Discussion:
Are There Big Stretches in Bach's Keyboard Works?
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Ricardo Jimenez
2019-07-27 00:49:31 UTC
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One would think so from this article:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/07/bachs-anatomy-may-have-handed-him-greatness/

I think that the composers noted for using them are Liszt and
Rachmaninoff (Brahms?).
weary flake
2019-07-27 15:46:28 UTC
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Post by Ricardo Jimenez
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/07/bachs-anatomy-may-have-handed-him-greatness/
I think that the composers noted for using them are Liszt and
Rachmaninoff (Brahms?).
I've been told there are no octaves on the keyboard in Bach.
number_six
2019-07-27 19:19:08 UTC
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Post by weary flake
Post by Ricardo Jimenez
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/07/bachs-anatomy-may-have-handed-him-greatness/
I think that the composers noted for using them are Liszt and
Rachmaninoff (Brahms?).
I've been told there are no octaves on the keyboard in Bach.
I'm by no means certain, but that sounds plausible.

If we go to the arrangers, like Busoni, I expect a different story.

There are octaves in my own lame arrangement Streets May Safely Phase.

Kind of disrespectful to Old Bach to display his skeleton.
Mandryka
2019-07-27 21:40:41 UTC
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According to Leonhardt's book on Art of Fugue these are some examples of keyboard music where the span of hands does not permit you to play what is written:


Brandenburg concerto 5, 1st movement m192
B minor English suite, the end of the allemande
G minor English Suite, prelude m.60
WTC1 G sharp minor fugue m24
WTC1 F minor fugue m74
WTC1 B flat minor fugue m70
Canonic variations No. 5 m55

The discussion is in the context of arguments for AoF being a keyboard work. M77 of the "French"fugue (no.6) of AoF requires an unfeasibly large stretch.
number_six
2019-07-28 16:43:26 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Brandenburg concerto 5, 1st movement m192
B minor English suite, the end of the allemande
G minor English Suite, prelude m.60
WTC1 G sharp minor fugue m24
WTC1 F minor fugue m74
WTC1 B flat minor fugue m70
Canonic variations No. 5 m55
The discussion is in the context of arguments for AoF being a keyboard work. M77 of the "French"fugue (no.6) of AoF requires an unfeasibly large stretch.
I think of it as a keyboard work, but if not, what is the leading alternative?

This seems more of a reach than fingering problems!
Mandryka
2019-07-28 18:44:36 UTC
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Post by number_six
Post by Mandryka
Brandenburg concerto 5, 1st movement m192
B minor English suite, the end of the allemande
G minor English Suite, prelude m.60
WTC1 G sharp minor fugue m24
WTC1 F minor fugue m74
WTC1 B flat minor fugue m70
Canonic variations No. 5 m55
The discussion is in the context of arguments for AoF being a keyboard work. M77 of the "French"fugue (no.6) of AoF requires an unfeasibly large stretch.
I think of it as a keyboard work, but if not, what is the leading alternative?
This seems more of a reach than fingering problems!
I don't think there is a serious alternative really, because some of the fugues were written out by Bach for keyboard. There may be some debate about which type of keyboard best suits it of course.

That doesn't stop people coming up with realisations using all sorts of things. What you can't do is justify that by referring to the open score presentation in the earliest copies. Open score was a really common way to present music which is contrapuntal, Frescobaldi toccatas for example, were (I think) published with open score.

The justification has to be just that the performers have things to say by doing it with string instruments or whatever.
Mandryka
2019-07-28 18:47:59 UTC
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By the way, something I forgot to say yesterday.

I think it's interesting that Bach's scores (according to Leonhardt) show music which isn't playable. I wonder what that means for his relationship to instruments, to execution.

What I don't know is whether this is just common in baroque composers, whether there's unplayable music in Bohm and Buxtehude for example.
MiNe109
2019-07-28 21:50:12 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
By the way, something I forgot to say yesterday.
I think it's interesting that Bach's scores (according to Leonhardt)
show music which isn't playable. I wonder what that means for his
relationship to instruments, to execution.
What I don't know is whether this is just common in baroque
composers, whether there's unplayable music in Bohm and Buxtehude for
example.
I saw a discussion of the fretted clavichord in which it was suggested
that the problem-solving was part of the fun for the musician.

There are examples in the composers you mentioned unplayable on manuals.
However, pedal-harpsichords were available, so they weren't absolutely
out of reach.

Stephen

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