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Burgmuller – Barcarolle (Op.100 No.22) -in bits

Another of my ‘in bits’ videos – this one is Burgmuller’s Barcarolle (Op.100, No.22).  A beautiful piece which requires a great deal of focus on the cantabile quality in the right hand balanced against a delicate left hand accompaniment.

Soundcloud recording of the same piece:

And if you want to listen to the whole book of Burgmuller etudes (well worth a listen!), with a few exceptions left to record, the playlist can be found here:


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Krebs – Allegro (A:3) ABRSM Grade 6 ‘…in bits…’

This YouTube video is the second in my ‘…in bits…’ series, a  collection of tutorials where I follow the completed piece with hands separate videos, voice separate, slow, with and without ornamentation, whatever I think could prove useful.

With pieces such as the Krebs, it is invaluable to not just go straight in with the ornaments, but to learn the music without any decoration as if that version were a piece in its own right; i.e., the musical equivalent of being able to see the woods despite the trees.  I don’t teach this technique because ornaments are scary (they’re not), or because they are difficult (again, they’re really not!), but because they are only ornamentation, and unless a musician can understand the main body of the music in its plainest form, they have no chance of understanding it with added fiddly bits.

What I missed on this collection, and I regret not adding in, was an even more stripped back version which my students have been learning.  The Krebs, indeed all music, can be stripped back to basic harmony or simple melodic lines, and it is incredibly useful to learn this unornamented version, rather than just obvious one we read on the page.  I might add this in later; it’s certainly been fascinating for me to see how my students have been stripping this piece back in different ways to me and to each other.


Repertoire Project Upload No.7

This upload of J.S.Bach’s Invention No.1 in C (BWV 7720 is a little different.  In addition to uploading the finished soundcloud recording, I have uploaded a video to my YouTube channel, where students can see how to ‘build’ the invention from scratch, (starting with no ornaments and hands separately) into the final performance.

As with all my recordings, it’s really important to understand that these are not meant to be definitive versions, but are more like a tool; something to kick start a student into getting to grips with a musical narrative, or more accurately, one version of a musical narrative.  

With the Bach, however, this is perhaps even more important.  Bach wrote for harpsichord, not piano.  My dynamics and my articulation are my own, and are just an idea to draw on or listen to. In fact, to be totally honest, I’ve been playing this particular Invention for many years, and I think I play it with as many different interpretations as years I have been teaching it.  This recording is particularly legato; I’m not convinced I like this (in fact the more I listen to it, the more I dislike the final version) but it’s what I was working on at the time, and so in the spirit of spontaneity, it’s what I have recorded.

Please do not copy this recording, or indeed any of my Repertoire Project recordings.  Listen to them, enjoy them, use them for ideas, love them, hate them, do whatever you like, but remember that part of being a musician is being creative; we were never meant to be mimics.  There’s far too much interesting music to make to spend valuable time just copy and pasting.

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