Robert Estrin - piano expert

Tips for the Bach's Minuet in G

Easy-to-learn tips for mastering one of the most well-known, easy piano pieces

In this video, Robert gives you easy-to-understand tips to approach and master, on the piano, the well-known Minuet in G by Bach.

Released on March 5, 2014

  
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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to virtualsheetmusic.com. I'm Robert Estrin and, today, tips for Bach's Minuet in G. Of course, Bach wrote many minuets, of beautiful baroque styling, and I'm going to show you a little bit about how to approach his music. This isn't a complete tutorial, but I will show you important aspects of how to approach his music. In case any of you wanna know which piece I'm talking about, I'm going to play the first section for you. So you can hear a, kind of, a nice version of it, without any of the ornamentation, which is perfect for younger students to be able to play some great music on a rather elementary level.

[music]

All right, minuets. A dance form in three, a meter of three and it's the baroque styling. So there's a nice counter point. The secret to getting the clarity and the beautiful, bouncy quality that makes it feel like a dance form, is the phrasing, how you articulate the staccatos, how you utilize the slurs. And, once again, the secret is all in the wrist. So, in teaching this piece or studying this piece, you want to delineate staccatos from the slurred legato notes by using the wrist on the staccato notes. So if we just take the first two measures, the right hand alone, you'll notice that you have slurs until the second measure, the last two notes. And by utilizing the wrist you can get a nice, short staccato. Watch how I mean.

Now, that looks very simple. But, if you find you try and play the staccatos at first, you might end up using the arm in conjunction with the wrist. And it gives a very different sound, kind of, a heavy quality. You see, the first beat has to have more emphasis than the second and third beats. And if you use the wrist you can get a light staccato. If you employ the arm, the second and third beats become ponderous, and it sounds like this. And watch the motion of my arm and how it destroys the flavor and the feel and the lightness on those staccato notes.

You can hear the difference. You can see the difference. So how do you practice it? You want to break it down. If you just play the first two notes of the second measure and try to play the first note with the wrist coming down and coming up on the second note.

Doesn't seem that hard. But at first when you try this, you may employ the arm along with the wrist, getting that heavy sound that you don't want. So once again, watch this. I'll play it a few times for you.

Notice, the motion is only from the wrist. And so it's a down up. And then you have down up for the next staccato. So then, if I play the whole measure you'll have down up, down up, all from the wrist. Watch how it works. Down up, down up. Down up, down up. And it's all from here, not from here. So if I start from the beginning once again, playing the two-measure phrase.

And that's really the secret to, not only this minuet, the entire minuet, but many Bach minuets and other works. Delineating phrasing creates such a beauty and clarity. It also gives you the emphasis on the first beat, making it have that bouncy, dance feel. Otherwise the music, if you didn't use the wrist at all to delineate these notes, you'd end up with a sound like this.

Compare it to the nice feel of using the wrists to have a light staccato on the staccato notes.

So this is a way to approach the Bach Minuet in G and many other works of Bach. Thank you so much for joining me, Robert Estrin, here at virtualsheetmusic.com.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Jerry W Harbin * VSM MEMBER * on March 4, 2017 @8:52 am PST
Thanks for the great tips. Been a singer for decades but just now trying to learn a bit of piano in my mid 70s. Why not?
Melanee on March 30, 2014 @2:52 am PST
Thank you, this was a big help, as I am learning this song now.
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