Sunday, February 7, 2010

"All Thumbs - Bach Redux"

Those of you who have studied the fine art of piano (shudders, heart palpitations, nervous jitters) will remember the wonderful "Prelude & Fugue in c minor" by J.S. Bach.

When I was a young piano thumper, I loved playing and learning the Bach "Preludes & Fugues" - they are really a very special group of pieces.

I loved the complexity and simplicity that is so Bach. Two seemingly diametrically opposed conditions were magically apparent in his work.

Physically, I loved the tactile feelings of playing Bach in my hands - it just seemed to fit.

I remember learning the original and thinking - "This is really about a physical balance between the extremes in the hand - pinkie vs thumb." You had to hold your hand just right in order to achieve that balance and also to enable your hands to essentially fly through all those sixteenth notes evenly.

In "All Thumbs - Bach Redux" I have attempted to take the essential movement of the piece - rapid sixteenth notes - and pretty much make it all about the the inside thumbs in both hands. (Aside from the opening notes and general feeling, Mr. Bach and I have parted company in a big way!)

Both hands gradually move closer together and then further apart - but the thumbs collide! It is in this collision that we get the insistent 'pinging' of pitches that almost becomes a de-facto melodic line.

In the old days, when I was learning to keep rhythm and pulse steady at the piano, I would be constantly scolded by teachers for gradually picking up speed towards the end.

Not an uncommon problem for young pianists who just want to have fun!

Here, in "All Thumbs - Bach Redux," I have written that problem into the piece. You have to gradually pick up speed to be able to do it right! (Take that Mrs. Rogers!)

Just a simple technical exercise that uses 'mirror' harmonies, a thumping of thumbs and a faulty ticker.


Robert Ian Winstin

Stats: Blog Views to Date (February 6, 2010): 4626 | Sheet Music Downloads to Date (February 6, 2010): 5521

Get the Sheet Music at:

Tomorrow? "Blues Etude #1"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! If your comment was positive - I love you. If it was negative - Grow a brain!