Maintaining Control of Both Hands
August 6, 2018
Cross fertilization of the hands, bordering on hybridization
Bach: The Italian Concerto: II
Irving is having difficulties maintaining control over both hands at once. I attribute this to the very different rhythmic character of each hand (in general, the right hand has faster notes while the left hand has relatively slower notes).
He has been trying to maintain separate but simultaneous control of each hand. This wasn’t working. To solve this, we established a process in which the notes in one hand could flow back and forth into notes in the other hand.
A frequent occurrence in the movement is for the left hand, as part of its melody, to play an eighth note on the first beat of a measure, and then, after a pause of a thirty-second note, the right hand plays three thirty-second notes as part of its melody.*
In this situation, we connected legato between the left hand eighth note at the beginning of the measure and the right hand thirty-second note that followed a thirty-second later.
There were also the analogous occurrences when the right hand melody contained several thirty-second notes followed by the left hand playing an eighth note. We formed a sonic bridge between the last right hand note and the left hand note.
Unlike the more usual procedure in Bach, which is to separate the voices, we did the opposite. We fused two voices together to create a single, new voice line: one that was a hybridization of each of the two original voices.
In this way the sound of one hand could cross-fertilize with the sound of the other, creating a series of “shunts” interconnecting their notes. The next note in one hand could derive its momentum, both pulse-wise, and melody-wise, from the note just prior to it in the other hand.
It was the ear that forged these unions, and the body responded by organically connecting the two hands. Each hand took renewed life from the other hand.
*In many of these cases the right hand had just tied the last note of the previous measure over into the downbeat of the new measure.