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Thread: Cembalo part in Brandenburg Concertos?

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    Default Cembalo part in Brandenburg Concertos?

    Hello all! Total forum noob here..
    Sorry if this has already been discussed before. If so, I'll delete it if possible. (I don't know how )

    Our newly formed chamber group of fellow youth orchestra members are going to play several pieces, and on the list are Brandenburg Concertos 1 and 2. Although my specialty is on oboe and English horn, I may end up having to play the keyboard part (I haven't played in a couple of years, but I used to be not too shabby).
    Here are my questions:
    1) Is the harpsichord part necessary for Brandenburg 1 and 2?
    2) I remember hearing something about the harpsichord player for pieces like the Brandenburg reading off of the continuo part and improvising based off of that or something similar. Is this right? and can someone help or explain to me how to do this?
    3) Is this difficult? Like I said earlier, I used to play piano, and I wasn't all that bad at it, but I haven't played in quite a while. I know Brandenburg 1 and 2 like the back of my hand, if that helps.

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    Senior Member MoonlightSonata's Avatar
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    I haven't seen the part in question, but you'll probably be improvising from a figured bass. This can be quite difficult at first but gets easier with practise.
    ≥12

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    Uhh... what is an example of what I'm supposed to do? Sorry that I'm such a noob

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    Senior Member ptr's Avatar
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    Do You know what "Basso continuo" is? (Italian for "Figured bass") ... If not, I suggest that You research the term and read some text books on this practice!

    Essential knowledge if You want to play harpsichord or chamber organ in orchestral music of the Baroque!

    /ptr
    Je suis Charlie ~ I am a certified OrgaNut! (F.—I.W.)

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    Senior Member TalkingHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchKDE View Post
    Hello all! Total forum noob here..
    Sorry if this has already been discussed before. If so, I'll delete it if possible. (I don't know how )

    Our newly formed chamber group of fellow youth orchestra members are going to play several pieces, and on the list are Brandenburg Concertos 1 and 2. Although my specialty is on oboe and English horn, I may end up having to play the keyboard part (I haven't played in a couple of years, but I used to be not too shabby).
    Here are my questions:
    1) Is the harpsichord part necessary for Brandenburg 1 and 2?
    2) I remember hearing something about the harpsichord player for pieces like the Brandenburg reading off of the continuo part and improvising based off of that or something similar. Is this right? and can someone help or explain to me how to do this?
    3) Is this difficult? Like I said earlier, I used to play piano, and I wasn't all that bad at it, but I haven't played in quite a while. I know Brandenburg 1 and 2 like the back of my hand, if that helps.
    Dear ArchDKE, to answer your questions:
    1) I think the harpsichord part is vital to the B2. I say this because I have played the continuo part ('cello), and it really comes to the fore in the slow movement.
    2) That would be the figured bass part. That's quite a skill to bring off unless you're practiced at it for a long time!
    3) It is, unless as said above, you've had a lot of practice at this.

    To help save you time, here is a link to the harpsichord part of B2. Please bear in mind that the right hand part will be (of necessity) an editor's version. You might think, for example, that it is too elaborate, though you can always adapt it to your own or your ensemble's tastes (or level).

    Good luck!

    Here's the link: http://javanese.imslp.info/files/img...7.Keyboard.pdf

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    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    Hi there ArchDKE. Playing from figured bass is a lot like playing guitar based on chord symbols and adding your own improvisations, except that it matters which note of the chord you use as the lowest note.

    To answer your questions...
    1. These pieces could be played with various combinations of musicians, but they really sound great with the keyboard in.
    2 and 3. it depends on how much time you have and how much you want to get into the art of playing figured bass. If you are just playing these two pieces and you don't have a lot of time then an editor's realization of the part is the way to go, like the one in Talkinghead's post above, or you could surely find an easier one with a bit of digging.

    If you are really into learning this figured bass stuff then this is as good a beginner explanation as any:
    http://www.wright.edu/~martin.maner/fig01.htm
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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