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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Osho
she is singing 6 hours a day.

Is this true? Not an exaggeration?

As a person who has studied voice, I can tell you this is a horrible thing to do!!

Most people would be hoarse after 6 hours of singing. The vocal cords would form nodules.

The only way I can "sing" in polyphony is to do it in my head.

She isn't singing polyphony - she is singing one voice at a time.

My interpretation of what she said is that she is not continuously singing for 6 hours a day. She is playing piano for 6 hours a day and as a part of that she is singing all the voices individually - and again, singing here could be humming etc. They key point is that to memorize Bach's music (and to a certain extent any contrapuntal music), each voice must have its distinct aural memory in your mind. Without that, I find it very hard to memorize Bach music.

Osho

Last edited by Osho; 10/12/20 11:15 AM.

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It helps me to listen to the bass lines and treble lines separately. I also learn these hands separate initially.

I scan or import (from PDF) music using Neuatron PhotoScore and NoteateMe First (free), then use Sibelius First (free) to play only the bass and treble lines. I then record these, sometimes several versions at different speeds, and save to my mp3 player.

Getting the clear picture of the voices helps me put the piece together. For some arrangements, getting a recording this way is needed if there are no audio versions available.

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Right now im in the process of memorizing D major fugue from WTC1. It goes slow, with a lot of practice and patience. So far, 22 bars in a week. It helps a lot to do a very basic harmonic analysis, just writing the chords. In many places it goes in sequences, like descending 3rds, ascending 5vs or whatever. Knowing that ,the task of memorizing gets substantially more rational and easy.

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Originally Posted by Osho
My interpretation of what she said is that she is not continuously singing for 6 hours a day. She is playing piano for 6 hours a day and as a part of that she is singing all the voices individually - and again, singing here could be humming etc. They key point is that to memorize Bach's music (and to a certain extent any contrapuntal music), each voice must have its distinct aural memory in your mind. Without that, I find it very hard to memorize Bach music.

This is where I disagree. It's nice to know what each individual voice sounds like when shaped. But that approach also makes it that much harder to memorize any polyphonic music. Your fingers are not memorizing one line at a time. You're really memorizing one block of notes at a time, mostly done vertically.

My approach to learning Bach evolved over time. The old "bring out one voice at a time" method doesn't work for me. I prefer to think in terms of sections and what music is actually doing in each section. I look for patterns and decide how to make the patterns sound different.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Osho
My interpretation of what she said is that she is not continuously singing for 6 hours a day. She is playing piano for 6 hours a day and as a part of that she is singing all the voices individually - and again, singing here could be humming etc. They key point is that to memorize Bach's music (and to a certain extent any contrapuntal music), each voice must have its distinct aural memory in your mind. Without that, I find it very hard to memorize Bach music.

This is where I disagree. It's nice to know what each individual voice sounds like when shaped. But that approach also makes it that much harder to memorize any polyphonic music. Your fingers are not memorizing one line at a time. You're really memorizing one block of notes at a time, mostly done vertically.

My approach to learning Bach evolved over time. The old "bring out one voice at a time" method doesn't work for me. I prefer to think in terms of sections and what music is actually doing in each section. I look for patterns and decide how to make the patterns sound different.

I guess to each his own. But, for me, it was the exact opposite. I started learning Bach both hands together, one bar after another. And I found that I can learn and memorize the piece - but learning each voice independently and then putting them together made it much easier and also more musical sense to me.

Osho


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I've been seriously wondering about that too.
Although I don't find it to be a bunch of unrelated notes. Not at all. Everything is very well thought-out and matches perfectly.
The problem is a lot of seemingly unrelated, and similar details to memorize.

E.g. if such a simple thing as two contrapuntal voices...with a pedal point, and a few extra harmony notes included, the two voices can be quite independent and not easily recalled from memory. E.g. the lower voice can have two different possible notes, that will work almost equally well, but on closer inspection only one will give the best result. Also, when using that note choice, only one specific fingering might work the best for that specific phrase.

