Welcome to Day 4 of learning to playing chorale prelude by Bach Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 731 on the organ! I hope your previously mastered fragments from Days 1-3 are getting stronger as you are continuing to improve them. You can access the previous lessons and a score here.
In fact, before practicing Day 4 material, let’s play the earlier fragments at least 3 times correctly in a row. Try to achieve the fluency in playing the correct notes, rhythms, fingering, pedaling, articulation, ornaments, and hand and feet position.
Feel free to stop at the beginning of each fragment. This is not the time to play this chorale prelude from the beginning until the end without stopping. You will have the chance to do so. In fact, the longer you wait and insist on playing shorter fragments first, the faster your progress will be.
I know it may sound as counterintuitive but I can tell you from experience from my practice that this method works really well. After a few days, when you are ready to play the entire piece without stopping, you will feel this enormous amount of accomplishment and you will have the right to do so.
So after you have repeated 3 times correctly the fragments from Days 1-3, now it is a time to look at fragment for today (measures 8-11). This is the last phrase of the chorale melody and today we are going to master it.
The first thing you have to do before practicing it is to pencil in fingering and pedaling. As with previous fragments, here too, try to avoid finger substitutions and mostly use longer fingers (2, 3 and 4). In the left hand, fingers 1 and 5 will often be necessary because there you have to play two voices with one hand. For example, in the second half of measure 8 you can see wider intervals of sixths and octave. They are generally played using fingers 1 and 5.
In measure 9, the left hand part has an ornament called appoggiatura. This is usually a smaller note tied with the larger note. In this specific measure, appoggiatura is from G to F sharp. It should be performed in rhythm. In other words, make both notes of sixteenth note value.
Follow these simple steps when practicing this fragment:
Step 1: Practice solo voices separately (S, A, T, B).
Step 2: Practice 6 combinations of two voices (SA, ST, SB, AT, AB, TB).
Step 3: Practice 4 combinations of three voices (SAT, SAB, STB, ATB).
Step 4: Practice all four parts together (SATB).
Make sure you do not rush to the next step or combination because each of them is like a baby step to success.
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 video Organ Practice Guide.
Or if you want to learn to improvise in the style of Bach? If so, I suggest you check out my free 9 day mini course in Keyboard Prelude Improvisation.
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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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