This is a public version of the members-only Popular Piano with Hugh Sung, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Popular Piano with Hugh Sung.
Join Now

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Popular Piano Lessons: Memory - A Section

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Popular Piano

This video lesson is available only to members of
Popular Piano with Hugh Sung.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Popular Piano with Hugh Sung. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Popular Piano Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
In our next song, Memory from the musical
Cats, we're going to take
what you've learned in
Greensleeves and
kind of take it up to the next level.
Your left hand chord pattern is going
to be really applied in new and
interesting ways.
And again, the cool thing about
it is that's the same pattern
over and over again.
Technically, we're just going to be
moving around in different positions.
Your reading is going to
improve significantly,
because we're going to get you much
further up and down the staff lines, okay?
So we're going to be introducing more
measure lines that introduce notes both
above and beyond the given staff,
and we're going to look at some more
interesting rhythms and
basically you can be playing memory.
What a great song, and
hopefully you're going to agree with me.
This sounds really, really nice.
It's an arrangement that I've made that
really tries to make it sound as If
your accompanying yourself in
a real broadway musical, so
I hope you enjoy working on memory.
With Memory, we're gonna apply some
of the things we learned
with Greensleeves,
in particular the left-hand chord pattern.
And that's gonna be the same throughout
this entire rendition of this song.
We're gonna take a look at some new
concepts in terms of understanding how
rhythm and counting work.
And of course, you're gonna get more
practice in reading notes in both clefs.
So here is my arrangement of Memory.
we actually
start playing
some notes,
let's take
a look at
a new musical
that's going
to be very
important for
you to understand
in the songs
that we
learn from
this point
That indication is something
we call the time signature.
Music, of course, is made up of rhythmic
elements, a lot of counting, and
of course, with counting
there's always a lot of math.
So you'll notice right after the G
clef there is a set of numbers,
a 12 on top of an 8.
What that tells us is that there will be
12 beats, or 12 counts for each measure.
As we explained in our last
series on Greensleeves,
a measure is indicated by the vertical
bar that cuts across the staff line.
So music is usually grouped in groups or
counts or
sets of beats that are pretty
consistent throughout the whole song.
But as we're going to see in this song,
we're going to see the time signature
actually change in the middle.
So the top number is very important.
It tells us that there are going to be
12 beats, or 12 counts in each measure.
Now the bottom number is
the bottom of the fraction and
if you recall in the 15 points that we
talked about in learning to read music,
the note values are very
much like a pizza pie.
So the eight represents eighth notes.
So in a sense what we have here
are 12 eighth notes per measure.
Now in music whenever we're counting 12
we have the option of grouping
those counts into groups of three.
So instead of sitting here and
going 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
10, 11, 12, we're actually going to
be counting in four groups of threes.
1, 2, 3.
2, 2, 3.
3, 2, 3.
4, 2, 3.
So let's take a look at the very first
measure to see how that applies.
The first two notes you'll
notice are dotted quarter notes.
Dotted quarter notes normally.
A regular quarter note normally
is composed of two eighth notes.
If you recall, as we were talking about
in the 15 points on how to read music,
the dot will add half
the value again to a note.
So for example, the quarter note would
normally equal two eighth notes.
In this instance, with the dot, that
adds one more eighth note to its value.
So every time you see a dotted
quarter note in this song,
that's the equivalent
of three eighth notes.
So the very first note is,
let's take a look at the bottom line.
Ew great big C, okay?
So that C, 1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3.
You have two of them together, okay?
Now here's another indication
that I want to show you.
After the first two dotted quarter notes,
there's a little curvy line that
goes from that C to the very next C,
which happens to be an eighth note,
the first of three eighth notes.
Whenever you have two of the same note
names connected by that curvy line,
that's called a tie, and that basically
ties those two values together.
So you actually do not play
the second set at the end of the tie.
You will actually hold it for
the value of that note.
Okay, so for
example let me count this out for
you, 1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3.
Now the next set we hold and
then we continue.
So that's how that's going to work.
Let's try that again from the very
first measure, starting on the C.
1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, tie.
2, 3, 2,
2, 3, tie.
