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Popular Piano Lessons: Moonlight Sonata - A Section

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Now, we're gonna work on one of
the masterpieces in all
of music literature,
the Moonlight Sonata, by Beethoven.
This is easily in the top five or
ten pieces that people
wish that they could play.
And guess what?
You are going to learn how to play this.
I'm going to show you some
amazing tips and tricks for
being able to play a melody and
a harmony at the same time with one hand.
We've seen this before, but
this is even more involved.
We'll also be working on getting your
octaves to be able to play in succession
more easily.
And we've got this amazing ending that
you've just gotta hear to believe.
It sounds incredibly difficult, but
hopefully I do a good job of
breaking it down for you.
So, you see the secret pattern inside,
and can learn it and play it and
feel comfortable and
really just I hope you have a lot of fun.
That's the key, have fun as you play and
it sounds amazing right from the get go.
Let's start by taking a look at
the time signature for
the Moonlight Sonata.
You'll notice it's indicated as
four four which means we'll be
counting four quarter notes for
each measure.
Normally, we would play two eighth
notes for every quarter note.
But a quick look at the first measure, and
we can see we have a lot
more than should fit.
Normally, in a four-quarter-note measure,
you should have what?
Eight eighth notes, right?
But here, we actually have 12.
What's going on?
We're creating what we call triplets.
So in the space of two eighth notes,
we're actually going to be fitting three.
In other words, for every beat, we're
gonna have three eighth note triplets.
It's a way of fudging the math in music,
So let's take a look at
the opening triplets for
this incredibly beautiful piece.
So, let's find our first notes.
Remember ew is our bottom
G clef staff line note.
As you can see,
we have two ledger lines that we need
to climb down to find the first note.
So E, first ledger line down would be C.
Next ledger line down would be A.
So our first note is an A.
Okay, use your right hand thumb there, and
this next note is right below
the bottom staff line making that a D.
The next note is the next space up.
All right, and
that is our opening sequence right there.
So play that.
[SOUND] Okay, and
then we just repeat that four times.
And every three of these will be
the equivalent of one quarter beat.
So one, two, three, four,
okay, pretty simple.
Now let's move to the next measure.
You'll notice that we've lost
one of the ledger lines,
now we only have one ledger line.
So we're up to a B now.
But take a look,
there's a flat next to it, so
we're gonna be playing B flat instead.
The other two notes remain the same.
Okay, and
what I'm gonna do in this exercise,
I'm gonna compress a little bit so
we can see what's going on here.
All right, that'll be our next chord.
After that we're gonna move to another
sequence where we keep the B flat.
But now we're using the E,
and then we're going to a G.
So let's practice this whole sequence
from here, the A.
Okay, let's play that four times.
Now let's practice going to the B flat
with your thumb here.
Now, staying on the B flat,
let's play these other two notes,
three five.
one more time practicing that through.
Ready and.
Moving up.
One quick little tip,
you'll notice when I started
my hand kind of plays towards
the back of these white keys.
When I start to play the black key,
I actually slid my hand up so
that the thumb can fit them comfortably.
So you'll probably end up playing the
remaining notes as long as your thumb is
on the black key higher up into the white
keys in between these black keys here.
So just be aware you might have a little
less space to move your fingers in
Okay, but the sliding will help you
feel that transition more comfortably.
Let's take a look at the tail
end of this phrase on the right hand.
After this, we're going to move back
down to the double ledger line.
Note down here in the right hand,
that brings us back down to an A.
We keep these two notes at first.
We're gonna stay on the A.
And now we move down to a D,
F, okay, D, and now an E.
And now we're gonna move this down,
as you can see, a little bit lower to a G.
Here's a C with a sharp next to it.
All right.
So I wanna get this little
sequence down comfortably.
All right, ready?
One more time from here.
Here we go, ready, and.
Moving down from the top two notes.
Now we move the top note down a little
Now the bottom note down.
The middle note down as well.
All right.
Now, let's try to bridge what we looked
at before with what we're looking at
right now.
We'll start in the middle of
this phrase with the B flat.
Remember this?
Let's practice this sequence, let's give
this a try with this exercise here, ready.
Moving up to here.
Thumb down to A.
You can slide out if you want.
Moving down.
Moving down,
second finger on C sharp.
Practice that sequence until you can
move through the different note changes
smoothly and again after you've played
your thumb on the black key and
you return to the white keys,
feel free to slide back out as well.
Now let's put the whole opening
phrase in the right hand
back in context and
add some more notes to finish it off.
