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Popular Piano Lessons: Blue Danube Waltz - A Section

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In this rendition of the Blue Danube Waltz
by Johan Straus,
we're gonna be taking a look
at some very interesting
new technical challenges.
One of them will be playing the melody and
the harmony, or
the accompaniment, with one hand.
So you're going to be doing
two things with one hand.
The other thing we'll looking
at some advanced chord patterns.
Up to this point, we've been making
chords with just three notes.
Three notes, either played separately,
or in small combinations.
Now, we're gonna be adding a fourth note
to make your chords sound even richer and
We're gonna be looking at how to
transition effectively between them, and
hopefully you'll feel that after having
worked on all the previous songs
in this series.
Leading up to this song you'll be able to
see how it all kind of comes together.
Well also the end, take a look at
pedaling in a slightly different way so
that you can use your pedal,
not only to connect between big jumps and
cord progressions, but also to dry up
the sound to give it some neat effects.
That'll change the sound and
the variety and
give your music some life and
a little bit of spark.
So we're gonna take a look at all of
these special techniques in this song.
In this song, we're gonna
be doing several new things.
The first thing we're going to do is
to actually learn how to play two
things with one hand, as if having
two hands and a foot wasn't enough.
We're actually going to
be playing the melody and
an accompaniment in the right
hand in certain sections.
We're also going to be exploring some
larger chord forms in the left hand,
as well as the right hand, too.
This is, again, gonna prepare us for
some really amazing music later on.
So, let's get right into it.
So, the very first few notes
are right below the last,
the bottom line of the G cleft staff so
before E is a D, okay.
So here's a D.
Now what I want you to do is I want
you to use an interesting fingering.
We could use a three and
a five like we've done with the left
hand for so many chord patterns.
But now I want you to try
a more opened pattern,
which will help you to be ready to
reach up for larger and higher notes.
So here's what I want you to do.
[SOUND] One on D then on this F
sharp [SOUND] use a second finger,
and then a third finger on the A.
[SOUND] Okay?
So one, [SOUND] two, three.
Now we're gonna play the A again, and
we're gonna switch it with the thumb.
Got that?
Try it again.
Now what's gonna happen is you're gonna
hold this thumb down for the next
measure and the other measure as well.
While you're holding this thumb,
we're gonna reach up an octave.
All right, so this is gonna be
the A above this one over here for
the next set of notes.
And we're gonna play
these two notes together.
A and F sharp.
So you're gonna hold this and
play this two times.
There's a rest.
And then you're gonna play this F
sharp and D [SOUND], like that.
So you have the melody going on here, and
then this accompaniment figure,
[SOUND] while the melody is holding.
Pretty cool.
It sounds hard, but
it's really not that bad.
Let's give it another try.
D, F sharp, A and then switch to a one.
Now you can get ready to reach up for
the higher A here.
With two notes.
[SOUND] And then.
[SOUND] All right.
Now let's take a look at the left hand.
Now, up to this point, we've been mainly
using three-note patterns in the left
hand for most of the chords, and we even,
starting off with kinda broken chords,
we gradually gone on to some chords where
you play more than one note at a time,
now we're going to expand it even further,
So, left hand A fall down,
this is a D over here, and
let's take a look at
the rest of the notes.
F sharp for our F, F clef an F over here,
the A above this, above the staff line.
We have a ledger line here right
above that it's gonna be a D, okay?
So what we've just constructed
is a D major chord,
and with this D we're adding one more D.
So it gives us a very full sound.
This sounds nice, but
this sounds even fuller, okay?
So, what we're gonna be doing with
this chord pattern is playing
the bottom here and playing the rest
with these three fingers on top of it.
Okay, so five and then and
then you do the same thing again.
Okay, and then we're going to revert to
a simpler form, with just three notes.
And here you can use your old three and
one finger if you want.
The reason being, we're reverting to
this because the right hand is gonna be
borrowing that D to play
some of its melody.
So we want to avoid colliding
with each other there, so
we're gonna start again.
And then these two, so the same notes but
without the tonic.
Variations on a D major chord.
Try to get that comfortable in your hand,
And if you're having difficulty playing
them all at the same time, you can,
if you need to, you can kinda rock your
hand from the pinky and try to squeeze.
All right?
Don't put too much tension in your arm,
try to see if you can learn
to drop your hand and
your arm comfortably so that all three
notes come out at the same time, okay.
All right, let's try
putting just that much together.
All right, let's put the melody and
our rich harmony together.
Nice and slow,
right hand starting on the D.
Remember, one, two, three,
we're gonna switch to that one and
then we're gonna come together
with the left hand right here.
