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J.S. Bach

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Today I have been researching for the work books on Prelaudium by J.S. Bach. I am writing a study sheet for Praeludium BWV 939 by Bach for a young student at weekend. I stumbled on this lovely article. Can you imagine having Mr Bach for a teacher? This prelude is one of the six mentioned below.

Forkel continues:

‘First of all let me show how he taught the Clavier. To begin with, his pupils were made to acquire the special touch of which I have already spoken. To that end for months together he made them practise nothing but simple exercises for the fingers of both hands, at the same time emphasising the need for clearness and distinctness. He kept them at these exercises for from six to twelve months, unless he found his pupils losing heart, in which case he so far met them as to write short studies which incorporated a particular exercise. Of this kind are the Six Little Preludes for Beginners, and the Fifteen Two-part Inventions, both of which Bach wrote during the lesson for a particular pupil and afterwards improved into beautiful and expressive compositions. Besides this finger practice, either in regular exercises or in pieces composed for the purpose, Bach introduced his pupils to the use of the various ornaments in both hands.

Not until this stage was reached did Bach allow his pupils to practise his own larger works, so admirably calculated, as he knew, to develop their powers.'

A point of interest for me is the difference in pitch, not to A432 as one would expect but lower to A415.

Stickers made to go with the project.

The mordent is discussed on Wikipedia This recording on spotify is a good reference, track number 1.

Documents produced towards my ALCM(TD)

FINAL Teachers Praeludium 11-06-2020
Download PDF • 3.60MB
FINAL Technique Praeludium 11-06-2020
Download PD • 1.86MB
FINAL Knowledge Praeludium 11-06-2020
Download PD • 2.06MB

Regarding the above quote stickers

“It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.”

There are many who consider Bach to be an autodidact, that is self taught, as although he was educated he was never educated in music alone. It is an interesting discussion, but considering that it puts this quote in a new light.

There is some interesting discussion on this link for further reading

It is worth recording a new word: Autodidacticism

Autodidacticism or self-education is education without the guidance of masters or institutions. Generally, autodidacts are individuals who choose the subject they will study, their studying material, and the studying rhythm and time.

That's me.

The root of the word and the usage graph is quite interesting.

mid 18th century: from Greek autodidaktos ‘self-taught’, from autos ‘self’ + didaskein ‘teach’.


Chris Caton-Greasley LLCM(TD) MA (Mus)(Open)

Ethnographic Musicologist, Teacher, Researcher

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