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Has anyone ever written out the g minor adagio from Bach's 1st sonata in an easier time signature.


Bardan
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Hello everyone!  I hope I'm posting in the right place.  

I've been a professional fiddler for years, but during the quarantine I've been revisiting classical music, and Bach in particular.  I've worked through the first cello suite and parts of the second one.  Now I'm embarking on the first violin sonata.  Or at least the adagio from it.  I've loved listening to the piece for years.  And with the dust blown off some relevant technique, it's just about playable, if rather tricky.  

But the bloody thing is unreadable!  I'm constantly trying to count hemidemisemiwhatever quavers.  I never know how long a note is supposed to be.  I'm constantly hopping back and forth between bars, dividing and multiplying note lengths and squinting at stacks of beams.  I appreciate there are probably reasons for writing it out in 4/4, whether it's tradition, or something to do with approaches to phrasing and tempo and so-on ....  but for the moment I just want to get the notes down.  

Has anyone ever just written it out in 4/1 or something?  And published it somewhere online?  Or put out a reasonably priced book?  

If not, I'll eventually get the hang of it by playing along with slowed down recordings or something.  But a cleaner, clearer transcription would do wonders.  

I hope you're all safe and well in this crazy pandemic.  

 

 

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First, welcome to the forums Bardan!

Second, its been so long since I studied that piece.  The thing that I remember the most is how much I dreaded trying to fit a million notes into one measure!  I do not remember much more than that other than I learned it in 8 (i think).  Stephen Fine, a fine contributor to this forum posted himself playing the fugue from that sonata and I would think that he can be more helpful.  There is a Youtube of the sheet music against ARthur Grumiax playing it.  I would watch it and listen while it plays.  He takes a methodical approach to it.

Lastly, the one thing that I can say about this piece, the fugue, and the chaconne, is that if you look at the chords and the melodic lines, the direction of the chords are very much dictated by the melody, but many, many, many violinists play most of the chords in the ascending order regardless.  I am in the minority on this issue, but I know there are some who play the chords like I do.  For instance, the second and third chords: I play rolling chords that end back to the middle note instead of a sweeping ascending chord.

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On 3/14/2021 at 11:54 PM, Bardan said:

But the bloody thing is unreadable!  I'm constantly trying to count hemidemisemiwhatever quavers.  I never know how long a note is supposed to be.  I'm constantly hopping back and forth between bars, dividing and multiplying note lengths and squinting at stacks of beams.  I appreciate there are probably reasons for writing it out in 4/4, whether it's tradition, or something to do with approaches to phrasing and tempo and so-on ....  but for the moment I just want to get the notes down.

IMHO, getting this sort of thing right amounts to an aural tradition (p.i. :lol:).  To get it right, especially without a teacher or other players around who already know a piece, you have to listen to it repeatedly.  Two ways that I do this with challenging pieces is to download and study a video of it, along with programming it into my computer using ABC notation, and then repeatedly practicing it along with the ABC midi output at an increasing tempo, until I get it memorized, particularly by my fingers.  :)

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11 hours ago, Violadamore said:

IMHO, getting this sort of thing right amounts to an aural tradition (p.i. :lol:).  To get it right, especially without a teacher or other players around who already know a piece, you have to listen to it repeatedly.  Two ways that I do this with challenging pieced is to download and study a video of it, along with programming it into my computer using ABC notation, and then repeatedly practicing it along with the ABC midi output at an increasing tempo, until I get it memorized, particularly by my fingers.  :)

yes! Especially the midi thing!  Midi renditions are awful to my ears but its mathematical and helped me in several passages (ie: Bruch Concerto)

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I recently started working on this and has a similar reaction. Then I read that what Bach had done here is write out all the ornamentation, and the expectation would be to play it more freely. I don't think I've heard a recorded version where someone actually tried to stick to a strict rhythm and after a short while it becomes easier to read.

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