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Tutorial: Shared ideas about practicing J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor (BWV 784) Videos

As I observed an 11-year old student work on this Invention at lessons, I came up with some ideas to improve the performance landscape. These included an awareness of the dualism of rolling arpeggiated 16ths and detached 8th notes in the opening. More often than not, the arpeggios can sound too flat if the whole arm and flexible wrist aren’t enlisted. And it’s easy to short shrift the 8ths and not be attentive to their definition and resilience that permeate the Invention. The subject extends from the opening arpeggio through the 8ths and is in a counterpoint relationship of two voices.

I have an older play-through of this composition rendered on my Steinway piano that I’ve added as a second video. I should really catch up, and play on my Haddy Haddorff so it matches up with the piano used in this lesson.

Approach: Separate hands, shape phrases, experience each voice independently before interacting with the other. (Realize the dynamism of each voice as it relates, overlaps, and is engaged in dialog/counterpoint)

Slow, behind tempo practicing is recommended. Be aware of sequences, modulations, resolutions, and the drive to the peak of the piece where the voices/hands converge starting in measure 19.

Play through on the Steinway grand:

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