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Popular Piano Lessons: Chopin - Prelude in E minor

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This version of the Chopin Prelude
in E minor,
is very very close to the original.
I just changed a couple of details
to make it easier to focus
on the important technical
aspects of this piece.
Mainly, understanding chord positions,
so I took out some of the extra
noodling that, while beautiful,
it would have kind of got in the way,
really distracted us from getting to
the core of understanding those chords.
So this is the main focus of this piece.
Feeling the chords, different positions,
how you transition from
one chord to the next.
And it still sounds awfully close to
the original so after learning this if you
wanna go to the original and take
a look at the extra embellished notes,
you'll find that there are not
too many differences and
you'll be able to learn it very
very quickly, very easily.
But for now, let's take the opportunity
to use this piece to get
comfortable with different types of
chords, different types of transitions.
And, making them all
work together smoothly.
The right-hand melody is really not that
hard, the challenging part
is going to be the left hand
because we're playing lots of
different kinds of chords.
So let's spend a little bit of time
getting all the left hand notes and
chords figured out.
So, when the left hand comes in,
let's start building this chord over here.
Let's start from the bottom of the notes.
So after the F clef F it's going to be
the next note right above it which is a G,
and then a B building up from that.
We see that there's a little gap here.
If you can see,
there's like two ledger lines.
So, the first gap ledger
line would have been a D,
this is the note right above that.
That's gonna be an E, okay.
So this is actually a form of E minor,
but with the E moved to the top.
We're gonna use a one, two,
and four to play that.
And you basically
just play it eight times, okay?
We're playing eighth notes here.
So that means two eighth notes for
each quarter beat.
There are four quarter beats in a measure.
Three and four and
now you'll notice that the E stays
the same in the next measure.
So we're gonna keep that.
Now let's build down, A,
that should be the top note of
your F clef pneumonic, okay.
A and then F on the bottom, but
there's a sharp next to that.
Okay, see that?
That's the chord.
Now, whenever we learn a new chord,
immediately go back and
play the previous chord.
And, then go to the next one.
Okay, that's gonna be the pattern
of learning this piece.
Every time you have a new chord.
Okay, go back to the previous chord and
play the transition,
from here using two four, to three five.
There's four of these, okay?
Remember whenever we have an accidental,
the F sharp is going to stay sharp for
the rest of this measure.
So all of these next Fs are also sharp,
Okay, now notice that these two
notes in the bottom are the same,
we're moving down one note.
There's a sharp next to it,
so this is the new chord.
Go to the previous chord.
Go to the new chord.
So, four notes and
then four of this, okay?
Good, now,
let's take a look at the next one.
Here, the F sharp on
the bottom has gone away.
What do we do?
Go to the previous chord.
Go to the next chord.
Notice I'm using a lot of
the same fingers, okay.
Okay, good, play those four times.
New chord D sharp, returns to D natural.
What do we do?
Previous chord.
Next chord, okay?
Play this two times.
Now look at the differences between
this one and the next chord.
Top note, bottom note, the same.
This middle note goes down to G,
but there's a sharp next to it.
All right, so quickly go to
the previous chord, next chord.
Let's just do that much, and
then add your right hand.
Okay, let's take a look at the right hand.
It's not too challenging here.
So again, we're below the G-clef
bottom staff line with the E.
There's a ledger line here, and
this note is right below that ledger line.
That makes it a B.
Now, we're in the G-clef territory.
[SOUND] Ew great, big.
So, we see that this is an octave.
The first note is a dotted eighth note,
the next note is a sixteenth note, so
it's pretty fast.
Long, short, long, and then you come
in with the chord in the left hand.
This is the kind of piece that you really
want to play with the pedal.
And any time the left hand changes its
chords, that's when you change your pedal.
So, we're gonna be pedaling
with your left hand.
Put the pedal down first.
You can change it here if you want, or
just keep it down.
If you want to keep it down, you can.
You wanna keep track of your counts, too.
There are four quarters in every measure.
We're coming in, actually,
on the tail end of one measure
in the beginning of the piece.
This is four, one, and two, and three.
And this next note is a C above.
We come back to the B and change chords.
If you change chords, you change pedal.
Move this down the D-sharp,
change your pedal.
C changes to F natural.
Change your pedal here.
Here, you're going to
change your pedal twice.
Change your pedal again.
That's how far we've gotten, okay?
Let's quickly analyze the notes for
the next section.
All right, measure 4.
Let's take a look at these
notes on the left hand.
Remember our previous chord was D,
G sharp, and F natural.
Now the next chord is the same
except we move this down to an E.
So, again,
practice the transition from here to here.
Moving on.
The next chord is going
to be a G natural here.
Practice the transition.
Pretty easy to move that over.
Play two of those.
And the next one moves
this down to a C sharp.
Transition, okay?
Now, play that twice.
The next one's almost the same thing.
Do you see, we kind of move one note
at a time with some of these chords.
It could be a top note, bottom note,
middle note, it could be,
it's a very gradual,
beautiful change, okay?
So C sharp, C natural,
C sharp and C natural,
get that transition, four of these, and
then the middle note changes to F sharp.
See how I'm using the same fingers,
they're kind of maneuver down.
So again,
practicing that transition,
we play this several times and
then we move to a D sharp practice
the transition E to D sharp.
Play this four times.
Then this moves to D natural.
Again, go from D sharp to D natural.
Let's go one more measure.
This F sharp becomes an F natural.
actually make sure you
practice that transition.
[SOUND] Play that four times,
and then this changes to a B.
Get that transition [SOUND], okay?
Good, let's just practice up 'til there,
let's add your right hand to all of this.
All right,
measure four.
If you'll recall,
the right-hand is now on B.
