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Topic: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

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  1. #1

    New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    To learn, enjoy and get used to the sound and way of playing the Harpsichord and of course J.S. Bach's Kunst der Fuge, I started to do that marvellous piece for Harpsichord.

    I only have a pianoscore of those pieces and am trying to get the performance as realistic as can be for the Harpsichord [please Terry Dwyer, have a closer look at the whole project!]. I am not a harpsichordist, but a pianist.

    Shall I go on with this project, that certainly will take several weeks to accomplish? For now I managed to get the first two on MP3, including the score (made with Overture). I will append scores to those two existing ones, so that at the end you will have the full score book, including the music.

    Please your comments. [I noticed that the voices are in different colors - must be a feature in Overture I wasn't aware of].

    Just click here.


    Raymond

  2. #2

    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    Raymond,

    This a huge project that you are undertaking ! The harpsichord is not an easy instrument to play "interestingly". The lack of dynamics forces one to turn to phrasing and articulations in order to create musical interest. This is especially true in order to also get clarity within the layers of voices in these fugues.

    Good luck. You are off to a great strart.... 12 more fugues and four canons to go.........
    Kind Regards

    Louis Dekker
    My Music Site

    Pour être grand, il faut avoir été petit.

  3. #3

    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    Quote Originally Posted by LouisD
    .... 12 more fugues and four canons to go.........
    Sigh, I know. And it is complicated writing... to keep track of the right voices.

    Raymond

  4. #4

    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    Hi, Raymond

    Oh my but you're always working on something interesting - I really admire that.

    Which Box option did you use to get that display? - Just a link to a folder I guess, so its entire contents are listed? I've never seen an option that didn't include a player for instant playback - I had to download. No problem, it was quick.

    Fuga 1 is playing again as I write. It's sounding top-notch to me. You must be pretty happy with this, surely? And I understand you thought of the project as a way to learn and enjoy - great!

    Interesting as Bach can be with the little twists and turns of melody and counterpoint, I get impatient with the constant onslaught of 8th notes and his mathematical meanderings. In small doses I enjoy, in larger doses and my interest flags quickly. - Just a side note about how shockingly disrespectful I can be!

    But what I Do respect is your dedication to music that touches you. Wonderful project.

    Randy B.

  5. #5

    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser-
    Hi, Raymond

    Oh my but you're always working on something interesting - I really admire that.

    Which Box option did you use to get that display? - Just a link to a folder I guess, so its entire contents are listed? I've never seen an option that didn't include a player for instant playback - I had to download. No problem, it was quick.

    Fuga 1 is playing again as I write. It's sounding top-notch to me. You must be pretty happy with this, surely? And I understand you thought of the project as a way to learn and enjoy - great!

    Interesting as Bach can be with the little twists and turns of melody and counterpoint, I get impatient with the constant onslaught of 8th notes and his mathematical meanderings. In small doses I enjoy, in larger doses and my interest flags quickly. - Just a side note about how shockingly disrespectful I can be!

    But what I Do respect is your dedication to music that touches you. Wonderful project.

    Randy B.
    Randy

    All you have to do is click on the little speaker at the beginning of the piece.

    One of the things I have always enjoyed about Bach is his Mathematical Wanderings. But then, what do you expect from a Mathematician?

    Raymond

    This is a huge undertaking. These are both wonderful renderings and if you enjoy doing this, who cares how long it takes?

    Well done


    Ron

  6. #6

    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    I'll wait for comments from harpsichordists of how to improve (if necessary) the sound. Of course I go on, but I won't notify you over and over again when some pieces are ready (only once in a while). This project is also a study for my own musical benefits.

    In the meantime, thank you for the kind words.
    Randy, Bach must be learned. In particular these pieces. When I first heard them, played by an orchestra (conducted by von Karajan) I rejected them, found them bouring. So I gave away my vinyl recording to another musician who was very pleased to get them. Now years later, and much much matured (ugh!!) I like them (at least I believe so, KEP).

    Raymond

  7. #7

    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    FYI, I found a few errors in the score (and also in the MP3).

    In Fuga I:

    In measure 8, the first quarter note is written as F but should be E.

    In measure 36, the low G half-note that begins the measure should be tied to the eighth-note that follows it.

    In measure 40, the eighth-note low C that ends the measure should be C#.

    In measure 77 (second from last measure of the piece), the 8th-note G that ends the measure should be tied to the 8th-note G that begins the following measure.

    In Fuga II:

    In measure 136, the B-flat half note that begins the measure should (probably) be tied to the dotted eighth that follows it.

