Bach's Invention #1 (Guitar Lesson)


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Matt Brown

Bach's Invention #1

Matt Brown teaches Invention #1 composed by J.S. Bach.

Taught by Matt Brown in Reading Music and Rhythm seriesLength: 21:42Difficulty: 2.5 of 5

Lesson Objectives

1. Play the second part to Bach's "Invention #1" by reading standard notation.

Playing this piece will develop the following skills:

-Reading skills within the second position C major scale.

Note: The first part is played out of numerous fretboard positions that have not yet been covered in this series. Matt will revisit this piece in a later lesson once these positions have been addressed in detail.

-Rhythm and counting skills / playing in time with another musician
-Alternate picking technique
-Playing fast scalar passages in cut time.
-Review music theory concepts such as chromaticism and secondary dominant chords.

2. Learn musical characteristics that are common to the invention form.

Note: This lesson is of an intermediate to advanced difficulty level. Matt will jump back to easier material in lessons 50-70.

Performance Example

Listen to Matt's performance example in Scene 1 several times before you begin to practice the piece. In addition, listen to some keyboard performances of the piece. Many fine performances can be found on youtube.

Guitar Arrangement

Bach's inventions were originally composed for the keyboard. (The harpsichord was the predominant keyboard instrument during the Baroque period.) However, these inventions can be performed convincingly with a wide variety of instrument combinations.

Similar to the previous three lessons, Matt has made very few adjustments to the original score of the piece in arranging it for guitar. The left hand part of the keyboard arrangement is played as the second guitar part. The right hand part (melody) is played by the first guitar in the arrangement.

When performed on a keyboard instrument, the right hand component sounds one octave higher than what is arranged for the first guitar part. Matt teaches the melody in a lower octave purely for educational purposes. Playing the melody an octave higher requires a mastery of fretboard positions that have not yet been discussed in this lesson series.

Process of Learning a New Piece of Music

1. Note the Title: "Invention #1"


Similar to the "fantasia" and "sinfonia," "invention" refers to a type of composition that does not imply any set form or musical characteristics. However, there are a few compositional techniques that are prevalent among most pieces that are titled inventions. Most inventions employ a compositional technique called "counterpoint." Counterpoint involves two or more musical lines that are strong enough to function independently from one another. A simple harmonization of a melody line is not an example of counterpoint since the harmony part is completely subordinate to the melody. Another important component of most inventions is "imitation." Imitation occurs when a thematic idea is performed in one part and then imitated in another. For example, the main theme of Bach's "Invention #1" is played by the first part in measure 1. At the beginning of measure 2, this theme is imitated by the second part.

2. Note the Composer: J.S. Bach

3. Note the Key Signature: C Major

4. Note the Time Signature: Cut Time

"Cut Time" is another way of writing 2/2. In this time signature, the half note receives the beat rather than the quarter note. There are only two beats in each measure instead of 4.

5. Note the Style and Tempo: Allegro

The metronome marking in the score was not originally supplied by Bach. It is simply a suggested goal tempo provided by Matt. The goal tempo listed is half note = 96 beats per minute. In terms of a quarter note pulse, this tempo equates to 192 bpm, which is the higher end of the allegro tempo range.

6. Scan the Piece for Important Features

A. Chromaticism


Many F# notes occur in the piece. F# is not within the key of C major. This note is actually borrowed from the key of G. The F# note functions as the third of a D major or D7 chord, which is the dominant chord in the key of G.

In the key of C major, D or D7 functions as a "secondary dominant" chord. A secondary dominant chord momentarily tonicizes a chord in a progression by preceding it with the chord that functions as its dominant. Typically, this chord is played as some sort of a dominant seventh voicing. For example, the V chord, G, is frequently tonicized in the piece. This is accomplished by preceding it with a D chord. The IV and V chords are the most frequently tonicized chords in a major key. The vi chord is tonicized fairly often as well. Consequently, the chords that function as dominant to these chords are the most commonly used secondary dominant chords.

On page 2 of the score, many G# notes occur in the second part. This note functions as the third of an E major or E7 chord. E (or E7) is the dominant chord in relation to Am, the vi chord in the key of C major. The use of this secondary dominant chord establishes a temporary key change to the relative minor key (A minor) in measures 25-29.

