Knowing how to choose the most efficient pedaling in the Prelude and Fugue in B flat major, BWV 560 is not always easy. Sometimes an incorrect choice may lead to incorrect articulation. If you want to figure out the best and the most stylistically appropriate pedaling for this prelude and fugue, use these 4
1) Write in each pedal choice for each and every note in the pedal line. While writing in fingering you can skip certain easy episodes and indicate the fingering only in the places which give you the most trouble, for pedaling I strongly recommend that you write in your choice for every pedal note. This is
because many organists come to the organ with some experience on the piano and pedal playing gives them the most problems.
2) Avoid using heels. Since it is a piece written in the Baroque style, avoid
using heels. Use toes only pedaling because on many Baroque instruments playing with heels is very uncomfortable. This practice comes from the traditional technique of playing the clavichord which was the most common practice instrument for organists in Germany at that time. By the way, some scholars believe this piece may have been written specifically for the pedal
3) Use alternate toe technique. Most of the time in the prelude apply alternate toe technique which means playing with the left and right foot in alternation. This is especially obvious in the opening pedal solo and in other places in the prelude because of the duple meter. This technique allows you to create a perfect articulation in the pedal line with gentle alternation of strong and weak beats. In addition, it is quite easy to apply it in the passages with ascending or descending melodic line, such as in scales.
4) Use same foot technique. In the fugue which is written in the triple meter
sometimes it will be necessary to play some notes using the same foot. In this
piece, this rule is valid in situations when there is a change of melodic direction. In addition, you will also have to use the same foot in the prelude where the melody changes direction.
Use the above tips for writing in the pedaling for the Prelude and Fugue in B
flat major, BWV 560 today. After you have figured out and notated your pedaling, make sure you practice with correct pedaling choices repeatedly. This will allow your pedal playing to become automatic, fluent, and free of mistakes.
By the way, do you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my FREE Organ Practice Guide.
Or if you really want to learn to play any organ composition at sight fluently and without mistakes while working only 15 minutes a day, check out my systematic master course in Organ Sight-Reading.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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