The A Minor Fugue from Book Two of the Well-Tempered Klavier.

October 04,2020

I think of this fugue as being somewhat like someone who takes a new deck of cards and throws them in the air and then picks up the individual cards off the surface they have fallen on.hoping to find the cards thoroughly shuffled.  Only to find out, when he begins picking up the cards lying on the table that the shuffling was not complete.  There are still adjacent groups of cards like a 3, 4, and 5 of clubs followed by a seven and 8 of diamonds, etc..   Substituting rhythmic patterns and motives for cards in a deck, we say: well, I tried to randomize the order of the notes’ rhythmic values throughout the piece but find that there remain smaller but intelligible repeating segments of “DNA”.  And they appear over and over again.


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An ennead of things about awareness.

September 23,2020


Be especially aware of the notes that come in between the notes that you are more aware of. If, for instance, the LH has eighths and the RH has sixteenths (or any 2:1 ratio like that) create a zig-zag awareness between the LH notes and the ‘in-between’ right hand notes. Intentional awareness of the sound of any note is almost always accompanied by a lack of awareness of the sound of some other note. The time to be aware of the sound of a note is when and if it continues to sound while another totally new note appears in a different voice or hand. When you play one after another, notes sharing the same letter (say C-Natural) that occur in different octaves, sometimes the goal in awareness is to eliminate anything having to do with pitch range that would make the C-s sound somewhat different, and focus only on the “C”-ness inside each note.  At other times the goal of awareness should be to ignore the C-ness inside each note and focus on what makes the sound of one C as different as possible than the others. When you play a note can you distinguish completely between what, in your consciousness: 1) comes from feelings in your muscles or feelings about shape or position of your body in space, or from the senses of touch or pressure, and, 2) sensations that come into consciousness solely and exclusively through your ears – the sound of the note. Can you eliminate from your awareness of a sound its pitch, its duration, and its loudness, which leaves, for lack of a better way of saying it, just the ‘sound’ in the sound? Try not to be as aware of the ‘attack’ of the note as much as what ensues about a half a second later. This is the rich, sweet spot in the evolution of the note.  The second most important moment to listen to that same note is in the instants just before it cedes or changes to another note.  All connection, all legato depends on what happens between the ending moments of a sound and the onset of the next note, between the moment when the note is softest and the moment when the (next) note is loudest.  Most control lives at this moment – if you can ‘find’ it.  Usually what we are doing physically to get ready to play the next note obscures our awareness of the last moments of the current sound. If there were just one sound, one note, and you have to imagine the evolution of an entire

    piece made up of the evolution through time of just this one sound, what “story” would it

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Sluggish thumbs – getting older.

September 20,2020

When the thumb has to separate from the second finger horizontally, in order to make a skip (rather than a step) to a higher or lower note, the muscles in my thumb are no longer adequate to reliably send the thumb the exact distance on the keyboard it needs to traverse in order to get to the next note it wants to play.


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