In terms of Roman Numerals, the chord that functions as dominant to the V chord is labeled as V7/V (pronounced "dominant of five"). The chord that functions as dominant to the vi chord is written as V7/vi ("dominant of six"). The chord that is being tonicized is always written to the right of the slash.

B. Melodic Minor Scale

Within measures 25-29, the A melodic minor tonality is used. In comparison to the A natural minor scale (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A), the ascending form of the A melodic minor scale features raised sixth and seventh scale degrees. Thus, the ascending form of A melodic minor is spelled A, B, C, D, E , F#, G#, A. When playing the descending form of the melodic minor scale, the seventh scale degree no longer functions as a leading tone back to tonic. For this reason it does not need to be raised. The sixth scale degree is then flattened to smooth out descending lines that begin with tonic note and end on the fifth scale degree.

The natural minor scale is regarded as a harmonically weak scale. This is due to the lack of a leading tone. As a result, the dominant V chord in this key is minor. This minor chord does not resolve quite as strongly back to tonic. As a result, the seventh scale degree is typically raised to create a stronger resolution from dominant to tonic. When the seventh scale of the natural minor scale is raised, the harmonic minor scale is produced.

The harmonic minor scale is considered to be a melodically weak scale as well. This scale features an augmented second interval between the sixth and seventh degrees. Most composers choose to avoid this interval within a melodic context. As a result, the sixth scale degree of the harmonic minor scale is raised to form the melodic minor scale. This scale receives its title as a result of its melodic strengths. While some composers, notably Mozart, have used the augmented second interval to advantage in melodic composition, other composers have felt it to be an awkward leap, particularly in vocal music. Thus, for purposes of melody, either the subtonic (b7) is used, or the sixth scale degree is raised; either way, a whole step occurs between these two scale degrees. This interval is more conducive to smooth melody writing.

Listen carefully as Matt compares and contrasts the A natural minor scale and the A melodic minor scale at 03:07 in Scene 4.

C. Position Playing

The entire second part of the piece is played in second position.

Demonstrations

1. 1st Guitar Part - Scene 5


Even though the first part of the piece is not addressed in this lesson, having an awareness of how this part should sound will help immensely when performing the second part.

2. 2nd Guitar Part - Scene 6

Practice Tips


1. Print out the score. Then, mark off where all of the phrase breaks occur in pencil.

2. Isolate and practice each phrase individually. Begin with the metronome set to a slow tempo such as 50-60 bpm. Practice each phrase at the initial tempo that you have chosen.

3. Once you can play each phrase perfectly at the initial tempo, play the entire second part of the piece at this tempo.

4. Continue to repeat steps 1-3 as you gradually increase the tempo of the metronome.

Matt demonstrates these practice tips in Scene 7.

Play Along Examples

2nd Guitar Part - Scene 8


Play the second part along with Matt in this scene. Make sure that you are not playing any incorrect notes or rhythms!

Duet - Scene 9

Play the second part while Matt plays the first part.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


kierkier replied on March 18th, 2012

Hey, just want to say thanks. 7 months ago I couldn’t read a note. Have had a great time with this series! It’s opened up many new doors for playing and material. Any plans to continue with lessons further up the neck? Cheers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv6LgHjPctg

mattbrownmattbrown replied on March 20th, 2012

Way to go on the Invention!!! You totally rocked it!!! The guitar and piano sound really nice together.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on March 19th, 2012

You are very welcome! Thanks for hanging in there with these lessons. I hope they improved your overall understanding of the fundamentals...Yeah...I had intended to continue these lessons up to 12th position. I'm not sure what will happen from here. Maybe I'll film more lessons for JamPlay in the future...I think your guess is as good as mine at this point.

18imca18imca replied on January 1st, 2010

cool I doing this at my lessons

mattbrownmattbrown replied on December 28th, 2009

Hey guys! You may have noticed a drastic jump in difficulty between lesson 48 and 49. This was done intentionally. Lessons 49 and 50 are the last two from the batch of lessons I filmed in September. I wanted to give you a couple pieces to work on that are very challenging since it will be awhile before any new Reading Music lessons are posted. When I get an opportunity to film some more Reading lessons, I'll jump back to some pieces that are more of a beginner - intermediate level and fill in some of the gaps. Stay tuned!