You're gonna hold onto this
while you play the chord, and
then the right hand comes
together with this.
And you go back to the pinky here.
And we're gonna switch to these two notes.
we're gonna switch now to the simpler
form on the D major chord here.
And you can drop down to a one
three if you want, okay?
Let's try just that much again.
Remember, you're gonna hold your thumb
through once you get to that switch point,
because that melody's gonna sustain while
you play the accompaniment figure above.
One more time, ready?
Together, hold onto the thumb.
Lift up your hand if you need
to between the chords, okay?
See if you can get comfortable with that.
It's a lot of notes to be grabbing inside
your hands, but with some practice,
you're gonna be just fine.
Okay, when you're ready,
let's move on to the next portion.
All right, the melody
continues the same kind of a pattern.
We add one extra D, and
then one more time.
And again, switch to the thumb on the A.
Now this time we have a slightly
different chord pattern we're gonna play.
Holding on to the A here,
recognize that A on the top, and
then there's a note right next to it,
that's a G.
Okay, and then you're gonna slide down so
that instead of the fourth finger
you're gonna use your fifth
finger on that G and G, E, C, C-sharp
Now, the hardest thing about this,
if you haven't noticed,
your pinky tends to be one
of your weakest fingers.
So it can be a little tricky if you're not
used to it to kind of get both of these
fingers to come down at the same time.
Fortunately, whenever you pair your
pinky with your fourth finger,
those two will be much stronger,
than if you play your pinky by itself.
So, it's always a nice idea to try to
pair them up whenever possible, okay.
So, and by the way, they are all attached
to kind of, the same group of tendons.
These two fingers and
then these three are separate,
have a different tendons that operate,
that's why.
You almost have a two sided muscle
operation, or tendon operation.
So that explains why these
two are a bit weaker, but
they also work better as a pair.
So again together.
Do your best to squeeze them together,
and then shift your hand down here.
All right.
Let's review it one more time,
from the second part of the melody.
One more time on the D.
Switch to the one.
Reach up to the octave higher, and
this time this note's going
to be a little closer.
And then five and two.
All right, good.
Let's add the left hand to that pattern or
let's take a look at the left hand first
before adding it together, all right?
Okay, let's bridge this a little bit
with the last [SOUND] D
major chord that we just
finished with in the previous phrase.
Okay so that's where we're starting and
now we're going to bridge
into the next set of chords.
All right, so A fall, that's F,
and then this is gonna be E.
[SOUND] And let's take a look,
the note above the staff and
that ledger line's gonna be a C sharp.
Again take a look very carefully.
When you look at a sharp,
if you're figuring out,
you've got multiple notes, which note
is being effected by the accidental or
the sharp,
always look at the middle enclosed area.
That's a little square inside the sharp.
And that should roughly align horizontally
with the note that it's affecting.
So as we can see, it's affecting the C.
Turning the C into a C sharp here, okay?
So, we have C sharp.
[SOUND] The line below that
is going to be the A and
then right next to that note is a G.
Okay, [SOUND] we'll play all three of
these together starting on the E again.
[SOUND] C sharp on top.
[SOUND] Same thing again [SOUND] and
now we're gonna do the same kind of chord,
but we're just not gonna
play the top C sharp.
We're gonna leave that out, so these two
notes stay the same from here to here.
Same two notes.
[SOUND] Okay, in fact,
you can use the same fingers,
omitting the thumb from the C
sharp if you prefer, okay?
Again, let's just review from
that last D major chord.
Now you're gonna move up to the E here,
C sharp reach up.
And then we're gonna take the off the C
sharp on top and
just play the bottom two notes like that.
All right,
play it until those
chords feel comfortable,
particularly the bridge between
the previous phrase and the next phrase.
All right, let's put it all together.
All right since we play the opening
melody, the last note we're playing
the right hand is gonna be
this F sharp and the D.
I always like to try to connect the
previous material a little bit into new
That's what I call pothole practicing,
filling in your potholes,
before and after.
So now, we have this, so
just remember that, left hand,
we're playing D major chord like this,
the simplified version.
Nice and slow, let's take it together,
ready and play this together.
You're gonna take
advantage of that rest and
jump down with your right hand to the D.
And you're gonna play the D
again together with that.
And switch to the A.
Move this up to the E.
Remember the C sharp here.
Hold onto your thumb.
Move this down to the five and
the C sharp.
Remember now we're gonna
take off the C sharp.
So just play those two notes over here.
So I just coached you through that.
Let's try it again.
Play it through.
A little quieter without so
much yakking while you play.
