get more punch than it should is that you are playing the note with a strong finger – – the thumb – – as well as approaching it from a high note, so that you work up a good head of steam on your way "down" to the C-sharp with a strong finger. This translates into a small accent.

If you are not mindful of this problem when playing Bach on the piano, your playing will be filled with many unattractive thumps.


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