Preludes, Op.28 (Chopin, Frédéric)
However, they disagree as to which key receives which character:. More recently there has been a series of proposals of temperaments derived from the handwritten pattern of loops on Bach's title page. These loops though truncated by a later clipping of the page can be seen at the top of the title page image at the beginning of the article.
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Nevertheless, some musicologists say it is insufficiently proven that Bach's looped drawing signifies anything reliable about a tuning method. Bach may have tuned differently per occasion, or per composition, throughout his career. Each Prelude is followed by a Fugue in the same key. In each book the first Prelude and Fugue is in C major , followed by a Prelude and Fugue in its parallel minor key C minor. Then all keys, each major key followed by its parallel minor key, are followed through, each time moving up a half tone: The first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier was composed in the early s, with Bach's autograph dated Apart from the early versions of several preludes included in W.
Zum Nutzen und Gebrauch der Lehrbegierigen Musicalischen Jugend, als auch derer in diesem studio schon habil seyenden besonderem Zeitvertreib auffgesetzet und verfertiget von Johann Sebastian Bach. The well-tempered Clavier, or Preludes and Fugues through all the tones and semitones, both as regards the tertiam majorem or Ut Re Mi [i. For the profit and use of the studious musical young, and also for the special diversion of those who are already skilful in this study, composed and made by Johann Sebastian Bach, for the time being Capellmeister and Director of the Chamber-music of the Prince of Anhalt-Cothen.
In the year The two major primary sources for this collection of Preludes and Fugues are the "London Original" LO manuscript, dated between and , with scribes including Bach, his wife Anna Magdalena and his oldest son Wilhelm Friedeman, which is the basis for Version A of WTC II ,  and for Version B, that is the version published by the 19th-century Bach-Gesellschaft , a copy primarily written by Johann Christoph Altnickol Bach's son-in-law , with some corrections by Bach, and later also by Altnickol and others.
Prelude as a theme with variations. Fugue in three voices. Musically, the structural regularities of the Well-Tempered Clavier encompass an extraordinarily wide range of styles, more so than most pieces in the literature. The preludes are also notable for their odd or irregular numbers of measures, in terms of both the phrases and the total number of measures in a given prelude. Each fugue is marked with the number of voices, from two to five.
Most are three- and four-voiced fugues, and there are only two five-voiced fugues BWV and , and one two-voiced fugue BWV The fugues employ a full range of contrapuntal devices fugal exposition, thematic inversion, stretto , etc. Several attempts have been made to analyse the motivic connections between each prelude and fugue,  — most notably Wilhelm Werker  and Johann Nepomuk David  The most direct motivic reference appears in the B major set from Book 1, in which the fugue subject uses the first four notes of the prelude, in the same metric position but at half speed.
Both books of the Well-Tempered Clavier were widely circulated in manuscript, but printed copies were not made until , by three publishers almost simultaneously in Bonn, Leipzig and Zurich. But, with the maturing of the Classical style in the s, the Well-Tempered Clavier began to influence the course of musical history, with Haydn and Mozart studying the work closely. Mozart transcribed some of the fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier for string ensemble: Bach's example inspired numerous composers of the 19th century, for instance in Chopin started composing his 24 Preludes, Op.
In the 20th century Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his 24 Preludes and Fugues , an even closer reference to Bach's model. The best-known piece from either book is the first prelude of Book I. Anna Magdalena Bach copied a short version of this prelude in her Notebook No. Helmut Walcha , better known as an organist, recorded both books between and on a harpsichord. Anthony Newman has recorded it three times — twice on harpsichord and once on piano.
As of , over recordings have been documented,  including the above keyboard instruments as well as transcriptions for ensembles and also synthesizers. Harpsichord performances of various parts of Book I by Martha Goldstein are in the public domain. In March , the pianist Kimiko Douglass-Ishizaka released a new and complete recording of Book 1 into the public domain. Daniil Trifonov performs Chopin Prelude No.
This group is the liveliest. Up tempos, complicated passages, cascades of bright sounds, slight signs of ludic melodies… Each of them is extremely hard to play. They are very calm and quite long compared to the rest of the cycle. Simple and recognizable melodies are opposed by surprising occurrences in the harmony. Mendelssohn wrote of Prelude No. I cannot tell you how much or why; except perhaps that it is something which I could never at all have written. Scherzo usually refers to a fast-moving humorous composition which may be part of a larger work.
Scherzoidal preludes are kept in fast tempos and combine excitement and agitation as well as bleakness and otherworldliness. These preludes are the most solemn and lofty ones. The shortest of all is Prelude No. George Sand wrote of it in her Histoire de ma vie: He was even angry that I should interpret this in terms of imitative sounds. He protested with all his might — and he was right to — against the childishness of such aural imitations. His genius was filled with the mysterious sounds of nature, but transformed into sublime equivalents by musical thought, and not through slavish imitation of the actual external sounds.
