Saturday, June 23, 2007

Yes, It Has Been Awhile

But the blog isn't dead. Not yet anyway.

I've been practicing regularly but haven't made the time to post about those practice sessions. I haven't had a lesson in several weeks, and won't have one until the first week of July or later. But I've been practicing.

I'm going to talk a little bit about my intermediate piece right now. I've spent more time on it than I imagined I would, but you know how we musician-types get when our perfectionist gene kicks in ...

I'm playing an "easy" Bach prelude in F. It's in a piano book I bought in England, something called "World's Greatest Piano Pieces" or some such, and it has a few dozen "popular" pieces, mostly from early-intermediate to intermediate, with a few late-intermediate pieces thrown in.

The prelude has been a challenge for me. The notes are easy enough--they are mostly broken chords, typical of a Bach prelude. Nearly every measure has some form of an F chord, a Bb chord, or a C7 chord. One good thing about having played piano so long (and having practiced arps and inversions in I-IV-V progressions) is that I really don't have to think about moving from one such chord to another. My hands just sort of do it naturally.

The problem with this prelude, however, is that it calls for six or seven fingers on each hand, and I only have five.

OK, it doesn't really call for that many fingers. But it would be an easier piece to play if I the arps didn't keep jumping by a fifth, even after I've run out of fingers.

So the challenge with this piece has been the same challenge I've faced in previous pieces: figuring out the fingering. Deborah has done a stellar job of helping me to become more confident in my ability to work out my own fingering. Or, I guess I should say, I've become a lot less reluctant to try every fingering pattern under the sun until I stumble upon the one that works best for me. I try to follow the usual arp fingering for much of it, with a few adjustments.

I think I've figured it out. So now I'm at the stage of playing through the whole thing and listening for the patterns and repetitions in the piece, and thinking about the voices and how they work together and apart. (It's not an invention or a fugue, but I think of everything as being in "voices" now.) I guess that's a way of saying that I've moved from "learning" the notes, to working out the fingering, to being able to play the piece smoothly, to where I can really hone in on interpretation and style--the fun part! (Of course, it's all fun.)

What's cool is that I went through all of these steps this week. I've had the intermediate piece for a couple of months, but I've never really looked at it or thought seriously about it until several days ago.

I love Bach.