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: Moonlight Sonata - E & F 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.
As we've seen with some songs that we've
studied already, sometimes
the melody is not in the right hand.
And in this piece, the melody is actually
gonna shift down to the left hand.
So, let's take a look at
what we're doing here.
We just finished over here with an A,
thumb on an A and
third finger on a low D, okay.
Now, you're gonna hold this D,
this lower D, if you notice in the music,
is actually a whole note,
which is a very long value.
It's the equivalent of holding it for
the length of four quarter beats.
But the top of it is
only a dotted half note.
So, this is going to hold for three beats,
two, three, and the fourth beat, I keep my
third finger stuck on the D and then play
before changing.
Sound familiar?
It's what the right hand
was doing earlier, but
now the left hand thumb is taking it over.
Hold that bottom note.
See that?
Now we're gonna get ready
to go to an octave.
All right?
Hold that pinky down as long as you can.
See that?
All right?
All right?
Fortunately, your thumb is a nice,
big, fat, strong finger,
so it's much easier to play this
melody out quite naturally.
Whereas, with the pinky,
you kind of have to struggle to
push it a little bit harder.
So, work on that, and
then let's put it in context.
Now, the next portion is going to
be particularly challenging on
the right hand.
So, we're gonna take a couple of lessons
to take a look at the next section.
We've been looking at a lot of
different ways to play chords.
A basic chord, if you'll recall,
starts with three notes.
The first note, the third note, and
the fifth note of a note in a given scale.
In this instance, this is a D minor chord.
And we can change
positions of that chord so
that you can take that bottom
note move it to the top.
That's still a D minor chord
just in a different position.
You can continue doing that,
move that to the top.
Still a D minor chord in
a different position.
So in this particular instance,
there are really three different
positions of a basic chord.
Now, you can have a full chord by
simply doubling up on that bottom note.
And again, you can change positions
by doubling up the bottom note.
All right?
The reason I'm showing you this,
is because that's gonna be key to
helping you conquer this next section.
Let me just pay it through for
you to see what you're up against.
[LAUGH] A little scary right?
But if you understand how
chords are put together,
you're gonna have this lick in no time.
So remember I was showing you chords?
Many different ways we can play them.
We've been studying from the very first
piece how to play chords one letter
at a time.
Then you started learning how
to click things together.
As a group, as octaves.
Now, all we're gonna do is we're
gonna change the order of that chord.
So, let's take it apart.
What I'm showing you in this next
illustration is kind of an extract
of that passage I just played,
but in chord form.
So for example, these are the first
few notes of this passage.
And then we're gonna do the same.
If you recognize this,
this is D minor but with the A doubled.
Now we're gonna,
the next chord is almost the same
because we're using these two notes and
replacing it with this fingering here.
And then we're gonna go on to
use these top two notes, and
add an A on top of that.
So practice this first measure.
See if you can find that.
And again, the key is to
recognize that these top two notes
are the same as the bottom two notes here.
And then, we're gonna move to that.
So look at that sequence and
practice going through that first measure.
All right?
Now the next one's a little trickier.
We've looked at basic major and
minor chords, minor,
major, they have three different notes.
We're now gonna take a look at something
that has more than three notes,
and that would be a seventh chord.
That's one kind of type of seventh chord,
here's another type of seventh chord.
But we have four different kinds of notes,
that means we can have
different positions.
One extra position because
we have more notes.
All right?
Now in this instance we have
an interesting kind of seventh.
I won't go into the details of that but
here's the core that we're gonna
be building as we climb
down from that first run.
Let's start to climb and
build it up from the bottom so ew great.
That's a G.
And here's an instance where you really
wanna look at the inside of your
Next, notice a B, but you notice that
the flat has that line going through it.
So that's a B flat.
Notice the sharp,
from inside is inside of a space, so
that means that the C is sharped.
Then you have an E, got it?
That's why you wanna really look at
the bellies of your accidentals and
see how they line up against your notes.
So this is the chord we're working
with [SOUND] sounds really scary.
Now the top two notes here are gonna be
the same as the bottom two notes here
are gonna be the same as
the top two notes here.
we're gonna build that same
chord down without the C sharp.
So, I want you to practice
from here to here.
