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Popular Piano Lessons: Chopin - Minute Waltz

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With the Chopin Minute Waltz,
we're getting to some advanced territory.
So I advise that you take a look at
some of the earlier lessons first.
Particularly if you're just
brand new to the piano.
You can learn this but, you're gonna have
a much easier time if you've had a little
more experience learning to read
some of the musical notations, and
some of the technical exercises which also
will serve to strengthen your fingers for
the speed and the dexterity you're
gonna need for this particular piece.
But, please, go right, if you feel like
you're brave enough to give this a try.
By all means go for it.
You can break it down and
you can learn it.
And I actually rewrote this arrangement
specifically to just focus on
the technical things, that help you
play it faster while simplifying some
of the things that were just not
necessary and were getting in the way.
So, this piece is gonna help you
learn to play on the black keys.
Learn to play scales,
which are successive notes, and
in this particular piece you'll
be able to play the scale pretty
fast because the scale is shaped to
fit your hand really really well.
So again, it's an advanced piece by all
means dive in if you feel comfortable.
If you just love this work and
are dying to learn it.
But again I would advise, if you're
jumping in here for the first time.
Take a look at some of the earlier
pieces in the course, and
try to get up to speed with those
first before attempting this one.
Before you freak out,
I know you're thinking,
how am I ever gonna play
this piece that fast.
Before you freak out,
I wanna show you something.
Put your hand, and
put your second finger, on D flat, okay?
Third finger here,
now put your thumb on the F.
Then these next three
black keys are yours.
Two, three, four.
Put your thumb on the C and
then D flat again, all right?
Do that again.
Now play it a little faster.
You might have a little difficulty between
the transition between here and here, here
and here, and here and here, that's okay.
But I want you to feel how
comfortable that feels.
Go to the, let's go an extra D.
Now let's go down.
We're playing a scale.
And in my opinion,
this is the easiest scale to play.
Because your fingers are naturally raised
and your thumb doesn't have to get so
squashed when it's moving in
between your hand groups.
A group of three, two and
three here, two, three, four here.
I bet you could play this scale pretty
fast as you can see how
comfortable this is.
You don't even have to hold
the notes all the way down.
You can have a light touch.
This piece is based on this scale.
I want you to, just for fun,
just with your right hand,
see how fast you can play this, all right?
And if you're not convinced that.
This doesn't feel pretty good,
you will, just give it a try.
This is good practice for
you anyways because we're gonna be
learning this scale in this piece.
We're gonna be using all
the notes of this scale and
I'm gonna teach you how
to play this really fast.
So, we're gonna learn speed.
And we're also basically gonna learn how
to play really fast with this piece, and
learn some other interesting finger
shifting techniques for speed as well.
All right,
let's start by learning the first phrase.
Let's take a look at the key signature for
this piece.
All out of flats.
This forest of flats keeps growing,
my goodness.
We have B flat, E flat,
A flat, D flat, G flat.
Frankly, when we have this many flats
I think it's more useful to figure out
what's not flatted.
There are only that don't need a flat.
An F and a C.
Everything else will have
a flat unless it's indicated
otherwise by a different accidental.
Okay, so, F, C are the only
ones we have to worry about.
Okay, so let's start from the beginning.
With that said,
the first one is A flat, of course.
And then we have a natural symbol.
So instead of a G flat,
we'll play G natural.
Intro okay?
So this is an interesting opening.
We're basically have four different notes
where we have two different
patterns three different patterns.
That's the first measure now the second
measure's a little different.
And then,
you come into this interesting
pattern which kinda compresses that.
And if you look at this carefully,
it's actually three groups of one.
That's one, two, three times, okay?
The way I like to think of this opening
is of course the beginning has the long
A flat.
Now here, what I like to think of is
the first notes of each two note groups.
And after that I think of
because it skips that middle
kind of a wiggly thing, so that's the way
I'm trying to think of it to remember it.
Three, four, one, four,
one, four, one, four, okay?
So it's good for you to try to kinda
get that locked as you practice this.
One, three, four then four,
one, four, one, four.
And it's gonna continue on as
we add the left hand again.
All right,
so you've had the scale.
And here we have a dotted rhythm.
Now, we have some new interesting
trills that we have to incorporate.
And I'm gonna tell you about how to
incorporate them in high speed, so.
Coming down.
The fingering switches to a two, and
you get your thumb on a black key,
and then another two.
And back to that.
So this two, two, two.
I hope you see why I'm doing this.
By using the same finger I'm forced
to lift my hand and drop it again.
By dropping it, those other two notes of
that trill, I can just sort of
ricochet after that strong note.
You don't have to worry about playing them
so loud.
Just see if you can just really
let the energy of the drop
propel the other two notes after that.
And then kind of give it a little bit air
and drop it from your wrist if you can.
Make sure you lift,
jump a little bit, drop.
You need a little bit of
air before every drop down.
Let's add your left hand to that figure.
So here, we're in the A flat pattern.
Starting from the top here, ready, and
Lift, drop, drop.
Drop as much as you can and
then back to the B flat.
Now we're gonna drop to a three.
Three, then one, and we're gonna
use a third finger to
help us reposition here.
The reason I'm using this is
because I need to gradually move my
hand to a lower position to get ready for
this next section.
So we're changing the fingering
here of the trill.
And the trill's a little bit different
because it comes a little bit early.
So here we're gonna drop to a three.
And here, relax your fingers.
Just let them wiggle.
You're gonna drop the three.
Drop to the one.
And we return to the opening theme again.
Let's put that in context from this scale.
We're gonna drop on twos.
And then this is gonna be different,
four, now drop to the three.
And your thumb is
a naturally heavy finger.
Drop on it.
So the thumb's meant to be
kind of a rhythmic anchor and
also to remind you that
we're changing the pattern.
Instead of doing two, two,
two, we're going three one and
then transitioning down.
So that's how that works, and
that's the logic behind that fingering.
I'm using my body both as a memory aid to
remember, the notes are different, and
as kind of rhythmic anchor points.
So again, let's take it from the scale.
Switch to the A flat.
Back to the B flat.
Now three, oops, excuse me.
Drop to the thumb, reposition down.
Now we're back at the beginning.
Same thing happens here,
scale back up.
Just repeat, and
then two again, two, two, two.
Okay so
now here things are gonna turn around.
All right, let's take a quick look at how
the right hand changes here
the second time around.
Remember we did a three the first time?
Here, I'm changing
the fingerings to remind you,
that the notes are gonna change directions
so no trill here, no trill here and
then we're gonna use a second
finger to trill this, okay?
So one more time from measure 19.
Drop the two, drop the two again,
relax, lift them up, drop your two again.
So, two, two, two.
Two, two, two.
Come under.
So, let's play that with your left hand
right there, on measure 19 and, one, two
Drop, drop, drop.
Okay, I hope you can see how
the drop helps you play quicker,
because you're gonna be using
the rebound energy of that drop.
And just wiggle your fingers.
Again, you don't have to
apply any specific strength,
you don't have to stop your
hands by using extra muscles.
Just move the fingers just
like you would do, like hey,
toodle-oo if you're waving to your friend.
Use those muscles to move
those fingers for the trill.
The first finger is locked with
your arm and your dropped wrist.
And the rest is just toodles.
Okay, move your fingers by themselves.
Okay now,
let's take a look at the next sequence and
pull it apart,
because it gets a little complicated.
Let's quickly take
a look at the left hand.
I've arranged this so that we really
can focus on the right hand and
not worry too much about the left hand.
We're just playing some
basic accompaniment,
the waltz accompaniment figure.
So let's just take a look briefly at what
we're dealing with with the left hand.
D flat, [SOUND] and then D flat on top,
[SOUND] and A flat here [SOUND].
And then you can jump to,
these two will stay the same, and
then you're going to
jump to this F [SOUND].
Two options you have, you can either
do [SOUND] with the four, if you like.
Or you can do this with a three [SOUND],
really it's totally up to you,
whatever you feel comfortable with.
Four if you'd like [SOUND].
And that happens twice.
So let's add the right hand to all that,
start with the right hand alone.
And then
Three, and
then the left hand comes in here.
Now what happens is
we play our scale on the right hand.
Remember I had you play a little bit of
that scale to start this piece.
[SOUND] So what's gonna happen is,
we're gonna continue on [SOUND] three,
put your thumb [SOUND] on the white key.
instead of playing this A flat, we're
gonna [SOUND] skip to the B flat here
Skip the A flat and go right to the B.
That's how that scale goes.
And because of the shape of the black
keys, and the fact that your thumb is
shorter than your other fingers [SOUND],
it's much easier to play this scale.
Your fingers will naturally hit these
black keys and your thumb doesn't
have to reach out for them [SOUND] if you
have you're using the right fingering.
So this is gonna be the next
notes as we add that in.
So let's just start where
the hands come together.
And the scale begins and
then here the left hand's gonna switch.
The left hand's gonna switch
to a new pattern [SOUND].
A flat here [SOUND] and
then E flat [SOUND].
Keep the same top two notes.
A flat [SOUND].
And then you repeat that.
Now let's take a look at how
the right hand continues.
All right, so
let's take a look at the right hand.
Now we're starting this sequence that's
gonna climb a little bit at a time, ready?
First we have a triplet, so
one, triplet, duple, okay?
And there's an E natural there,
watch out for that.
And then regular duples,
and then you reach up, okay.
And I like to lead with my second finger,
we're gonna have this triplet on
the second finger in this pattern here.
we're gonna reach up with the four, okay?
So, you understand how that works?
We have two similar patterns
with this triplet, then eighths,
triplets, then eighths, triplets,
[MUSIC] eighth,
[MUSIC] eighths,
Now, what's interesting here is this
is a turn around, to take the scale.
Going down.
Okay? [MUSIC] What we need
to do is we need to kind
find a way to connect from here to here,
cuz we need to have the fourth finger
start in that three black key group.
So it's a little bit of
an awkward turn around.
Don't spend too much time holding
onto this cuz you really
need to just move through,
you can just jump off if you need to.
So you might wanna
practice this transition.
It's gonna feel very weird.
You're going to feel like you're
squeezing pretty tightly here.
Don't worry about holding too long.
The whole thing is gonna be speed,
so you can let go of notes,
it's just a bridge note.
Get it out of the way.
And then we're playing
the scale coming down.
All the way to a C.
Do you see how I'm using that black keys?
F, C, F, C natural, and
then it turns around.
Put the pinky up here.
And then we're
gonna do a scale coming back up,
starting on the G natural.
And then a scale.
So the lot, we've just absorbed note wise.
Take a look at it carefully, and
look at the fingerings that I've written
onto the music, that'll help
you to navigate this smoothly.
All right, if you recall in measure 20,
we just finished playing this
A-flat major chord, okay.
Now we're gonna be moving up a little
sequence of chord progressions here, okay.
So after the A-flat,
your fifth finger needs to move
to a new position, A natural.
Okay and then you have these two notes,
F and E-flat.
And I want you to climb up with the pinky,
so the F stays the same.
And we're just kinda moving up
the pinky and changing the chord there.
We're keeping the thumb in the same place.
Okay, now you'll notice we're gonna insert
the G clef for the left hand because
the notes are getting higher and higher.
It's just easier to write it that way.
So if you don't let that thrill you,
now after the D-flat,
we're just moving up to a C.
And then the A-flat here.
Okay and
then you can use your third finger and
just move the second finger
over to complete that.
Let's do that sequence one more time.
Left hand, A natural, move the pinky.
Move to the C with the fourth finger.
Move up to an A-flat with your thumb,
and then three to finish that.
All right?
Good, and then after that sequence we're
gonna have some jumps coming down.
Go back in the F clef, bass clef.
Going to the G-flat.
And then going down to the A-flat here.
Now the A-flat remains,
we're gonna do this little second here.
And then move to D-flat.
The way I want you to think
of this after you do this,
I want you to think of this
transition as a group.
[SOUND] And then an A-flat group,
A-flat group, and a D-flat group.
That's the best way to quickly learn
that and get that into your fingers.
Cuz your right hand's gonna be very busy.
We don't wanna spend too much
mental energy in our left hand.
All right,
let's put this together slowly, okay.
So if you, let's go back to measure 19,
so we can incorporate some of that trill.
Right hand is playing a B-flat on top,
left hand is playing A-flat down here,
Nice and slow.
Drop for the trill, come under,
now we're gonna start the climb
with the A natural here.
Move to a peak here,
don't let the G clef throw you.
Go to the C.
Third finger here.
Thumb, and
you're gonna have to kind of reach
over with the fourth finger.
A-flat, stay in the A- flat.
And then we're gonna go to a one, and
an A natural here, okay?
Let's review that one more time.
This time with fewer pauses.
Measure 19, here we go.
now we're gonna go,
basically it's a repeat
of what we'd just done
a few measures ago.
Triplet, but
we're gonna do a little turnaround here.
One, three, two.
So that we get back to here.
Chord progression left hand.
Use your second finger,
drop into this triplet.
Now instead of a D-flat,
we're gonna reach up for
an F, a high F, okay.
And then we're gonna play the scale down.
I put a fifth finger there cuz it's easier
to reach up to there from,
this is the highest finger you have here.
But I wanna compress the fingering
coming down so that,
instead of using a four here,
I wanna use a three.
And that puts me into a nice fingering,
fourth finger on the B-flat,
come down with the scale.
Now here we're gonna do a turnaround, so
use a third finger instead
of a fourth finger.
Now we're gonna use an E natural.
then three, one.
So let's review that from measure 29
with a turnaround, thumb on an F.
E natural, here.
Turn around with a three, two, one.
Now reach for an F here.
[SOUND] Three.
Use the third finger here and now.
Then the rest of it is just a repeat and
we'll go over that in just a second.
So let's take it from
the scale coming down.
This is measure 5, 4, 3,
pick up the measure 33,
the pinky going to the E flat,
E with the 3.
Third finger here.
Now, I want you to jump to an F
with your second finger,It's tied.
You hear how the triplet came out
of the tie, this comes by itself.
The left hand is
the beginning of the triplet.
And you continue on, same sequence.
The four, one,
four, coming down.
Fourth finger here.
Third finger here.
G natural.
Okay, your thumb here, turn around.
It's the same thing to the end.
Three, two, one, then D, two, one.
Third finger.
Third finger.
it's just the same as the second portion,
just repeated all over again.
So, make sure when you play this,
try as often as you can,
as soon as you get these sections learned,
try to go through the whole thing, and
really concentrating on
playing as fast as you can.
But anytime you stop, if you feel
like you have to stop someplace,
I want you to practice right before it,
and then right after it.
To smooth out all your connections,
remember pot hole practicing?
This is gonna definitely apply
as you learn this piece.
As with a lot of songs,
this piece is made up of four
measure phrases, or groups.
So it can be very easy to get into
the trap of practicing four measures and
then stopping.
Another four measures then stopping.
That's okay, but I wanna encourage you as
often as possible, bridge those groupings.
Don't just stop at
the end of four measures.
Go four measures and a beat.
Go four measures or
go five measures and then go to
the measure previous to lead into it.
Like I said, that pothole practicing
technique that we've been doing
throughout this entire series,
is really going to become critically
helpful with learning this piece.
Especially if you want
to get it up to speed.
The key things for
speed are eliminating any hesitations.
Eliminating any pauses,
mental pauses, physical pauses,
so you want to work out all the technical
kinks as smoothly as you can.
So, I would rather have you play larger,
excuse me,
larger sections without breaks
at a slower tempo, than
smaller sections at a really fast tempo
but what we have to stop all the time.
So find a speed where you can play through
as large a section as
possible without stopping.
And then of course your goal is, find a
speed that's slow enough that you can play
all the way through with
a minimum of stoppage, and
then from there you can start
to build up your speed.
It's not a very long piece, so
you should be able to do it and
take care of it comfortably, so take your
time, but again, interweave the sections.
Don't just stop and just constantly
practice that stopping point.
Always work through it, okay?