Now this is going down a little bit
further to the G.
Now here I want you to
squish your fingers here and
then we're going to
switch fingers to a four.
2, 3, tie.
And again the reason for the squish and
the shift of fingers is to reposition
our hand to play those lower notes since
we've run out of those fingers
on those upper notes here.
So let's do it one more time
from that first measure.
2, 3, 2, 2, 3, tie.
2, 3,
2, 3, tie.
Switch fingers to a four, 2, 3, tie.
Okay, next we'll take a look
at our left-hand notes.
Now let's take a look
at the first set of
notes in the left hand.
Using our little mneumonic, A fall down,
we see that the first note is C.
[SOUND] Space to space
means you skip a note.
Next note's going to be E.
[SOUND] Space to space means
the next note above will be G.
as you can see those notes repeat.
C, E, G and then again.
Four times.
Okay, then the next set of notes,
A fall down ball, and then we see
that this note will start on an A.
And again, this also repeats four times.
now if you look at where that A is placed,
and then look at the next note,
which is on the next space below,
skip that, that will move us down to F.
[SOUND] F, space to space, [SOUND] A,
[SOUND] C, again, four times.
Now here we move from that
space note to a ledger line, okay?
Next immediate ledger line,
we bring us to an E over here.
Now we're going line to line,
that will be a G and a B.
In four times.
So you notice that your left hand is
really pretty much keeping the same shape.
Now if you want to cheat a little bit, you
can either write down every single note
name out if you like, or
just write down the first note name for
each set of triplets or
each set of three notes.
So for example, I could use my pen
over here and just write down a C.
And then for the next measure,
this starts with an A.
I could write that down.
For this one, this starts on a F.
And then here, this starts on an E.
Since we're assuming your hand is keeping
the same shape, it makes a little bit
easier, a little bit quicker for
you to find the next sets of notes.
So let's try that again,
the first four measures starting on a C.
Next will be
an A, C, B, A.
Next will be
an F, A, G, F.
The very next note
right below that is an E.
So I hope you can see it looks like a lot
of notes, but when you see the pattern
it's really not that difficult.
Okay, now let's try
putting it all together.
All right now let's put all of our
notes together and
let's take this nice and slow.
Let's focus first on the first measure.
Remember that tie we were talking about?
Your left hand in a sense is going to be
providing all the counting beats that we
need to keep track of the rhythm, and
this will actually help our right
hand know exactly where to place
the next notes after the time, okay?
So for example, right hand, we're gonna
start on a C using a 3 over here,
left hand you're on a C down here,
here we go.
then you play it again on the right hand.
Now this is gonna be tied, so
you don't play it you just hold it.
The very next note you continue,
you play together.
Okay, let's try that again and
this time I'll play it without stopping.
Now, let's just focus on going
on to the very next measure,
as you remember, you're going to play
the C again, so it's pretty easy for
the right hand to just
return to where you were.
The left hand is going to be
shifting down to the A over here.
Okay, ready to give it a try?
So we'll just go a little
bit into the second measure.
Now move down
your left hand to the A.
Pretty simple.
So let's play that second measure,
then go on.
Here's the second measure again,
A of C on the right hand,
A in the left hand.
Remember the tie.
Now we're gonna squish the right
hand to that three over here.
Left hand's gonna switch down to the F.
Gonna switch your finger on the right
And again, tie, then you continue playing.
Left hand moves down to here.
So the goal is really
to have your left hand,
as much as possible,
go on automatic pilot.
The same pattern over and over again.
The only thing you really need to
remember is the first note of every
three-note group.
So if you can just try to remember to
keep your left hand on automatic pilot,
putting it together with your right
hand won't be such a big deal.
Let's try that again.
I'll play it again from the beginning.
The first four measures, both hands
together and this time without stopping.
down to A.
the G here.
F down to the left hand.
Switch fingers.
Left hand
moves down to the E.
And again you see that's high so
you're going to hold that
right hand note through.
Okay, great.
All right,
let's tackle the next few measures.
All right, let's take the right
hand alone for the next few measures.
We just finished with a thumb on an E.