And then B flat.
And now this is a different chord
we're gonna jump to C sharp.
Ledger line down to A.
Note right below that is
gonna be this G over here.
So now this is a little bit more
of a challenging core progression.
Work on this.
Remember these two on the bottom
are the same as these two on the top.
And then I want you to think of sliding
your thumb down to get this going.
Let's review that from
the first set of chords here.
All right?
Building it up, that's pretty easy because
we're using a lot of the same notes,
here's where it gets a little tricky.
E on the top.
Bottom becomes the top here.
And then.
All right?
Get that comfortable and then we'll
look at the next sequence of chords.
All right, continuing on with the passage,
we're gonna find some similarities,
some differences.
But overall, if you've conquered the first
two measures of this chord exercise,
I think you'll find the next two
measures to be not as difficult.
So continuing on after you finish
this sequence here you're gonna
go back to a D minor chord
in a different position.
So remember we started with this before,
gonna come to this position with F on
the bottom, F on the top, D in the middle.
Continuing up this progression,
take the bottom two notes, the top
two notes here become the bottom two notes
of the next sequence, again D minor.
And again, the top two notes here become
the bottom two notes of this sequence.
And then we just play the top three notes,
so let's review that again, okay?
So starting from the F,
top becomes the bottom two here,
top becomes the bottom two here,
and we just play this at the top.
All right?
Now we're going to come back down.
Again, if you remember this chord,
it's the same as what we came down
from in the previous iteration.
All right, remember that?
The bottom two become
the top of these two and
again the same chord to finish
off here with the C sharp here.
Let's do that again slowly coming down
from here, gonna move to this E,
C sharp, B flat,and G.
Bottom two notes here become the top two
notes of this version of the same chord,
and now we have this weird
C sharp minor A and G.
And then we're gonna finish
the whole sequence with a big D
minor chord based on
those at that F octave.
Okay, now let's take a look
at the whole thing and
the chord exercise sequence and
then we'll tackle the actual notes.
Okay, reviewing,
here's the passage.
It first starts on an A octave, remember?
And then the top two notes here,
and the bottom of this.
And then we take this and we move
down to this E with the C sharp and
the B flat,
bottom two become the top of these.
And then this C sharp, now I want you
to use a five, three, and two here.
Okay, then we go back to D minor here,
and then this, and then here.
And one more chord to finish up here.
Back to this E, B flat, and
then C sharp, and then, okay?
And again, as I've suggested,
if you have a difficult time getting
through the whole thing, work in pairs.
So for example.
Just work this pair until this is
From here to here,
get that transition comfortable.
Then this is going to
be the difficult one.
From here to here,
here to here, work that out.
Here to here, here to here, work that out.
Then from here to here,
which'll be tricky,
then here to here, okay?
Then to here, here to here,
here to here, this is pretty easy here,
then here, the tricky one,
to E to this B flat octave.
So work on those pairs.
And then conclude to that.
Okay, you can do it.
Just be patient.
Again, this is just the exercise to
prepare you for the actual notes.
All right, now,
let's see how this is actually broken up.
I've rewritten the passage in the blocks
of the chords that I just showed you,
Now the patterns a little bit different
than the actual notes, watch this.
Okay, so here's the notes rewritten
according to the chords we just learned.
Okay, that's the first chord.
Here's the second chord.
All right.
And here's the top chord here.
Now, this is the tricky one.
You're going to put your third
finger over to this C sharp.
Now watch this carefully.
All right?
And then we're gonna go
to this sequence here
for that chord.
All right?
then we're gonna go to the last
chord in that first section.
Remember this?
Now the tricky thing is that we're gonna
transition to playing two notes here.
Then start the next sequence
by itself like this.
And then the next chord.
All right?
And then the next chord here.
And here's the top three notes.
Okay, and
now we have that C sharp minor theme.
It's actually easier to play the notes
by themselves in the four chord.
And then the B flat here.
And then the C sharp.
And then the ending is this again here.
See how it's broken down?
So if you've got those chords down,
it's a lot easier.
It's going to fit right under your hand.
And all you'll have to remember
is the order of the piece.
As you can see it's kind of a pattern
of up down up down up down, and
then down up down up down up.
