e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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Practicing Bach at home

At Saturday's rehearsal, I marked my score with the places that needed more work.  

Sunday afternoon, yesterday, and this morning I've worked on them.   One of my problems is vision: the score is an older one, with somewhat yellowed pages, and it also has tiny print.  I realized that even though I'd *thought* I'd marked all the accidentals when I started out, I hadn't marked them in a way that I could see, while standing in a row unable to hold the music at my best distance.  It's my score, so I can mark it with ink or color or anything else that helps.  Accidentals are particularly hard for me because I'm not (to put it mildly) the greatest sight-reader in the choir.  I  am easily flummoxed by unusual key signatures, and I have to stop and think about which direction a naturalled note "goes"....have been known to sing something a half-tone higher when it should be a half-tone lower, for instance.  Find an E-sharp much harder to read than an F-natural in keys where F is usually sharp.

My only advantage in all this is that I have a good ear for a musical sequence if it makes any sense at all (and Bach does--every part has a decent sequence) so once I can hear and sing the melody it makes, I'm able to speed it up without losing the sequence.  Just have to learn it right in the first place and hear it clearly in my head and remember where in the piece that particular melody comes. 

Bach, unlike  Handel, throws variations into just about every twiddly bit.  ("Twiddly bit" is my own technical musical terminology for those fast-moving phrases that repeat something...deedle-deedle-oodle-doodle sorts of things.)   In my old Messiah score, for instance, I was able to block off and mark "A" and "B" twiddly bits and they'd be much alike only  on different notes, but Bach likes to throw in a surprise to see if you're paying attention.  Yes, sir, Mr. J.S., sir, I definitely am.

I'm having a physical problem with one, though, that requires a *fast* octave jump between two sets of twiddly bits.  From low in my range to well up into the head voice end of things.  OUCH.

One funny thing I've found is a half-measure that sounds like "klezmer" in the next to last measure of "Omnes generationes."  

David said he was going to make us count-sing the Gloria (on which the parts were not properly in  time, and must be) so I also marked that part of the score with "pre-counting" as I'm not great at count-singing as I read.

It's all getting better but it's not better *enough*.   "The amateur practices until s/he can do it right; the professional practices until s/he can't  do it wrong."   I'm now past the initial amateur stage but not up to professional reliability yet, and that's where I want to be. 

Tonight is another rehearsal.  It will be a test to see how much the work on "Omnes generationes" and "Fecit potentiam" have accomplished since Saturday afternoon.
Tags: bach, choral singing, music, rehearsal

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