[SOUND] It almost doesn't
matter what fingers you use,
as long as you use two adjacent
fingers that are comfortable.
So if you wanna switch around, you can.
Let's just go ahead, and
use the fourth finger over here,
[SOUND] with this being the right-hand.
Left-hand [SOUND] you're
playing this chord over here.
D, D sharp, and an E.
Okay, nice and slow,
let's use some pedal with this as well.
We change here with the G natural,
change the pedal.
B flat, and C sharp.
Now this moves to C natural.
F sharp, change your pedal.
B natural.
Change your pedal here.
Change your pedal one more time.
Now we're gonna move this down to D
You can keep your pedal on,
if you want here.
Now the 16th note is quick.
Goes to an A again.
This changes to an F natural.
You can switch.
Now what I'd like to do is pivot to here,
so I can have a second finger.
Okay, good.
Now, we're gonna take a look
at the rest of the notes.
Okay, measure eight.
Let's continue, but this time,
adding the right hand.
Now the right hand gets
a little bit involved okay.
Measure eight, if you recall the chords.
All right, we move down to a B.
Now, the right hand plays this G-sharp,
which is tied to the next measure.
Okay, now what I recommend
is that you go to the A,
use the third finger,
four, five, five four.
One to the E3, and
then the second finger here.
Don't forget that you're gonna be
switching to a two in the left hand.
Make sure you get this transition here.
It's kind of nice because you're
both using second fingers to make
that transition.
Don't forget the change here.
Then you move back to one, two, four.
You can use the three if you want.
I would use a five here.
If you notice this rhythm,
the sixteenth note moves
in between the two eighth
note chords in the left hand.
Okay, now I wanna ask you
to move your hand to here.
So we're gonna just move your hand
over to a five on the G, okay?
Now let's take a look at the right-hand
note, this beautiful solo.
And then you stretch on to your
second finger down to the C.
Thumb on B.
Now this D-sharp, and if you recall,
the F was sharp in
the beginning of this measure.
So we keep the F-sharp.
Now you're gonna have to jump up to here.
And if you notice, there's a three
next to this group of notes.
That means three of these notes are going
to fit in one beat instead of two regular
eighth notes.
Let's go from the measure before,
and see how that sounds in context.
Jump down two
and now we're back to pretty much
the beginning material.
From here on out, let's try working on
both hands together at the same time.
Because so much of this is similar, but
we can point out the differences
as we're going along.
So we're back to [SOUND] what
sounds like the beginning.
Remember, this chord here.
E, B and G.
Two and three and four and
this moves down to F sharp and A.
Now here, this is a little different,
because the D sharp is also changing
with the F natural on the bottom.
So make sure you get the transition
through both top and bottom,
different from the beginning.
Now here, everything is the same,
except for this G sharp in the middle.
D sharp changes to D natural and then
the E, so some quick transitions here.
Let's try that one more time.
Again, D natural, then E.
Work on that transition, if you can.
And then C natural.
Now this G turns into a G natural.
Now the right-hand comes in between here.
Now the next set of notes
are actually 30-+second notes.
That means there are four of these
notes for a single eighth note.
So that's pretty fast.
B, A sharp, A natural, A sharps and
that means immediately
jump up to this high G.
When you play fast note,
never stop at the end of
the fast note groups.
Always stop at the next note after them.
So don't simply stop here.
Make sure you go all the way through so
you understand the speed at which they
have to connect to the next notes.
So again,
let's take a look at the left-hand.
In addition to this, you have kind
of a challenging change here.
You have to somehow find this chord from
here to here.
So that's a good place to practice,
by the way.
B flat, E, C sharp.
So again, practice going back and forth.
I would even perhaps use the same fingers,
they're almost the same shape.
You have a black key up here, black key
over here, white key in the middle.
The only thing that changes is
this black key on the bottom here.
But it's almost the same shape, otherwise.
So really go back and forth between this
and this and
then you move to an A and C natural.
Now we move to an A,
F sharp and B over here.
Switch to a two, move this down.
Move this to an A and A.
Now these are the same,
you just move this to an F sharp here and
You have a little triplet here, so.
Here's a B octave with an E in the middle.
Compress this.
This stays the same A and C.
Back to the B octave, four of these.
Compress this to here.
Back to the B octave.
Now the thing that changes, as you can
see is this D sharp in the middle.
Move to the A, this is tied.
This moves to a B
flat here, then an A.
This bottom note changes,
because of this change,
I would change to a two in the middle.
Goes to a G sharp,
then goes to a G natural.
Now this last chord is very beautiful.
G, C, B flat.
Let's take a look at the last chords to
finish off this piece.
Last three chords of the piece,
measure 24, top note.
Ledger line B.
Another ledger line, and it's right below
that one, which is going to be an F sharp.
What a cool sounding chord.
B octave.
Use the pedal for this chord.
Now it's almost the same chord as
the previous one, you go to a D sharp.
So you see the difference in the change?
Now we move back up to E B G and
this moves down to an E.
So again,
let's listen to these three chords.
Now moves up to here.
Beautiful piece.
A lot of challenging chords to
work out with your left hand.
Really feel how those chord positions
change, and how the notes move.
A great exercise in understanding
chords and their different positions.
So you've got a lot of chords,
a lot of transitions.
One strategy you might wanna try to make
your practicing even more efficient may
be to take the repeated chords and
just simply hold them.
So for example.
That's all the same so just hold that.
See what I'm doing?
I'm just playing one of the changes.
I'm only playing the chords that
actually change.
So that's a great strategy, too,
if you're wanting to understand how
to move from one chord to the other.
And then you can add all
the repetitions to that later on.
So try that as an exercise as
you're working through this.
And, again, don't forget to
always add something before.
Always add something after.
And don't forget the pedal changes
generally follow whenever the left hand
chord changes too.