Instead of playing the notes
sequentially up, up down up.
Down, up, down, up, down,
up, then we come down,
down, up, down, up,
down, up, down, up down.
See what I mean?
So we're kind of going
in a zig-zag pattern.
So once again, let me play it slowly,
see how it's broken down.
That's the first chord and
then that's the second chord.
Here's a third chord.
Now that coming down descending chord.
Next chord.
Next chord with a fifth finger here so
that we'd be ready for the transition
back to the D minor together here.
And then.
Okay, and then here.
Then we have this top part over here,
C sharp.
Good, and
then the fifth finger on the B flat here.
And then C sharp here.
Then we end with this D and F.
That last chord over there.
All right?
Once you recognize the chords
from the previous exercise kind
of written out this way.
And again, just like we practiced in
pairs to get pairs and chords together,
I want you to try to get the pairs of the
broken out chords together as well here.
So for example
don't just stop here.
Get to the next pair and
see how that fits the hand.
So at least get that pair going.
Again, once you have that one,
work from this pair to this one.
Got it?
Okay, now from this pair to this.
And again, from here.
To this pair.
It's here, and
again from here to this one,
this is a little trickier,
a little more awkward sounding or feeling.
And if I'm here, this is also kind of
awkward because you have to kind of
stretch open from that, okay.
So stretch open here.
Okay once you've got that comfortable
to play this together here and
then from here get your thumb in here.
And then your A and, sorry, and
then go to the next section here.
One more time from here.
And then from here to the next one.
then from here to the next one as well.
I hope you start to see that, even
though it looks extremely intimidating,
once you understand how
chords are put together.
And how they can shift positions by
just changing where the notes occur,
it'll fit under your hand like a glove.
All right.
Now let's put this all
together nice and slow.
Now we're gonna return to the true
rhythm and the true distribution.
So you're not gonna see the chords broken
out, but you'll feel them under your hand.
Let's do it one time, the right
hand alone as a continuous phrase.
All right?
And hopefully you will recognize, in fact
if you want to you can even mark your
pencil as to where the chord breaks
happen if that's easier for you.
Here we go.
Two, three,
four, coming down.
Go through
in that C sharp is a tricky one.
Reach up.
Third finger here.
fifth finger here.
And then, open up here.
Let me play it slowly, one more time.
And just shout out where the changes are,
right hand alone.
Now you move your thumb to
the next chord position.
Move your thumb to the next
top position here.
Now, your third finger
comes to the C sharp.
You have this next chord
that you're breaking out.
Now, fifth finger on B flat,
see that octave?
Now, fifth finger on C sharp.
Now, open up split to the D and F.
We finish that.
Now the new chord with a thumb on a D.
Thumb on an A here.
Get to the top and
close that off with a three one.
Third finger and a C sharp.
Play that chord out.
Now fifth finger on a B flat, open that
up, fifth finger on a C sharp here.
Open up to a D and a F.
Then we play this D minor chord broken up.
Hopefully that will help you.
Now, let's add the left hand.
[LAUGH] One at a time, you can do it.
The left hand, if you recall,
is playing A and
a D with a one of three and
we're gonna be playing this melody.
Now just to kind of give
you a short cut of this.
We're gonna be alternating between this,
in the octave and
then, just back and forth between
those two things, very simple.
Octave, and then returning to the D.
Not too bad.
Let's put it together.
Nice and slow.
In fact, yeah,
let's not worry about the pedal yet.
Let's just put our hands together and
then we'll put the pedal in and
turn it into magic.
Here we go.
Nice and slow.
Position here.
When you get to the top A.
Here we go.
Then the left hand continues on to here.
Understand how that fits between?
New position here.
Ready, new position here, and left hand.
In between open up, good.
New position here.
New position here.
Top it off here together with the left
In between, new position here.
Get your fifth finger in here.
New position fifth finger and
together with the left hand.
In between and split it up.
One more time,
I'm not gonna say anything
I want you to listen for
how this 16th note fits in
between the right hand notes.
Ready nice and slow.
Here we go.
One more
time, and
All right
Let's add
some magic.
Now we're gonna do it with F.
We're coming from a previous section that
had pedals, so
let's put the pedal down first and
we will change as soon
as we start both hands.