Reading Music and Rhythm

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Matt brings all of his years of education right to you with this fantastic series on how to read music. You will start with the very basics and work up to some very advanced concepts.



Lesson 1

Intro to Reading Music

This introductory lesson will walk you through the basics of reading music and reading rhythm.

Length: 15:07 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Reading Music

Learn how to identify notes, the key signature, and the staff. Implement your reading skills by playing a few simple tunes.

Length: 43:32 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 3

Rhythm and Time Signatures

Learn the basics of notation and time signatures. Practice these concepts with a few timing exercises.

Length: 22:01 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

3/4 Time Signatures

Now that you've learned a bit about 4/4 time, it's on to 3/4 time.

Length: 22:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Reading Music Practice

Now that you know the basics of reading music, it's time to put that knowledge to work with some exercises.

Length: 25:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

On Top of Old Smokey

Get some more practice reading music and rhythms during your rock fest rendition of "On Top of Old Smokey".

Length: 15:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

He's Got the Whole World

Matt Brown reviews the G major scale and teaches "He's Got the Whole World".

Length: 13:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Amazing Grace

Matt Brown explains how to read music in the key of F major. He uses the song "Amazing Grace" as an example.

Length: 15:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Shoo, Fly

Matt Brown teaches the song "Shoo, Fly" as another excellent rhythm and reading example. This song is in the key of G.

Length: 14:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Scales and Key Signatures

Matt Brown returns with the 10th installment in his Reading and Rhythm series. In this lesson, Matt discusses key signatures.

Length: 14:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Minor Key and Aura Lee

In this lesson Matt Brown covers the first minor key song in this series, "Aura Lee".

Length: 12:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Scarborough Fair

In this lesson, Matt introduces the A Dorian mode. He applies it to the song "Scarborough Fair".

Length: 16:29 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Second Position

In lesson 13, Matt Brown discusses and demonstrates second position.

Length: 29:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Rhythm

Lesson 14 is all about rhythm. Matt Brown discusses its importance and provides several exercises.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

On Top of Old Smokey Review

Matt Brown reviews "On Top of Old Smokey". This time around, the melody is played in second position.

Length: 7:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Reviewing Angels We Have Heard On High

For lesson 14, Matt Brown reviews "Angels We Have Heard On High". The melody is now played in second position.

Length: 12:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Shoo, Fly Review

Matt Brown reviews the song "Shoo, Fly" in second position.

Length: 8:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Rhythm Strumming

This lesson covers right hand rhythm technique. Matt introduces syncopated strumming patterns.

Length: 25:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Down by the Riverside

Matt teaches the melody to "Down by the Riverside". This tune is used as preparation for learning accompaniment techniques.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Accompaniment

Matt uses the song "Down by the Riverside" to teach accompaniment techniques for rhythm backing.

Length: 12:31 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Fur Elise Pt. 1

Matt teaches the classic tune "Fur Elise" in a two part series. For Part 1, Matt demonstrates the melody section.

Length: 24:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Fur Elise Pt. 2

In lesson 22, Matt teaches the accompaniment sections to Beethoven's "Fur Elise".

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

The Entertainer Pt. 1

Lesson 23 starts a 2 part series on the classic tune "The Entertainer".

Length: 16:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

The Entertainer Pt. 2

Lesson 24 completes the two part series on "The Entertainer". You will learn the accompaniment in this lesson.

Length: 14:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Sea to Sea Pt. 1

Matt starts another 2 part lesson, this time on the tune "Sea to Sea" by William G. Leavitt.

Length: 20:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Sea to Sea Pt. 2

Lesson 26 completes Matt's 2 part series on "Sea to Sea".

Length: 10:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Stars and Stripes Forever Pt. 1

Matt introduces the B flat major scale and teaches the song "Stars and Stripes Forever".

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Stars and Stripes Forever Pt. 2

Matt completes his two part series on "Stars and Stripes Forever" by teaching the accompaniment.

Length: 7:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

D Major in First and Second Position

Matt Brown teaches the D Major scale in both first and second positions.

Length: 17:55 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Danny Boy Pt. 1

Matt Brown demonstrates "Danny Boy" in both first and second positions.

