Saturday, 9 August 2014

Toccata and Fugue

When I was little and started to learn to play the organ, I taught myself to play the first few bits of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Mainly because my brothers had been watching  Rollerball.

Over the years I've been able to play some of it still - cdrtainly the opening movement.

I found turned on the cathedral organ sound on Orla a few weeks ago, and played it.  The sound was incredible.   I dug out the Kenneth Baker Classical book that I had used 34 years ago, and tried to play it by sight reading.

Most of what I had been playing remembered was sort of OK, but not quite in the right order. I'd also never attempted to learn a horribly complicated bit in the middle.   Unlike Eric Morecambe playing Grieg's Piano Concerto, the notes were in the right order, but the sets of bars were wonky.

So I decided to relearn it, properly. Ish.

I had to learn whole sections from scratch.  I had to unlearn and relearn others. What had takenme about an hour as a kid, took me many, many plays. I am also aware that hearing someone getting it wrong and re-playing is annoying so I usually only play it once, which of course is part of the reason it is all taking so long.

I gradually sorted out the right hand bits,  and the both-hands-on-the-top-keyboard bits.  I now had them in the correct order, and if I didn't bother with the lower keyboard bits, or the huge difficult middle section, it still sounded OK to the untrained ear.

I gradually added in most of the lower keyboard bits.   Then I started to teach myself to play the middle section.

It got better each time, but it's painfully slow.I'm now at the stage where I can more or less play it through,  but I can't play it through without mistakes.

Today I thought I'd listen to a proper rendition of it, in an attempt to pick up some of the nuances of play.

Big Mistake.

I've realised that my playing of it is like playing a 45 record on 33 speed.

I don't think I'll ever get to the proper speed.

And I also now realise that I only have part of the music.

I don't want the rest of it. What I have is quite enough to be going on with.

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