Playing Baroque Music Pianistically – Practising the Piano

Our second piano course in our new premises took place on Saturday 22nd of October with presentations and workshops on playing music from the Baroque period on the piano. We were delighted to be joined by seven in-person participants and an online audience from all corners of the globe for an inspiring and informative day of piano music!

Graham fitch demonstrates how to play baroque music

Style in Baroque Music

In a set of three presentations, Graham drew upon his background as a harpsichord student and pianist to explore how to approach playing Baroque music in a historically informed manner on the piano. In the first session focusing on ornaments, Graham cleared up common misconceptions and gave some basic principles to simplify and create the freedom to embellish Baroque music.

“I loved the demonstrations with elaborate ornamentation… it always feels like there are so many wonderful surprises just around the corner.”

One of the main themes throughout the day was how one might bring this music to life on the piano whilst still respecting the stylistic traits of the period (rather than attempting to play the piano as if it was a harpsichord). The second presentation delved into the subject of using the pedal and other properties of the instrument to create tonal contrast and dynamic variety.

The printed score only gives part of the story for Baroque music and the default touch appropriate for the period is non-legato as opposed to the cantabile, legato lines of later periods. In the last of these three presentations, Graham showed how to make sense of the articulation markings in a score and to use a variety of different touches. 

How to Learn a Fugue 

One could hardly present a day devoted to Baroque music without covering the subject of contrapuntal music and fugues! In the fourth presentation, Graham started by giving some ideas for articulation of fugue subjects from The Well-Tempered Klavier (Book 1), followed by a demonstration of practice methods using the fugues in C minor and B-flat major.

Performance workshops

In the practical sessions, five pianists presented pieces of their choice and worked on aspects such as tempo, interpretation, practice methods and technical challenges with Graham. Our audience was treated to performances of three fugues and a selection of movements from three of the Partitas.

playing baroque music performance workshop

Workshop recordings

If you missed this event, you can still purchase access to the recordings to watch at your convenience. The videos for the sessions have been created from the footage recorded in the studio and therefore are significantly better quality than the streamed versions. The set of videos for the full day costs £80 (£48 for Online Academy subscribers) and can be purchased here or you can purchase the videos for the presentations only for £60 (£36 for Online Academy subscribers) here.

“I am very inspired and liberated by Graham’s thoughts and demonstrations on interpreting Baroque Music!”

Next events

Free Online Event: How to Play Fast (2nd November @ 16:00 GMT)

One of the most common questions pianists ask is how to play faster whilst retaining control and coordination. In this shortened version of one of our most popular online workshops, Graham Fitch will use a selection of pieces of various levels to demonstrate ways to move them from an initial, slow learning speed up to full performance tempo. Click here to find out more and to sign-up for free!

Elementary Technique Workshop (12th November 2022 @ 13:00 GMT)

Are you an adult beginner or returning pianist? Do you want to learn how to progress rapidly and play with ease and confidence from the outset? Or are there any technical issues that held you back in the past that you want to resolve? Join us for a half-day workshop for adult beginners, returning pianists and teachers presented by Penelope Roskell. In this interactive, practical workshop Penelope will teach you the fundamental techniques needed to help you progress quickly and play with ease and confidence. Click here to find out more or to book your place!

Save 40% on Online Events!

Online Academy subscribers get 40% off all of our online workshops. Please sign-in to your account and the discount will be automatically added at the check-out. If you are not an Online Academy subscriber and would like to find out more about subscription options then please click here for further information.

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