Give this a try,
see if you can figure this out.
Again, F sharp and D up on top here,
left hand will start on the D.
Ready, and jump down to the D.
Switch and move up left hand.
C sharp, up there.
Again, and
you've got the C sharp on the left.
A lot to coordinate, but
you're gonna be just fine.
I know you can do it.
So get this comfortable before
moving on to the next section.
Okay, just like before, we're gonna take
the last set of notes that we just
finished with in the right hand,
the G and the C-sharp played
with a five and a two, okay?
Now, the next note is gonna takes us to a
C, which is the ledger line note below E.
And, that has a sharp next to it,
so we're gonna play C-sharp.
And it repeats.
The first line note over here ew.
ew great big.
That's gonna be a B up here, and
I'll switch this pinky with a one.
Same idea that's happening
that we did previously,
it's gonna be an octave
higher to this next note.
This is a high B, and
the space down below that is a G.
Now you can either use a five, four.
Or if you're not comfortable with that
space between those two fingers,
those two weak fingers,
you could try seeing how this feels,
a five three instead.
Your third finger is a lot stronger than
your fourth.
Experiment with it.
If you like this better, great.
If you prefer a three, that option is
certainly something you could use instead.
Again, fingering, the whole point
of fingering is to be comfortable.
You don't have to worry about
doing it one way or the other.
Just find out which one works best for
your hand, okay?
For now, I'm gonna use five, four.
Again, holding onto this
thumb the whole time through.
And now, remember where this G is?
I'm gonna replace that
with my fifth finger here.
And remember this chord,
we just played it.
The G and the C-sharp over here.
All right, so let's practice just
that little transition there.
The B with your thumb, octave up for
the higher B, break and then.
Now do it one more time with
your alternate fingering.
Ready one, and how about a five three.
Give that a try, replacing the G
over here with the fifth finger.
Let's just do the whole
thing one more time through.
from this previous chord from the previous
section, starting from there.
Ready and rest.
Jump down to the C-sharp.
Replace that with a one.
Hold onto it.
Replace that G with a pinky.
All right.
So get comfortable with that, and
let's take a look at the left
hand that plays along with it.
All right.
So if you remember, we just finished up.
We were playing this with a five and
a thumb on a C sharp.
And we left off by taking off the C sharp,
where we're left with
just these two notes.
Which we were playing with a two and
a three.
Okay, so that's where we left off.
Now we're going to do something kind of
interesting, an interesting
technique here.
We're going to jump down to the lower note
okay, so A fall down ball, so right below
that B is going to be this A at
the bottom space there, the F clef area.
Now we're going to reach
up A is in the top.
But then we have a G and then we've got
this E, ew boy that's pretty awkward.
My hand's small but
I would imagine even for
a larger hand this is not a very
comfortable thing to be reaching for.
So here's a little trick.
Instead of playing with three
notes with three fingers.
I'm going to play three
notes with two fingers.
Watch how I do this.
[SOUND] I'm going to take my thumb and
because of the shape of the thumb,
I can instead of playing on the note,
I'm gonna play right on the split.
Two notes with one thumb.
How cool is that?
It's called a double thumb.
I don't know if there's
a technical term for that but
I'm going to call it a double thumb, okay?
So, a thumb right between
those two notes on the crack,
and then you're gonna use your second
finger to play the E underneath.
All right, so you're using two
fingers to play three notes.
Pretty neat, eh?
Okay, so you're gonna split this.
It's a very comfortable way of playing
It's gonna feel weird playing
in that crack, but and
it basically just repeats
a couple more times.
Okay, so
let's practice again the transition.
You want to be able to move from here,
and move to here.
All right?
If you noticed,
we have a lot of the same notes, but
just being replaced by different fingers.
So in fact, one way to practice
this would be to go from here and
play all these three notes combined from
the previous segment, and take a look
what those three notes are, and
then replace them with these two fingers.
Practice them back and forth, five, three,
two and then one, one, two,
the double thumb, okay?
So one more time from here.
And then you're gonna have to
jump down to the A, over here.
All right?
So just try to remember where that is, and
we're gonna replace those notes with
double thumb and a second finger.
Okay, one more time.
We're gonna play this little segment,
these four measures.
As a musical phrase and.
Jump under the A.
Double thumb.
pretty cool.
All right let's put all
of that together now.
All right, if you remember,
right hand,
we're playing a G and a C sharp.
Left hand we're playing an E and
G with these fingers.
Five, three, two down here,
and five, two up here.
That's the bridge point from, or
the pothole point from before.
So let's play that from there.
