A recent Skyped piano lesson to London, England, brought home the ins and outs of teaching Bach’s 2-part Invention in C Major, BWV 772. Across a vast ocean, my student and I unraveled the genius of Johann Sebastian by examining his SUBJECT theme, and how he put it (and bits of it) through a series of clever manipulations. (Evelyn Glennie, world class percussionist, asserts that what we don’t SEE in a score, whether it be associated with Bach, Mozart, et al, is what we must NOT ignore)
Yet, having an eyeful of Bach’s two-page composition, can yield a treasure trove of insights that make a throw fate to the wind, inspirational, idealized performance a reality. No one can really wing it, without an adequate cognitive, affective, and physical foundation.
Invention 1 packs so much into so little. That is, the economy of two pages, does not bar the composition’s complexity.
Some words to throw around: Counterpoint, or independent voices interacting; Imitation, self-explanatory; Inversion (playing the subject, or pieces of it, backwards, or inverted) Augmentation: lengthening the subject’s note values, or just a portion of it–likewise, inverting it.
Sequences: the same melodic or bass idea, played up a step, skip, whatever–or down, with a certain symmetry.
Modulations: transitions to different keys.
The above are explored in two videos attached:
SKYPE lesson in progress
Play through in tempo: