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Popular Piano Lessons: JS Bach - Prelude in C Major

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This Prelude in C major by J.S.
Bach is a great exercise in understanding
different chord positions.
You're going to be playing different
chords in different, really,
different settings and getting used
to the idea of breaking them apart.
So we're not gonna go into all the chord
names or all the chord theories but
just be aware that's what's happening.
This piece is basically
a big broken chord exercise.
It's a great note reading exercise.
Given all the pieces
that we've gone through,
I really want to challenge you to
try to read through this carefully.
And get the notes down
yourself the first time.
And then refer back to
the performance of this to make sure
that you've gotten your notes right.
The challenge of this piece is that
there's basically no place to stop.
So it can be hard to hear
where are there phrases.
One simple way to work on this will be
to work on it four measures at a time.
Okay, that's typical.
And then connect it to
eight measures at a time.
But whatever you, do don't forget to
bridge and you're gonna see me stopping
several times with some suggested
landing points or measures to aim for.
But every time I restart to practice that
I will always try to connect it from
at least two measures from the previous
section before going on to the new
And that's the way I want
you to practise as well.
Throughout this piece we need to make
sure that the left hand notes
hold throughout the measure.
For example, the very first measure,
let's find these notes.
The very top staff line in
the F clef region is A,
we're just gonna take the first ledger
line above that, which is C, and
then the second ledger
line above that's E.
So when you play this,
hold both notes after playing them.
So you're gonna play the first two notes
here and continue on to your right hand,
G clef G, kay, skip up to B, and
then the note right above the B line is C
skip up to E back down to G, okay.
Hold the left hand notes.
You don't have to hold
the right hand notes.
The reason being is that we're gonna
be adding pedaling to this piece.
So let's start again the first measure.
Hold these two notes and
continue on with the right hand.
The second measure's
the same as the first.
Did you see that little funny symbol that
looks like a bird flying sideways?
That is a quarter rest, and
it's gonna be important that you lift your
right hand off when you see that rest.
So, once again,
we don't play the first beat right hand.
Left hand plays, take off the right hand.
Let's move on.
The next note starts on C again, and and
you'll notice the next note is just
above that which is a Do, D, excuse me.
Make sure you hold those two notes.
The right hand is moving up to
the note above the G clef G.
And then Ew Great Big Dog and then Fur.
Okay, here are your notes.
C D hold.
Going on.
Now we go to the note right above the F
cleft staff line A which is gonna be B.
Then the next ledger
space line above is a D.
G cleft G.
And then skip this note B, D.
And big note Fur at the top.
Those are gonna be your notes there.
Hold the left hand notes.
Rest in the right hand.
And then back to the C and
the E, and right hand G, C, E.
Good so let's try that again, and
this time I want you to add
peddling every two measures.
Let's start from the beginning again.
Push your peddle down, alright.
Holding your pedal we will start
keep the pedal held.
Make sure your right hand comes off.
We're going to change the pedal on the C.
Remember we talked about pedaling.
The pedal lists up when
your finger comes down.
And it comes back down
after the note is played.
Now because the left hand notes
are relatively fast, that's why we have to
hold the first, at least the very first
note as well as the second note so
that your foot has time to catch it.
Now here's one alternate rhythm
if you're still uncomfortable
with changing pedals quickly.
What you can do is this.
Now the third
measure you can do.
Up while holding your finger down.
Down with the second note.
Up down.
See how I'm doing that.
Let's go on, next note's gonna be B.
Up down.
Keep the pedal down for
the second repeat of this measure.
Back to the C up down
up sorry, actually you're gonna hold
the pedal through that
second time on the measure.
But you understand what I'm talking about,
So every two measures you're gonna
change the pedal, and if you want,
if you need to, you can lift
the pedal on the first note and
connect down on the second eighth note.
Okay, so work those first eighth
measures until you're comfortable and
then let's go on.
Now I'm always gonna start off the last
two measures before every new segment
because I want you to get used to the idea
of not just starting a whole new section,
but always bridging what's right
before with what's coming up next.
My so called pot hole practice idea.
So let's start from measure seven
to get into measure nine, okay.
Now here's
measure nine.
We will lift the pedal and
then come back down.
Same two notes here.
Right hand starts on
the A above that G clef G.
Skip the space.
Here's E.
Skip the space,
and then you're on a ledger line
above that which is gonna be A.
So it's an octave, an A to A.
Here's measure nine.
Measure ten is the same as measure nine.
Next we're gonna be starting
a sequence going down.
So left hand even though this is the same
note I want you to switch to a second
finger here.
C, D, and now here on the right hand,
right below the G is gonna be an F, but
you notice there is a sharp next to this.
So that F becomes F sharp.
Space, up, okay?
Now we're getting back to lines,
Great Big Dog.
So those are the three notes we're
working with the right hand, okay.
Left hand C, D, F sharp, A, D.
Left hand moves down to a B.
And then back to this D.
Right hand, you're in G clef G.
Skip. D. You get to the top, which is F,
and it's the note right above that.
So that is an octave there.
Left hand this B will get
switched to a second finger,
go to the C now this is the,
ew E great G now this goes
to a C right above that B.
Going on.
Left hand, the top note over here is A.
Line above that is gonna be a C.
Keep the same notes on the right hand.
E, G, C
now A fall down, and back to A.
Use a five and a two here.
Right hand,
you're gonna be below the staff.
D and then the F becomes F sharp, okay.
So follow the space to space.
F sharp A C.
Okay, beginning of measure 19.
Then left hand you go to a G and
the space above is B.
Right hand.
Here's G clef G and the B above that.
And back to that.
Now this is a good place for you to stop.
You can practice in four measure groups,
you can try to do larger
sections like we just did.
In any case, at least four measure groups,
but always start at least a measure, or
two measures before starting each phrase.
let's continue on.
We're gonna take a look at measure 23,
but again, before we do so we're gonna
backtrack a little bit and start from
measure 21 so that we can bridge into it.
So measure 21, if you recall,
starts on the G, B, D, G, E,
so 21 again,
okay, now the left hand continues 23,
B becomes B flat, so
move that thumb up a little bit,
the right hand moves to here you,
great, and
then we're gonna skip up to C, C sharp.
See the sharp next to it?
Now when you have a sharp, if you see that
same C again it'll still stay sharp
until you see that vertical line.
That vertical line is the end
of a measure, so that sharp
will stay in place until the end of the
measure, and then it resets itself again.
So here are the notes.
It's the same thing again here.
Now, your left hand.
I want you to move your third
finger over to the next note down.
F, A, right hand D.
A, D up here.
Same thing here,
now this A becomes a flat.
Okay, and the right hand's playing D, F,
skip the space, B.
Now we're on measure 29.
Left hand moves down to the E here.
C on the right hand,
because we're below the staff.
Ledger line down as a C.
You great, big, and this is above that- C.
Measure 29.
Okay, now this E left hand is gonna be
replaced by a second finger.
Next note above it is an F.
Now right hand you have
a double ledger line.
Ledger line down one would be C,
second ledger line down would be an A.
See how I found that?
Two ledgers lines, one ledger line, okay.
Here is the first, the bottom staff
on here, goes right above that, okay.
Okay, this moves down to a D, A,
okay, A, fall down, fall.
A fall down ball game.
Fall down here.
Okay, so G and D.
Now right hand,
we have this bottom staff line.
First staff line, second staff line, but
it's below that so it's gonna be a G.
Okay, next staff line up is B.
Skip a space, go to this one,
which is an F, okay.
Now on the left hand, A falls down,
this is the note before D.
But below D, that's gonna be C,
skip up a space.
E right hand, remember we have this
ledger long staff line, ledger line.
Second ledger line,
it's right below that one making this a G.
So this is a good place,
another target place to aim for
practicing towards.
Good, continuing on with measure 39,
let's again start from the two measures,
before that two lead into.
Here is measure 37, C, [SOUND] E,
remember the double ledger line,
G Single ledger line C, E, and.
Now we're starting with the C again, so
keep your third finger on the C here.
you're gonna move your thumb now.
We're gonna go to the next
space above that E, previously.
Now we're at C,
Right-hand, bottom off the staff,
one ledger line down, I should say.
And then this is the note below that which
is B, but there's a flat next to that.
So move your thumb to the B flat.
and back here is a C, and an E over here.
And again don't forget
that accidental rule.
One accidental will continue on that same
note again, until the end of the measure.
So, here we go.
B flat again.
This measure repeats.
A fall down ball again.
This is below the G,
[SOUND] which is mixed as an F.
And F clef F up here.
Remember our ledger line E, C, A.
Single ledger line C, [SOUND] then E.
Left-hand moves up to an F sharp,
as you can see here.
[SOUND] Skip a space,
[SOUND] C, right-hand.
You should recognize this as an A.
[SOUND] We just played it.
[SOUND] Again, C [SOUND] one more time.
The only difference now is
that the E becomes an E flat.
Now the next space up from the F would
be an A, but there's flat next to that.
[SOUND] So we're gonna play A flat.