Ready, and.
So your goal is going to be to
work on this with the pedal and
gradually get it up to about
a speed that sounds like this.
you can.
Yes, you can.
Yes, you can.
And you will.
It's gonna be amazing.
And you're just gonna be like, wow.
I can do this!
I'm so excited for you.
All right, Minor details coming up
to help and help us end this piece.
Now when you've
land here, okay.
We're gonna actually do something fun.
The third finger in your bottom here,
I wanna pivot to a fifth finger.
It's not 100% necessary, but
it's kinda cool if you can.
So when you play this,
you're gonna pivot a five.
Remember how we did that?
hold the note down, push the other finger
here, and then release the other finger.
That's a pivot.
Push the other finger down, release.
The reason I wanna do this is
because I wanna hold on to this and
then reach up and play the D.
So we have two hands
combined on one staff.
The stems that are going
up are gonna be for
the right hand, the stems that
are going down are for the left hand.
So watch how this is going to
work at this very end here.
then your left hand is gonna play this D.
And then the right hand
will continue the pattern.
And it's kind of a seamless thing.
So one more time, watch how this
is gonna work at the end here.
And of course, with the pedal down.
That's why it's not 100% necessary,
cuz you are pushing the pedal down.
So if the pivot is throwing you off,
leave it out.
It's really no big deal.
With the pedal,
if you wanna leave the pivot out
just move your hand over to the D.
Sounds just as good.
But, you know,
if you want to get the extra technique in,
be my guest and give that a try.
All right,
let's end this.
So we've just finished,
[SOUND] adding your thumb in here, okay.
And now we're gonna play the same two
notes, but with the tune of five.
The Right hand will continue that pattern.
then the left hand will continue
the pattern from here on out.
[SOUND] F, A, F and ledger line D.
So let's take a look at how
that very end thing goes here.
Ready, and again it's a continuous thing.
You're sharing the triplet
between both hands.
Goes like this.
All right, of course with
the pedal it sounds pretty awesome.
Let's combine those measures,
the previous measure here, and
let's use the pedal, okay.
So we ended on a one and
a three left hand, remember.
Reach up with the one.
Now you're gonna play those same two
notes in the bottom with a two and a five.
Change the pedal.
Change the pedal here.
Now the last two chords, D A F, D A F.
A D minor chord.
[SOUND] Okay, and one more time.
[SOUND] Hold the pedal
all the way through.
All right, one quick little detail to make
this send chills up everybody's spine.
Try to play this as soft as possible.
So let's do this ending again.
As you get to the end,
lighten up your touch.
Change your pedal.
Think about petting a cat.
now think about petting a kitten.
[SOUND] All right,
that's kind of the secret to playing soft.
Think about the difference between
petting a German shepherd and
maybe an adult cat and
then maybe petting a kitten.
That lightness of touch is exactly the
kind of stroke you need for soft playing.
Okay, hold onto it as long as you like.
And again, a little tip, if you want
the whole thing to come off together,
release your hands from the chord first.
Keep your foot on the pedal.
And then when you release your pedal,
everything will come off at the same time.
What I like to do is I just like to let it
hang and let the sound die out by itself.
Moonlight, yeah, lovely.
[LAUGH] [SOUND] Go back,
play it again, and enjoy.
This piece is yours.
Put lot's of pedal in and,
man, just have fun.
Congratulations, really.
If you've gotten to the end of this
series of lessons, congratulations.
You've just worked through some
of the most difficult things for
any pianist, beginner, intermediate,
advanced, professional, what have you.
And I hope the tips and tricks and
the secrets that I've shown you
help you to see that you can do it.
I'm really looking forward to
seeing your video submissions.
I really wanna hear and see the way
that you put this together, and
to see ways that I can help
you make it easier for
yourself or
help you make it sound even better.
Take your time.
As we've mentioned over and over again,
pothole practice, pothole practice.
Don't just go through, okay?
Make sure as you master a section
connect it to the one before,
connect it to the one after.
Always look for
the smallest segments that stop you.
Go one note before, one note after.
Make that connection,
and before you know it,
your muscles will automatically find
the right place to be at the right time.
Okay, I really look forward to seeing
your video submissions for this piece.