But because we have some
more notes right below this,
we've just run out of fingers
because we're on our thumb.
We're gonna switch, play the same E,
but the next E we play,
we'll be switching to a second finger.
See that?
Now, we don't have a dot
after our quarter note, so
that means we're only counting two
eighth notes for this quarter note.
One, two, then we go on to
our eighth note over here.
You'll notice it's changed its appearance.
It doesn't have that long, continuous
beam because it's standing by itself.
So a note with a single flag or
a single beam,
those are two different ways of
writing out your eighth note.
two, three.
Now we have our dotted quarter note.
One, two, three.
Regular quarter note.
One, two.
Now, here we're gonna put our
thumb under to continue moving up
a little more comfortably.
Now these are just continuous eighth
Dotted quarter note which you're
gonna tie.
Again, a lot of ties in this piece.
Now let me play it through.
Don't worry if your counting
doesn't feel exactly right.
If you know the song or
if you've heard me play it through,
you'll get it in your ear.
That's really the best way to feel rhythm,
okay so
don't worry too much about
counting out loud yet.
You'll get the feel for it.
So here we go again.
One, two.
One, two, three.
One, two.
Thumb under.
So that's our right hand in a nutshell.
Let's take a look at
the left hand passage now.
All right, so let's go ahead and
learn the next set of notes in
the left hand in the bass cleft.
Let's take a look at
from the top staff line.
A, fall, down, ball, game.
You can see this note is right below that
bottom staff line which makes it an F,
F space to space.
Makes the next note an A,
and then space up C.
So we have our three note
pattern there which repeats.
F, A, C
four times.
we come to a ledger line beneath this F.
And because it's a line note, that makes
it adjacent to the F right below it.
So that brings us to an E.
Now, the next note is a line as well, so
line to line means we
skip a note in between.
G and then B.
Again, you can feel it's the same kind
of five finger pattern with the five.
Skip to the three, skip to the one.
And again, we play this four times.
Three, Four.
Now, we have another ledger line note but
as you can see the difference,
the note is below the ledger line which
makes it a little bit lower
than the E we just played.
This brings us down to a D, down here.
Space to space, F,
to another space, A, and
then we have our next
three note pattern here.
Now, you'll notice that as I ended on
A here, the very next note is the same A.
What I'm gonna do, is I'm gonna play that
last note with a thumb of course, and then
I'm gonna switch to a five on that same A
to continue with the rest of those notes.
So let's practice that
transition from the D down here.
D, F, A,
with the thumb switched to a five,
see how that works?
Okay, let's try that one more time.
D, F, A,
switch to a five on that same note.
And again, you play that four times.
Let's practice that whole sequence again,
from the top of this section over here,
measure three.
Starting on the F.
down to the E.
down to the D.
Now, you're gonna replace
the A on the thumb with a five and
move up.
too bad.
So now, let's put both hands
together in this section.
Alright now we're gonna
take our hands together.
And we're gonna continue the end
of the previous section, and
connect it at the beginning of
this next section, over here.
So that leaves us with our right hand
on an E, over here.
Our left hand.
On the last E section here,
before transitioning to that D, and
then remember we're gonna
jump up to the A over here.
Right hand starting on the E.
Nice and slow.
Ok, since this is an eighth note, we go
immediately to the next note over here.
Left hand has moved down to the A.
Let's practice that again.
The transition from measure
five to measure six.
E, G, G, and the left hand is gonna
jump down to the D over here,
before continuing on.
One more time.
Moving on.
Eighth note, quarter.
Put your thumb under.
Remember this is a transition you move to
a fifth finger here.
Let's try that once again.
Again we're practicing the transitions
when your hands are moving together.
Right hand on an E,
left hand on an E down here.
Thumb under.
Switch to a five here.
So make sure you get that comfortable
before we move to the next section.
So now we're getting to the end
of the very first full phrase, or
musical sentence, of the song.
We just finished with your thumb on a G.
[SOUND] The next portions,
going to start on a lower note.
But since we've run out of fingers,
we're gonna reposition our hand so
even though we were on our thumb here,
we reposition our hand down here, and
use a third finger on this E.