[SOUND] F clef F.
Right hand, first ledger line down,
right below that [SOUND] will be B,
then the first ledger line down [SOUND]
and it's the very next note above that.
So, that's what we do.
A fall down ball game.
[SOUND] F over here.
[SOUND] Right-hand double
ledger line goes to G.
[SOUND] Next ledger line up skip,
[SOUND] and skip again.
Almost the same notes here,
except this moves down to E.
Now this moves to C, [SOUND] and then E.
And then let's go on a little bit more,
and then left-hand G [SOUND] skip
line [SOUND] to D, [SOUND] G again.
This time instead of a three, I want you
to move to a second finger and that's C,
[SOUND] that'll give you some space to
reach up for that F [SOUND] over here.
Same two notes on the left-hand.
[SOUND] Now this moves to a B,
[SOUND] and back to that F again.
Let's stop here, and make sure you review,
and play through this
whole section smoothly.
so where going to continue
on with measure 55 but
again before we do lets back up and
play two mesures
before that measure 53.G,
if you recall, D, D,
this G double ledger line,
single ledger line B, F up here.
Okay, now here is measure 55.
This moves up to an E flat, double ledger
line A, single ledger line C, kay?
E, F, F sharp.
Understand how I'm finding these notes?
Okay, now there's a reminder, E natural.
It's not necessary for the publisher or
the composer to do this.
But it's just done as a reminder so that
the previous measure's E flat goes away.
E natural, double ledger line down, G.
Single ledger line notes.
C, okay?
Eww great, that's a G.
The G again left hand.
Okay, go to this line note over
here this is B, excuse me, D.
Right hand double ledger line G,
lot of G's here.
Single ledger line C.
Right above the E is an F over here.
Same two notes here.
Now this moves down to B.
Now we move to a very
different pattern here.
Let's see if you can find these
notes A fall down ball game.
That would be the bottom line.
There's to ledger lines,
skip one ledger line down, E.
Another ledger line down is a C, okay?
A fall down and this is the space note
below that so we have a C octave here.
Double ledger line, G.
Okay, skip up to next ledger line B,
there's a B flat here.
Same octave here.
Now this moves down to
a third ledger line.
Well, there's a lot of ledger lines here.
So ew E, C, that's your first ledge line.
Second ledger line.
Third ledger line, F, okay?
Next ledger line up.
Next ledger line up.
See how that works?
F, A, C now this is an F, so
it comes back to the C.
Let's play that in context.
Three, five, three, two.
Now this continues, this run over here.
Do you see how that connected?
F ,A, C, F, C, A.
It goes back up to the C.
Down to A.
A lot of these ledger lines.
F, now I want you to switch
to a five over here.
That'll put you better position to go on.
Now what's happening is that now we're
looking at the notes in the bass clef or
the F clef, but
we wanna play them with the right hand.
So don't let the clef change throw you.
This is measure 65.
Now here's 66.
So this is gonna be F clef F and
then D, F, D.
Okay, so you're reading F clef,
bass clef notes with the right hand.
It's gonna swoop down.
It's just to help save,
make it look easier to read, okay?
One more time, measure 65.
Now five on the way.
Repeat this.
[SOUND] Okay?
A fall down, ball, right hand you
jump back up to you G clef, okay?
G clef G, B, D, F, all the notes,ew,
great, big dog fur,
all those notes are alike,
back to dog, back to big dog,
big great big,
now this is a right below the E here D.
A little tricky here so
watch this run again, okay?
Measure 67.
Keep the same fingers on al
the notes until you get to here.
Now you're gonna squish your fifth
finger here
That'll give you the finger room that
you'll need to lead down to this D.
And then you play all of these
notes all together, the C, G,
E and the two C's down here.
Let me play that one more time so
you hear how it should flow.
Hold these, keep holding them.
All right.
We've really taken our time to look at
each and every note that you need to play.
And so
I want you to make sure that you go back,
after seeing where the notes are and
try to play through them smoothly.
Again, don't forget the bridge before and
after, but look for
a smooth rhythm between both hands,
and connect them without any breaks.
The pedal is gonna be really nice to hear,
and make sure that you get the timing of
the pedal so that you don't lift
your pedal before you play the note.
Playing the note, lifting the pedal
should be a simultaneous thing.
And your foot, again, remember,
comes down right after you play the note.
Don't forget to hold all your
left hand notes pairs, okay?
That will give you enough
time to catch your pedal and
again don't forget to
practice a phrase at a time.
Don't just play from beginning to end
nonstop, work on it a phrase at a time,
until you really hear the musical
sentences, then put them all together.