Length: 16:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Danny Boy Pt. 2

Matt Brown teaches the accompaniment to the "Danny Boy" melody.

Length: 12:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Silent Night Pt. 1

Matt teaches the Christmas classic "Silent Night."

Length: 18:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Silent Night Pt. 2

Matt teaches the accompaniment to the "Silent Night" melody.

Length: 4:55 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 34

Funiculi Funicula Pt. 1

Matt Brown teaches "Funiculi Funicula" as an exercise in reading and playing in 6/8 time.

Length: 14:39 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Funiculi Funicula Pt. 2

Matt Brown teaches the accompaniment to "Funiculi Funicula".

Length: 16:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Strumming Triplets

In lesson 36, Matt provides exercises to help you strum triplet patterns.

Length: 23:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Strumming Sixteenth Note Rhythms

In lesson 37, Matt Brown demonstrates how to strum sixteenth note rhythms.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Song of the Volga Boatmen

Matt Brown demonstrates the melody and tips for playing the Russian folk tune "Song of the Volga Boatmen".

Length: 11:33 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

Song of the Volga Boatmen Pt. 2

In lesson 39, Matt teaches the accompaniment to "Song of the Volga Boatmen".

Length: 8:35 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Dance of the Ukraine

Matt Brown teaches and demonstrates "Dance of the Ukraine."

Length: 15:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Dance of the Ukraine Pt. 2

Matt demonstrates the accompaniment to the "Dance of the Ukraine" melody.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 42

Etude by Ferdinando Carulli

Matt Brown teaches an etude for classical guitar by Ferdinando Carulli.

Length: 21:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 43

Morning Pt. 1

Matt Brown teaches the melody section to "Morning" by Edvard Grieg.

Length: 18:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 44

Morning Pt. 2

Matt teaches the accompaniment for Edvard Grieg's "Morning."

Length: 8:08 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 45

Bach's Minuet Pt. 1

Matt Brown teaches Bach's classic Minuet.

Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 46

Bach's Minuet Pt. 2

In lesson 46, Matt Brown covers the accompaniment section to Bach's Minuet.

Length: 5:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 47

Little Prelude in C Pt. 1

Matt Brown teaches Bach's "Little Prelude in C."

Length: 16:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 48

Little Prelude in C Pt. 2

Matt Brown teaches the accompaniment to "Little Prelude in C" by Bach.

Length: 7:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 49

Clementi's Sonatina

Matt Brown teaches the 2nd guitar part to Muzio Clementi's famous "Sonatina."

Length: 23:46 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

Bach's Invention #1

Matt Brown teaches Invention #1 composed by J.S. Bach.

Length: 21:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 51

Third Position

Matt takes a look at playing in third position. This lesson will set up future reading lessons that require the third position.

Length: 7:16 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Lesson 52

Third Position Practice

Matt Brown has you working through Jean Philippe Rameau's Minuet for third position playing in lesson 52. He provides a play along and accompaniment to help your sight reading and playing.

Length: 15:11 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only

About Matt Brown View Full Biography Matt Brown began playing the guitar at the age of 11. "It was a rule in my family to learn and play an instrument for at least two years. I had been introduced to a lot of great music at the time by friends and their older siblings. I was really into bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins, so the decision to pick up the guitar came pretty easily."

Matt's musical training has always followed a very structured path. He began studying the guitar with Dayton, Ohio guitar great Danny Voris. I began learning scales, chords, and basic songs like any other guitarist. After breaking his left wrist after playing for only a year, Matt began to study music theory in great detail. I wanted to keep going with my lessons, but I obviously couldn't play at all. Danny basically gave me the equivalent of a freshman year music theory course in the span of two months. These months proved to have a huge impact on Brown's approach to the instrument.

Brown continued his music education at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed a degree in Classical Guitar Performance in 2002. While at Capital, he also studied jazz guitar and recording techniques in great detail. "I've never had any desire to perform jazz music. Its lack of relevance to modern culture has always turned me off. However, nothing will improve your chops more than studying this music."

Matt Brown currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. He teaches lessons locally as well as at Capital University's Community Music School. Matt's recent projects include writing and recording with his new, as of yet nameless band as well as the formation of a cover band called The Dirty Cunnies.

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