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: Clocks - A & B 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.
At this stage in our course,
I'm gonna start assuming
that you're gonna be able to
read the notes a little more
comfortably on your own and
we're gonna move at a faster clip.
I'm gonna still introduce some very
specific technical details, but
with a song like Clocks,
you can learn a few basic things and
have most of the piece under
your hands pretty quickly.
So let's begin by taking a look at
the very beginning of the piece and
just a little bit of theory and
some technical details.
You'll notice in front of the time
signature, we have something brand new.
It's something called a key signature.
A bunch of flats floating in midair.
And if we take a quick look at them,
we'll see that the flats are identical for
the G clef as well as for the F clef.
And we take a close look
you'll notice that three
flats are representing B flat and
E flat and an A flat.
This tells me that we are playing this
piece in the key of E flat major.
Again, don't worry about
the technical details.
But basically, every time you
come across an E, an A or a B.
They're gonna be shifted
automatically to flats.
We're not gonna write them out
like we've done with the previous
pieces in the course.
So we have to assume every E, every A and
every B will now automatically have a flat
attached to them and that's essentially
what it is to have a key signature.
So just keep that in mind as we learn
All right, let's dive into that awesome
introduction to this famous song.
All right, let's take a look at the famous
pattern that starts this song.
Take a look at your right-hand,
starts on E flat.
[SOUND] Three notes.
That's pretty much it.
What's gonna happen is we're
gonna play these three notes.
[SOUND] And again, three notes and
then just the top two before we shift.
So it goes like this, three and then two.
Now we're gonna move to the next measure,
which is a D flat.
It's actually written out here.
B flat, F.
Same pattern, three notes.
Three notes and then the top two and
then we repeat this one.
Three, two.
Then we move down to a C, A flat, F and
you do the same kind of a sequence.
Three, three, two.
Pretty cool.
Let's just do that whole thing again.
E flat.
Three, two, three, three,
two, three, three, two,
three, three, two.
You might notice I'm using
the same fingers for all of them,
it just feels comfortable.
With a piece like this,
you can really substitute any
fingers that you feel good with.
I just happen to like to
use the fourth finger.
And just shift the whole
hand down as I play that.
Now in the first time to this comes in,
the left-hand is going mirror that,
play the exact same thing.
So again, E flat, three notes.
Now two notes,okay?
then you move down.
Two, three, two,
three, three, two.
Just like the right-hand,
I like using the one, two and the four.
So, it kind of parallels the same
fingerings on both hands.
It feels pretty good.
So if you put this together, three,
two, three, same pattern.
Of course, what makes
it really magical is our magic pedal.
So put the pedal down and.
And then change with each measure.
If you wanna, you can leave the pedal
on since it's the same notes here and
then just change here if you want.
I've got a new symbol that I'm gonna
introduce here.
You take a look, we have these
double lines and these dots there.
That is a repeat sign.
Now with this particular instance,
you see the repeat sign with
the dots kinda pointed to the left.
That means we're gonna go back to
the beginning of the piece and
play the whole thing once again.
Ss this first phrase,
you'll play two times.
And just do it again,
repeat the beginning.
And now we're gonna
get to a variation of this.
It sounds the same with some differences.
So, lets take a look at this and
immediately I want you to see that
we have a new set of repeats.
You have the double bar, but
this time with the dots pointing to
the right, and if you look for it three or
four measures later,
you see another set of double bars
with the dots pointing to the left.
That means between those two sets we're
gonna repeat just those four measures
twice, okay.
So again first four measures repeat twice.
Then the second four measures you repeat
just within the boundaries of those two
repeat signs.
All right now.
The next four measures, start the same,
same right hand pattern.
The left hand is different, okay?
The left hand uses the same
kind of pattern but
we're playing different notes now so
we're not gonna be playing them parallel.
Let's take a look at these
left hand notes real quick.
Now we're gonna be playing kind of
a wide open octave pattern here.
All right, it starts with the,
if you count it all the way down,
remember out little mnemonic?
The bottom note is going to be G,
E is the ledger line below that, and
we're gonna go to an E flat, okay?
Skip skip, B flat, and go up to the top,
that's also an E flat here.
So, all right?
So, that's our new pattern here.
Octave three notes, three notes.
Now here we're gonna play
the bottom note and the top note.
See how that works?
Okay, so three notes, three notes,
then the bottom top, okay.
Now that same pattern is gonna be
applied now to a new octave and
this one's gonna start on
a fall down ball B flat.
Remember all Bs, all Es,
all As are gonna be flat, okay?
B flat, F, B flat.
So it feels the same actually, you know?
Three notes, three notes,
two notes, all right?