So it's gonna go like this.
[SOUND] Quarter note.
Eighth note.
Going to a G.
Two, three.
Now we have a dotted half note here.
That's the equivalent of six eighth
notes or two groups of three.
So I can count it like this.
One two three, two, here's the dotted
half note, two three, three two three.
Now, take a look at this.
We've got our first double ledger line.
How do we count this?
Or how do we find these notes?
So if you'll recall, ew great big dog fur.
Ew, is the first, or the bottom
of the staff line in the G clef.
So we have a ledger line underneath that,
means we are gonna skip from E,
skip that note down to C.
That will take us line to line.
Since we have one additional
ledger line underneath that C,
that brings us down to an [SOUND] A.
So this note over here is an A.
[SOUND] And then we go to a single
ledger line which brings us back to a C.
[SOUND] All right, so
let's put that all together.
Getting your reading chops in hey?
All right.
Start again.
This is starting on an E.
We're going to be switching
to our third finger here.
Two, three, two, two, three, three,
three, moving down all the way to this A.
Two, three, two, three, two, two, three.
Okay, great!
Let's take a look at what the left
hand is doing in this section.
A big part of the way I teach
is I really like to emphasize transitions.
It can be easy to work on something, stop,
when you have to take a break or a jump.
And then that break can actually
kinda get it embedded in your mind so
that every single time you get there,
you have a mental roadblock.
So this is what I'd like to demonstrate
in terms of fixing your potholes.
So if I'm going back a little
further than one hand or the other,
it's really to emphasize how to make
that transition as smooth as possible so
that you learn your pieces as smoothly as
possible with as few breaks mentally and
physically as possible.
Okay so we're going to start a little
before where the right hand has just
played to get the transition.
All right?
So we're going to start here on this D in
measure five.
Remember this?
We're at the A where we switch to a five,
get that comfortable.
All right.
Now we're going to the bottom staff line,
a fall down ball game which is a G.
Now the same thing we just saw on
the right hand, a double ledger line.
So we're at the bottom line note here,
we can see that the ledger line note is
also a line note so we're going to skip to
the first ledger line below the staff
line, which brings us down to here, E.
And then one more ledger line
beneath that takes us down to a C.
So this note over here
is actually a low C.
A double ledger line there you can
see a single ledger line which skips
a note to the E.
And then we get to the very bottom of
the staff line of the bass cleft,
here, which is a G.
See that?
Quite a mouthful, but
it's really not that hard, okay?
So let's take it the measure before,
to transition from the G, here,
to the C down here.
A bit of a jump.
Okay, ready?
Ready, down to a C look for
the two black keys right
to the left of them.
Okay, very good.
Lets put that all together now.
All right,
here we go.
We're gonna put our hands together at
the point where we have the most difficult
transitions, okay?
This is the end of measure eight.
Right hand, [SOUND] starts with an E.
Left hand,
[SOUND] we've just transitioned,
[SOUND] to that section
where we move from here.
To the fifth finger here.
All right,
the end of that section here we go.
Right hand, left hand all together.
Moving to the G here
Now, notice how the right-hand G is
gonna hold through six eighth notes.
The double ledger line, which is an A.
And now, we'll go to a left hand
double ledger line, which is a C.
Now, did you notice something?
Remember we were talking about the time
signature at the beginning of this song?
We have a new type signature
that interrupts in here.
Take a guess what it is.
We have a 6 and a 8.
Do you remember what that all represents?
The 6 on top tells us the number
of beats or counts for
each measure, and the bottom number
tells us what unit we're counting with.
In this instance we're
counting 6/8th notes.
So we've gone from 12 8th notes to now
we're switching to just 6/8th
notes in this particular measure.
A little quirk of the song.
Let's put this all together.
Again, slowly.
Right hand on E.
[SOUND] And we switch to an E,
the three, the third finger, excuse me.
Left hand, we're down on A over here.
Moving down to
the A on the right hand.
And down to the C down here.
I encourage you to try to play
from the beginning of the song...
To the end of this particular phrase.
See if you can play this till it
feels comfortable before moving on to
the next section.