It's a lot of details trying to memorize...and it might not be the best way to memorize with a brute force method.

Rather than going from notation>brain translation>finger instruction>verify with ear>adjust finger instruction from brain, to make it sound the way I want it to be>then brain re-adjust the whole process again, if the end result is not acceptable...

I'm now exploring: Brain memorization of melody, with fingering(learn to sing any line, even away from the keyboard, independently and in any combination. E.g. Omitted voice from piano, in combination of voice from piano, etc.)>keyboard key>musical result. In other words, the shortest and most direct route as possible.
Work out the best fingering and stick to it. Make it a habit.

I've explored this a few days now on a fairly simple piece. Today was the first day that I spontaneously sang the lower voice away from the piano, which is not a natural and easy sounding melody, but more of a musical impression forming a phrase.
I think with more time, I can go directly to the end result, like in my second strategy, and be able to do that with either voice.

This is the way, I think, a way to learn Bach pieces.
Endurance is needed.
Time will tell.


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You can spend the rest of your life looking for music on a sheet of paper. You'll never find it, because it just ain't there. - Me Myself
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Originally Posted by Tom97
Seriously, how?

I know, right?

My answer: through sheer effort at first.

This is why Bach persists through time. It is not a vain effort.


Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
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Originally Posted by Osho
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Osho
My interpretation of what she said is that she is not continuously singing for 6 hours a day. She is playing piano for 6 hours a day and as a part of that she is singing all the voices individually - and again, singing here could be humming etc. They key point is that to memorize Bach's music (and to a certain extent any contrapuntal music), each voice must have its distinct aural memory in your mind. Without that, I find it very hard to memorize Bach music.

This is where I disagree. It's nice to know what each individual voice sounds like when shaped. But that approach also makes it that much harder to memorize any polyphonic music. Your fingers are not memorizing one line at a time. You're really memorizing one block of notes at a time, mostly done vertically.

My approach to learning Bach evolved over time. The old "bring out one voice at a time" method doesn't work for me. I prefer to think in terms of sections and what music is actually doing in each section. I look for patterns and decide how to make the patterns sound different.

I guess to each his own. But, for me, it was the exact opposite. I started learning Bach both hands together, one bar after another. And I found that I can learn and memorize the piece - but learning each voice independently and then putting them together made it much easier and also more musical sense to me.

Osho

Since the thread was bumped, I will comment on this. The difficulty I have with this approach is that both hands often are needed for the notes of an inner voice. Playing it separately can result in different muscle memory from different hand positions and different fingerings.


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This "sounds like random notes" issue is not specific for Bach, it holds for any new type of music. If you start with Rachmaninoff or Debussy there's also this "sounds like random" sections that start to make sense only after years of working on it.

To play it, all the parts have to come together: you have to 'make sense' of the music. You have to learn how the composer 'fits to the hand'. Once you learn to recognise the main components of a style, you can easier memorize it. You then also learn the 'variations of a component', which makes you understand how to interpret it, again aiding in the memorization. So by 'all parts come together' I mean that memorization is just a small part of 'doing' that music.

So for Bach's music, you have to realize the counterpoint nature of Bach's writing. You have to be able to follow these musical threads while they develop. To split your brain as Seeker mentioned. But also to learn how to split these notes over the different hands, the often occuring patterns, etc etc. The specifics of how Bach likes to use this counterpoint and inversions.


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My attempt at a suggestion would be to learn four part harmony if you can manage it.

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To summarise what wouter79 has said, 'every composer has their own style and once you become familiar with that and the patterns they use it becomes much easier to memorise their music'. And the other thing, which is clearly evident from all these posts is, that everyone has different ways of memorising music no matter what kind of music it is. The task for everyone is to discover our own strengths and weaknesses and find a memorisation method that works.


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