Three notes again,
three notes again, two notes, and
now we're gonna jump down to
an F same kind of pattern.
So even though you're
jumping around a lot,
your hand can basically keep
the same shape jumping through.
So the only big challenge is gonna
be really making sure you can feel
comfortable jumping as a pattern,
as a kind of molded block.
Jump all together.
See how I'm jumping as a unit.
I'm thinking about jumping like this.
Okay, so, let me show the difference.
I don't want you to kind of squish
your hand closed like this to get
to the B flat.
Don't think note to note.
I've got to get to this F and
get yourself out of shape, don't do that.
Jump as an octave.
So almost imagine this
like that, in fact I would practice it
that way, and
then find this quickly, find your F.
And you can find this, and
it repeats over and over and
over again so
you're gonna get very good at this.
So now,
let's put our hands together for this.
It gets a little tricky cuz
you're not in parallel,
now you're kind of doing opposites.
>> All right,
let's put this variation
together with the theme but
now with the different accompaniment,
all right?
So we're basically gonna be
moving In contrary motion,
opposite directions, okay?
Now, left hand
[SOUND] Let's put it all together and
actually you're going find very
surprising, actually you feel pretty good,
all right?
Let's give it a try, so three notes
all right?
What you're gonna find is that because
your thumbs are playing together, your
hands feel like they're doing the same
thing even though they're
in opposite directions.
It actually feels more comfortable
doing this
But anyway, I digress.
Three notes
three notes again
Now the top two of this and
then the opposite's just
the full octave of that, so practice that
Then the next one,
you move to B flat here
And you do the same thing here
and then you move down to the F here
So, if you're getting really
thrown off by where to jump,
one idea may be to do it this way, okay?
See what I'm doing?
I'm just playing the octaves whenever
my right hand plays the top note
And then, B flat
B flat
So I'm following the top note of the right
hand and practicing that jump
That's one way to break it down
jump as group.
Jump as a group
Okay, so that's one way to practice and
learn that part.
Now this left is gonna be throughout,
this left hand patterns is gonna be
the same almost throughout
the entire piece, so.
Really try to get this down.
Okay now we're gonna get into where
the vocals start to come in
where the singer actually sings.
So we have the melody.
So the tricky thing is lining
that up with the left-hand pattern.
And I told you,
really try to get this left hand theme, so
that you don't even
have to think about it.
You need to have this on automatic pilot.
Be able to do it like you close your eyes
the force.
So you can do it without looking at it,
I'm just kidding.
Anyway, so let's break this apart.
The trickiest thing about syncopation
is when the notes kinda jump
in between beats and
that's what gives the music its energy.
Instead of just kind of go straight one,
two, three, four, one, two, and.
The little beats in between the strong
beats is what gives a song its pop,
its rock, kind of its rhythmic energy.
So let's analyze this and
take the first of these vocal phrases and
there are a couple of
different variations of this.
So nice and slow.
Pretty standard stuff, just three regular
quarter notes every two
eighth notes there.
And then you have the two notes here,
the left-hand.
Pretty simple right?.
Now here is where it gets a little tricky.
This is where the rhythm
gets a little syncopated.
So you're gonna go D flat, C, hold it.
And then come in here at the bottom here,
hold that.
Let's just do that again.
D flat, C and then B flat.
So if you can break down any syncopation
down to its smallest units,
you'll be able to figure it out.
Let's start the phrase again.
Here we go and.
work on that until that
feels comfortable.
C is where you're going to stop and
have that syncopated beat there.
Let's take a look at
the next part of the phrase.
Now the vocal lines gonna come in two more
times after the ones that
we've just taken a look at and
each time is slightly different.
They have slightly different syncopations.
And the key to understanding syncopation
is to really slow it down note to note
to see where the vocal line lies on top of
the steady eighth notes in your left-hand.
So let's take a look at these next
two very slowly and very carefully.
First, let me play it through,
so you can hear how it goes and
then we'll break it down.
So here's the third time
the vocal line comes in here.
Now let's break that
apart, nice and slow.
Dotted quarter note,
then you come in here with the last
note of this left-hand figure.
[SOUND] Hold it.
Hold it.
Lets just do that much again.
Ready and there's a rest here and
the second beat.
Let's go
on with this one.
I can shift my fingers, if I want
to to a fourth finger in a D flat.
Jump down to the F and
the E flat.
Let's speed that one up,
the second portion a little bit more.
Now lets take a look at
the last time the vocal line comes in.
And again, lets do this slowly.
And one.
Almost the same, but
one extra note here and
then we have the quarter notes.
And then you hold
this going into the next section.
So just take your time to study
the syncopation slowly note for note and
let's take a look at the next section.