Prelude D flat Major op. Its thunderous, stormy character, solemn ambience and explosiveness is interpreted in two ways. Some investigators believe that it was written in , soon after the Russian Tsarist army took Warsaw. Their originality and the composer's innovative approach has changed the shape of preludes as a genre forever. It consisted in introducing the listeners into the key and character of a composition by playing a short, improvised introduction. That means that preludes were almost never played alone, their role remained subordinated to longer compositions.
Preludes seem to represent the most characteristic features of Chopin's music. Fast and light, there are no chordal passages in this piece, but a continuous stream of sixteenth notes. This prelude is giga II-like. Rotation is essential in this prelude and exercises could be done by isolating measures and to work with hands separate on rotation in intervals of fourths, fifths, and sixths; these intervals are found throughout this entire prelude in both hands.
The first measure of each phrase mm. Blocking these measures and then using rotation to play the notes as written will help the student to achieve a comfortable and secure approach to these passages. In addition, blocking the hand with the easier part left hand in mm. Another gigue is the Prelude in A major, Book 2. This one fits in the category of giga I, with consistent triple groupings throughout the piece and imitative counterpoint as texture.
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This prelude is giga I-like. This prelude is a great piece to work on contrapuntal textures.
Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier: Pedagogical Approaches and the Different Styles of Preludes
Despite its three voices, it is not very complex since the counterpoint is imitative, not presenting many different subjects as in a typical Bach fugue. Furthermore, its slower tempo makes it easier for the student to hear through the different voices. Practicing each voice separately is a good strategy for shaping the phrases and especially listening to the sound as it continues through after long note values. The famous Prelude No.
The arpeggiated chords in figure 6 all fit comfortably in the hand and the same type of articulation legato is kept throughout the whole piece. It would be a very good piece for beginner or early intermediate students to improve their touch and sound by practicing legato and evenness. Wrist flexibility and rotation should also be addressed to help with the smoothness of legato along with alignment of the forearm and fingers to improve tone quality.
This prelude presents a free and improvisatory style. Another important aspect that would be very useful when working with intermediate students is the choice of dynamics.
Division of 24 Preludes
Because there are no dynamic marks in this piece and, overall, in any of J. Bach's works , the student could be challenged to choose how to shape phrases based on the harmony.
When working on phrasing, students can practice blocking the chords to develop a more clear sense of the chord progression. The teacher can help by asking questions such as "where do you feel tension? The Prelude in C major from Book 2 is also written in the same free-improvisatory style, almost like an unmeasured prelude. The rhythms Bach writes right in the opening, measures of figure 7 , not repeated in patterns, suggest an attempt to notate, with measures, a free and improvisatory piece of music. This prelude is much more complex than the C major from Book 1, with contrapuntal writing that needs to be carefully addressed and practiced with each hand separately and with a clear idea of where the many overlapping phrases begin and end.
It presents free contrapuntal style. The Prelude in Bb major, Book 1 , is toccata-like. It is a great piece for working on evenness. Practicing hands separate in this case is not ideal since the continuous line is split between hands, and practicing each hand alone could create unwanted accents. Each group of four thirty-second notes, as in measures 1 though the second beat of measure 3 see figure 8a , should be blocked in a way to help the student understand the harmony, seeing groups of notes instead of each note individually.
After becoming comfortable with grouping, and more familiar with the notes, the student should be able to make decisions on how to shape this piece. This prelude is toccata-like. Since there are no indications in the score, the student needs to choose dynamics and whether or not to take some time in specific places based on the harmony and structural points of the piece. The short cadenza-like passages found throughout the second page, demonstrated in measures of figure 8b , of this prelude are good exercises for learning the concept of "cadenza".
Working on shaping cadenzas in short passages like this can be a very useful tool in preparation to playing linger concerti cadenzas. This piece is recommended in preparation for concerti cadenzas. The Prelude in C minor from Book 2 is an example of two-part invention. Hands separate practice is ideal since hands will be trading roles between having the melody and providing accompaniment.
Rotation exercises in thirds would be helpful to apply in each hand separately. Since each beat of the first two measures is composed of chords with a neighbor tone, one should play only the real notes of the chord when applying rotation. Also important is to work on the rotation and alignment or "arm supporting the fingers," isolating the two-beat pattern - as in measures This prelude presents characteristics of a two-part invention.
It would be good for the student to be familiar with some of the two-part inventions. Its brilliant opening in the first two measures suggests a tutti followed by the soloist in measure 3. Later in the piece, measures for instance see figure 11b , it seems there are two soloists alternating with the tutti, perhaps a violin and a flute. This prelude has different sections, some sounding like little cadenzas in the middle of the concerto, others sounding like solos or tutti.
The student should definitely take advantage of this aspect to create different colors and contrast within the piece.