< script type="text/javascript"> var blogherads = blogherads || {}; blogherads.adq = blogherads.adq || [];

How Bach Teaches You to Multitask

Question: What is your style of playing Bach?
\r\n

\r\nHilda Huang: I mean, when I play Bach, I try to make the dances a\r\n dance and make them all really lively and light and think about how \r\nthey would have been played in the Baroque era. Of course now that we \r\nhave the piano, compared to the harpsichord or the clavichord, there's a\r\n completely different sound, so I wouldn't try to imitate the \r\nharpsichord. But we still want to keep some of the essence of the \r\nharpsichord in it, so I like to play with some of the timings in it \r\nbecause on harpsichord there's no dynamics. So all you can do is with \r\ntiming and with touch and articulation. So I like to bring some of those\r\n aspects onto the piano and but keep it in the Baroque style while \r\nhaving a piano sound.
\r\n
\r\nQuestion: How is playing Bach different from other composers?
\r\n

\r\nHilda Huang: I think one, I have a lot of friends who also play \r\ninstruments and mainly their reason for not liking Bach is because it's \r\nso hard, but I like to encourage them to explore more of it because it's\r\n hard, so that they can discover something new within each piece and \r\nhopefully they can use that and take it and apply it to other composers.\r\n So that's also helpful.
\r\n
\r\nI think it's a good way for people to learn how to multitask, because \r\nyou have to deal with so many different voices at once and they all have\r\n to be really clean. It's also just really fun to play and it helps you \r\nimprove your technique. There's so many running lines, I mean you have \r\nto practice them at first, of course, but after a while when you get the\r\n hang of it, it's really fun to just see your hands moving all the way \r\nover the keyboard.
\r\n
\r\nQuestion: How long does it take to prepare a new piece?
\r\n

\r\nHilda Huang:
I usually work on pieces for at least a year. I listen \r\nto them when I first start playing them and I listen for which ones I \r\nlike. So, I'll pick them up, find the music and just start working on \r\nthem by myself. And usually it takes me about a year or so to get some \r\ngood practicing in to get some good understanding about the piece. And \r\nthen after that—of course, during that time, I work with my teacher—but \r\nafter that, we'll start preparing it to use maybe for performances or \r\nother things like that.

Recorded on June 7, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman

Keeping track of all the different voices in a Bach piece is a fun way to improve your technique, says the 14-year-old champion pianist—but it can also affect your brain.

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

New Hubble images add to the dark matter puzzle

The images and our best computer models don't agree.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists can detect the gravitational effects of invisible dark matter.
  • Dark matter causes visual distortions of what's behind it.
  • The greater the distortion, the greater the amount of dark matter. Maybe.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Did our early ancestors boil their food in hot springs?

    Scientists have found evidence of hot springs near sites where ancient hominids settled, long before the control of fire.

    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
    Culture & Religion
    Some of the oldest remains of early human ancestors have been unearthed in Olduvai Gorge, a rift valley setting in northern Tanzania where anthropologists have discovered fossils of hominids that existed 1.8 million years ago.
    Keep reading Show less

    A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

    Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

    Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
    Surprising Science
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Personal finance: How to save, spend, and think rationally about money

    Finances can be a stressor, regardless of tax bracket. Here are tips for making better money decisions.

    Videos
    • Whether you have a lot of money or a lot of debt, it matters how you handle your personal finances. A crucial step when it comes to saving is to reassess your relationship with money and to learn to adopt a broader, more logical point of view.
    • In this video, social innovator and activist Vicki Robin, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, and author Bruce Feiler offer advice on achieving financial independence, learning to control your emotions, spending smarter, and teaching children about money.
    • It all starts with education and understanding. The more you know about how money works, the better you will be at avoiding mistakes and the easier it will be to take control of your financial circumstances.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast