Now, I am planning on hopefully playing this piece in the following months and am going to play it for an audition in August. I have never really played a Bach piece before, so it is kind of new to me.
Now I understand that there is a stigma on the Bach as being deceptively difficult, and I was wondering about your thoughts on that. Is it harder musically or technically? And how long would it take to learn maybe the first three pages of it? Thank you
One version of the music that I have refers to it as the Mt. Everest of solo violin. It's usually learned after some other solo Bach is under one's belt, but don't let me try and stop you! It's a beast, best of luck.
If you have never played Bach before, please please please do not start with the D Minor Chaconne. Start with the other four movements of that Partita. Bach is hard both musically and technically. Technically because solo pieces are the most exposed of all, so both bowing *articulation, phrasing) and intonation (obviously) must be highly refined. Musically because you need to create an emotive story-line out of pieces that are, by their nature, architecturally ornate and quite cerebral.
I agree with Paul. One's first Bach shouldn't be the Chaconne. I would suggest E major partita and/or the movements preceding the chaconne, as Paul said
Here's a recent video on this very subject:
It was not the hardest thing to play of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas - at least for me. I worked on it during my last couple of years of college - about 65 years ago. (Of course, there is no way I could play it now - I'm scared to try, the way my hands and arms work these days.)
I think I would start the E Major and then perhaps the G minor Adagio and Presto movements ( I think the E major preludio would be helpful for this movement). Or alternatively start with the D minor movements mentioned above. In the meantime, you could study excerpts from the Chaconne before trying to learn the entire movement.
Please don't start with the Chaconne! Everyone above who's telling you not to do this is correct.
I would also advise getting into Bach from a different piece. The Chaconne is challenging on many levels and is considered by many to be the pinnacle of violin composition. One can learn the notes with practice but learning how to interpret and phrase the piece is a lifetime undertaking. I hope that you do play it and experience its majesty, but I think you’ll get more out of it if you approach by building up to it.
You can start with the chaconne if you want (it's just music, guys, geez), but if your audition is in August then I wouldn't recommend it. It took me over 6 months to get the chaconne how I wanted it when I was learning it. Granted, on and off, but you can't grind a piece like the chaconne because you need to take time to step back and reevaluate your musical choices.
I second (third? fourth?) everyone who says not to start with the Chaconne. Go ahead and play it for fun, but not for an audition if you've never played Bach. There is a general order one must go in to build up both the skills and understanding of the Bach S&P. Typically it goes something like this, though you can flip the first two: Partita 3, Partita 2 minus Chaconne, Sonata 1, Partita 1, Sonata 2, Sonata 3, and then, after all other movements have been learned, finally the Chaconne!
Wow, I have a lot to consider now. I never thought that it would be this much of interpreting but also knowing Bach's style of music. Geez, I have a lot to do now :/ I guess I might have to consider a different piece to play then.
Listen to it once, score in hand. Sight-read it once to find out if you have the technique to do it , then, unless the Chaconne is required for that audition, choose something else.
Rich, I never heard that quote. I think it is great!
Nathan Cole described the C Major fugue as less playable than the Chaconne. Regardless, I wouldn't look at the Chaconne strictly from the standpoint of technical difficulty. We don't love it because it's hard, but for its emotional and musical content. If you can't do it justice, and if odds of you doing it justice aren't great, you'd be better advised to try something else first, saving that for later.
It's one thing if maybe there are one or two harder movements than the Chaconne among all six of the solo sonatas. It's quite another to be
"Is it harder musically or technically?"
David, it is not simple; the Chaconne has chords AND melody...a large part of the difficulty is sorting that combination out.
David's description works until you've reached the point where you can play double-stops reliably. If you're thinking about attempting the Chaconne, you should be past that point. Well past it.
@Erin, of course both things are hard, especially together. I meant in general.
Firstly I think all 3 fugues are for sure technically more difficult than the Chaccone, so while you shouldn't start with it, you don't have to wait until the end to learn it.
The C major fugue is harder than Chaconne in my opinion; the g minor fugue is easier.
I want to get started right away, shall I start with partita no 2? what do you guys recommend as a player like me?
Well in my case, my teacher made sure I had my scales down pat. We did Carl Flesch over and over again, cover to cover, no compromise. When I got that down pat, he started me with S&P Partita 1 Double, then progressed from there. So this was my experience. I'm sure other folks would have their own experience to share.
Partita #2 Allemande, Gigue, Sarabande, Courante
Chaconne is a special piece of music, take your time and do it justice. I like the Everest quote, I said the same thing the other day. It's a musical summit, not just a technical one.
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