    In measure 140, the E-flat half note that ends the measure should be tied to the dotted eighth that begins measure 141.

    In measure 146, I believe that the 16th-note G near the middle of the measure should probably be tied to the dotted eighth that follows it.

    In measure 149, I believe that the half-note D that begins the measure in the bass should be tied to the dotted eighth that follows. Ditto for the B-flats in measure 150. Ditto for the half-note G that ends measure 157 and the quarter-note that begins measure 158, and the quarter note A that ends measure 162 and the half-note A that begins measure 163.

    Finally, the low A 16th-note that ends measure 167 (the second-to-last measure of the piece) should be a G.

    Hope I'm not being too picky...

  8. #8

    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    I'm a pianist as well, not a harpsichordist. So I can't really speak for the technical aspects. But I certainly enjoyed these two pieces very much. I'm going to keep hold of them in my favorites, if you don't mind. And if you feel like doing more in this project, I would love it!

    My personal preference is for more pronounced ralentandos along with longer sustains on the cadence notes that they lead to. But then I'm always one to lean hard on such chords and savor the moment!

    This made for a very enjoyable listen - well done and thank you.

    Owen

  9. #9
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    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    Raymond -
    Fine start on a massive project. Perhaps the discrepancies that Andrew mentions are merely the differences in the published editions. Many of Bach's works have slight variations from edition to edition because the source materials used for a particular edition vary in their explicit content.

    May I presume that you used the Garritan GPO harpsichord? If so, it is sampled from a Hubbard harpsichord. I built a big Hubbard harpsichord many years ago. I'm not even a keyboard player, but I wanted to try to learn to play keyboard and since I was involved with 'early' music groups and I had a strong interest in the harpsichord, it seemed like a worthy project. After two years of diligent practice, I decided that I wasn't getting anywhere and that I was too used to playing one note at a time and having all of my fingers work together to produce that one note.

    Anyway, my teacher was a renouned harpsichordist and researcher. So from hearing her play and listening to what she had to say about the 'proper' way to play the harpsichord, I think that I still have some insights into its peculiarities that most people don't have. I would certainly defer to someone who is a harpsichordist, though.

    The technique for striking the keys is different for a harpsichord than for a piano or organ. Many people, of course, play a harpsichord that are trained pianists or organist, but you can hear the difference when a 'real' harpsichordist plays. That is one reason, I feel, that its sound cannot be reliably reproduced (except in a recording).

    John Sankey was a noted harpsichordist and 'recorded' many works for various MIDI collections (ALL of Scarlatti's Sonatas and an awful lot of Bach, plus more). I quickly looked to see if I could find where he did the Art of Fugue, but, apparently he didn't. I did see (on his website) where he feels that it was written for pianoforte, though. If true, that would cast a different light on things. Mr. Sankey also made an SF2 sound file of his harpsichord. It is the most realistic sounding harpsichord file that I have ever heard - down to the weird twang that the plectora make as they release from the string, and the thud of the jack against the rail as it tops out. I don't know if you can use SF2 files (in Overture?), but if you can (or anyone who can use SF2 files), try to find the "ross.sf2" file. I think that I got it from John Sankey's website.

    So, I would say that the main difference between playing a piece with a harpsichord vs. with a piano or organ is that it is expected that the harpsichordist will use far more frequent and elaborate ornamentation than players of the other keyboards. That is what makes the harpsichord 'shine'. But, one can go overboard, too. The principle to follow, as my teacher oftimes said, "everything in 'good taste' ". (But "good taste" is in the "eye of the beholder"). A really fine harpsichordist can get away with doing a lot more than a less accomplished one.

    Maybe you have already done this, but I noticed that the piece was 'dry' as far as ornamentation. Bach didn't write it in (but a few publishers will write some ornamentation into their scores) because in his day, it was just expected that any keyboard player knew what to do and when to do it. Bach, and others, have written some guidance for the use of ornamentation. Many publication of his works have a Preface that includes some of this guidance. But, it can vary from a page with only several examples, to around 20 pages. If you haven't looked at a couple of these guidelines, and you want to really develop the skills necessary to write good harpsichord pieces, then you need to study these texts.

    Hope this adds some perspective. Good luck.

    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  10. #10
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    Re: New Project - Die Kunst der Fuge

    This seems to be quite an undertaking but you are off to a good start. I really don’t know enough about playing the harpsichord to say anything more than I like this. I’m sure you will know a lot more about Bach and Fugue when finished….

    (Like Ron I am a mathematician by schooling, though not by occupation, and love Bach.)
    Trent P. McDonald

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