So from the very beginning,
remember the A, D, F.
This is going to be repeated
several times.
Second measure is the same thing.
Now we move up to the B flat here.
Now change the notes here in the top.
Now we have the sequence
that's going down.
Move your third finger down here
going down.
Now, take a look at what's happening,
the notes or
have moved down to the F clef,
the bass clef, the F clef.
But we're not gonna play
that with our left hand.
It's just a convenient way of
making sure the notes don't look so
cluttered on the page, so we're gonna
actually play those F clef notes,
the next F clef notes,
with the right hand.
So F clef, that's an F clef, F right
there, so [SOUND] we know where that is.
A now we're back to a ledger line.
It's above that one, so
that's a D over there.
[SOUND] Okay?
Pretty simple.
Let's do that again from the measure
before and transition into that.
So, don't let the jump in clefs throw you.
It's actually very close together.
And right from the measure before
the descending sequence
Not jumping clefs but we're just
going to the next note so very close.
Now lets continue on.
Now here we're going to move
the thumb back up to an A and
replace that fourth finger
with the second finger here.
[SOUND] Okay?
Yes, you've guessed it,
this is the same harmony.
We're just [SOUND] replacing it with
different fingers and a new position.
So we go from here, [SOUND] and
then replace this with the thumb,
replace this with the second finger,
and we're back to the opening sequence,
if you'll remember that, okay?
So now, one more time,
from the very beginning,
let's put the whole thing together.
Ready, and, 2, 3,
4, second measure,
3, 4 move your thumb up,
you can slide up if you want.
Keep the B flat, moving up.
Now moving the thumb down to the A.
Moving the top two notes down,
compressing them.
Moving the thumb down and
going down to the F and the F clef.
And move right back up.
Now let's take a look at your left hand.
The left hand will be
playing a lot of octaves.
Remember what an octave is?
An octave is a set of a pair of
notes that are eight notes apart.
So if you have one note that's a D,
the octave below it would also be a D.
Like so, okay?
This is going to be a very
useful interval, or distance for
your hands to become comfortable with.
This piece is full of octaves, everywhere.
So let's take a look, and I'm going to
save you a little bit of reading time so
we're not spending too much
time counting ledger lines.
The whole opening,
on the left hand is made up of octaves.
So what we're going to do is we're just
going to take a look at the top notes.
And then assume the octave
is in the bottom.
Okay, I'm gonna save you
a little bit of time there.
So, a fall down.
First, octave is a D octave.
Now I want you to practice this
with the pedal right off the bat.
Okay, so just push your pedal down.
[SOUND] All right, and play the D octave.
Take a look, we now move down to a C.
And when you play it, change your pedal.
The next one is gonna be a B,
but we have a flat next to it.
So you are moving to a B flat.
Change your pedal.
Now we skip line to line going down to
the ball game.
Okay and that moves up a step.
To the A and then back up to a D.
Notice how I'm changing
the pedal on each octave.
Okay let's practice that
again with the pedal.
Push your pedal down first,
open up your piano sound.
go ahead and move, change.
A move and change.
Back up.
You'll notice I'm using
the pedal to my advantage, all right?
I'm taking time to lift my hand off
before the notes are finished but
the pedal connects them for me.
Isn't that great?
I love the pedal.
So you can take your time to find your
next notes, your next octaves, and
just keep the notes held with your foot.
Remember not to lift the pedal until
you actually play the next octaves.
[SOUND] All right.
Let's start putting this all together.
Now let's put
our hands together.
Right hand starting on the A, D, and F.
Left hand is gonna be
starting on the D octave.
And we're gonna push our pedal
down before playing to open up
the sound of your piano.
Here move your left hand
down ahead of time to get ready.
Change the pedal.
Move your hand,
get ready for the B flat change.
Now we're gonna change the pedal again,
in the middle of this measure, ready,
change, change the notes
on the right hand.
Change, the right hand is moving down.
Change the pedal.
Okay, moving up.
Right hand takes over the bass clef
notes there and it climbs back up.
Good, as long as you have your right hand
sequence really comfortable,
it shouldn't be
too difficult to find
your left hand octaves.
Again I would suggest aiming with
your thumb to find all the octave
notes in succession, so
use your thumb as a targeting guide.
Let's do this one more time.
Put your pedal down before
you start playing, and.
Change to the B flat for both hands.
Change the pedal again here.
down here.
And climbing up.
Get comfortable with
this before moving on.