Jump down to C sharp on the right hand.
Repeat the C.
Now we're going to replace
the pinky with the thumb and
we're going to jump down to an A.
Now the double thumb and
the second finger take over here,
hold on to your thumb with the right hand.
Move down here.
All right, good.
So the most dangerous point is going
to be from here to transition to here.
And you're going from the pinky,
B flat, B.
Excuse me the B, and that's pretty easy
to switch cuz that's the same note.
The tricky thing is gonna be
coordinating it to go to that.
Again the last note of the two and
the three, and the B here.
All right?
So you wanna just kinda maybe
focus right on this spot and
finding the A quickly, all right.
This A over here, visually you can see
it between those, second of the three,
second of the third of
the three black key set here.
Keep your eye down here, perhaps, so
you can see those three black keys.
And aim for the spot between them, okay?
Jump, all right.
Place that.
All right.
Let's try that again nice and slow, okay?
From here.
All set, and.
together here, jump down to C sharp.
Watch out for the jump here.
Replace it with the thumb here and
jump to the A.
Double thumb.
Hold on to the thumb in the right hand.
Tricky, it sounds pretty rich though,
doesn't it?
All right, let's move on.
Again, starting from
where we just left off.
The G and the C sharp, okay.
We're gonna jump to, again,
it almost sounds the same here,
we're gonna jump back down to that
C sharp here in this next section.
And again replace it with a thumb.
All right, now,
we have a whole new chord
we're going to play.
Again, holding your thumb down, the very
next note the next line up is going to be
a D, next line is going to be an F and
notice there's a sharp next to it,
we're going to change that to an F sharp.
The next,
we're running out of staff lines, so
the next ledger line would be here.
But we can see that the note
is above that ledger line, so
that's actually going to be a B.
Okay, so all together.
Sounds like this, okay?
Starting from here,
we can see that this is a B minor chord.
We're just adding the B on top to make
it much richer just like we did with
the left hand a little while ago,
see that?
And then we're gonna
take off the top note and
just play the bottom two
of that chord on top, okay?
Let's do the whole thing again,
again bridging from before, the G and
the C sharp, [SOUND] ready and C sharp.
We jump for the B, and
then the thumb, okay.
Now this big chord here.
Again, when you're thinking of this,
you're going from this B to this B, okay?
This is an interval that you're going
to become very, very familiar with.
We're going to be starting
to play a lot of these.
As I mentioned before,
this is an octave, eight notes apart.
The same note B eight notes apart.
So there's the B, reach for
this B with your pinky above, okay?.
And then you're gonna fill
the rest of the notes.
While holding thumb down.
Just the bottom two.
Let's try that again without stopping.
rest, C sharp,
press with the thumb, octave B, ready?
And then
All right, now let's take a look at the
left hand that accompanies this portion.
Okay, let's bridge with
what we left off with on the left hand.
A really cool A and
the double thumb A on top of that.
Okay, so that's what we're leaving off of.
And now, we're gonna be moving
to a new chord sequence, okay?
Now, A fall down, that's a D.
And then, the ledger line right above that
will take us to this and it's above that,
so that's another D.
Go to C octave there and then A,
and then the F-clef F, which is sharp.
We're returning to that D major chord,
remember that, okay?
So, we're back to this.
Just like we had in the beginning,
nice and rich.
And then, we do the same thing
by leaving out the top note.
The last two here,
So, one more time from here.
The A, the double thumb.
Now jump to the D, okay?
You have the option of either leaving
the hand with those two
fingers if you want,
since you were just playing them,
if that's comfortable, that's fine.
The other option would be to do this after
playing this to jump down
to more familiar three one.
Again, your preference,
whichever one you'd like to do.
One more time.
Straight through.
I'm just gonna go ahead and
jump down to my thumb.
Again, practice that until you're really
comfortable before adding
in the right hand.
All right.
We're gonna cover the potholes here.
G, C-sharp on the right hand
on the previous section.
Left hand, double thumb A over here.
All right.
Let's start from there.
Nice and slow.
Here we go.
Together here.
Take advantage of the rest and
jump down to the C-sharp.
Okay, and then,
we're gonna replace that
with a one here and the D.
Remember the octave D here,
hold on to your thumb.
Octave B.
And then play the bottom
two notes without the top.
And again, you have the option of just
playing it like this leaving off the D
with your thumb, or switching down,
whatever you feel comfortable doing.
One more time, ready,
from the bridge point before.
Ready and, double thumb, push down.
Thumb here, D.
Tricky, but I think you can hear it.
It sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
All right,
let's go on to the next section.