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Popular Piano Lessons: CPE Bach - Solfeggietto

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This Solfeggietto by KPE Bach is
a great piece for advanced students.
You're going to be looking at ways
to incorporate scale and arpeggio or
broken chord techniques in a very fast,
very technically demanding piece.
This is gonna require a lot of accuracy
to combine left and right hand actions,
a lot of complicated jumps, okay?
So this is definitely something for
the advanced student.
And I'm gonna assume that you can read and
follow along with finding
the notes on your own.
Of course, you can use the videos as a
reference just to make sure that you found
the right notes.
I'm here to help, okay?
So if you really wanna work on this and
you feel a little stuck,
please let me know.
And I will do my best to help break
it down for you even further.
But really, for the advanced students and
for those who maybe wanna do it and
are a little challenge,
I suggest you look at the earlier
lessons to kinda lead up to this.
To build up your strength and
technique to prepare you to play
this wonderful little piece.
Great, before we start working on this
piece, let's take a look at
some preliminary information.
First off, notice the key signature has
three flats, B flat, E flat, and A flat.
Those three notes, B,
E and A need to be flatted.
This tells me that this piece is
going to be in the key of C minor.
Next couple of indications I
wanna point to your attention.
You see a big C over there.
We haven't seen this really before.
The big C Is shorthand for common time.
One of the most common time
signatures is four four.
Whenever you see a C,
you can assume that it means four four.
We're gonna be counting four
quarter notes for each measure.
A few more preliminary things.
Allegro molto means very fast.
Allegro is a fast speed and
molto's Italian for very or much.
So very fast, this is a very fast piece.
The other indication we're
going to be looking at
are more of the dynamic indications.
We have an mp, which stands for
mezzo piano, medium soft.
Good let's work on getting the notes down.
The main important consideration
throughout this whole piece is
to make sure that all
the sixteenths are perfectly even,
especially when you
are jumping between your hands.
When you have a line that starts on
one hand and continues on another,
you want to make it sound like there's
just one hand playing the whole thing.
Okay, so let's take a look at this.
We're gonna start with the right hand,
taking the very first note and
then getting out of the way.
So It's going to sound like this.
Then your right hand will continue
after that.
I like to use the thumb,
it kind of keeps the rest
of my hand out of the way,
before moving on.
So again, let's take a quick look at this.
Then the right hand comes in here
with a two, then finishes this.
Then the left hand is going
to immediately come over.
Then the right hand comes
over with the four.
Left hand, two on the right hand.
Now I'm going to be using a pair of fours
here, four, four, to finish off there.
I would start practicing that
first section like that.
All the way up to here.
Once you get that comfortable,
then do the next section.
It's the same thing just an octave higher.
When you get the first two measures in,
you have automatically
the second two measures,
it's just repeated higher.
Now we begin
our next sequence.
Now, in this sequence,
we're moving away from the mini chords and
scale passages to more open broken chords.
Okay, so
you're going to have your right hand start
immediately after that this as the right
hand comes in.
Now the next couple of notes,
the left hand starts
And the next note is written up in
the G clef, but I like to take it
with my thumb in the left hand
And then the right hand will
come in with the A flat
with these four notes.
Then notice how the staffs of the stems
of the notes change directions.
The stems going up will represent
the notes for the right hand.
The stems going down will represent
the notes that you will be
playing with the left hand.
So again let's start in
that measure over here.
Okay and then the right hand,
then the left hand, then the right hand.
Then the left hand
Now, the right hand
Now, here's a really cool section here.
Pretty neat.
The key thing is not to keep your hand
stuck here where you have to kind of wipe
it out of the way because
they're both hands,
both thumbs are gonna be sharing that A.
Get it out of the way.
Then you're safe.
Now, for the last four of these, I like to
take this with my right hand over here.
This simply gives me more time
to get ready with my left hand,
which is pretty far down.
If were to do,
I would have less time to jump for
the next section.
So it's a little cheat there.
So lot of time to get ready for
the left hand here.
Now it's basically the same or
very similar in techniques to the very
beginning, but
the beginning started with the C minor.
Now, we're playing the same thing but
playing it in the G- minor key.
Alright, so
let's take a look at this
next section very quickly.
if you recall measure nine.
Getting into it right before that.
We're cheating by taking the notes that
you would normally play with right hand,
left hand.
We're just gonna combine all
of that in the right hand.
Giving us more time to jump down to the G,
down here.
we start this section which is
very similar to the beginning.
But in a G minor key, rather than C minor.
Same fingering ideas.
Now, here again.
I like to really use my forefinger for
So practice that section and the new keys.
Until you're comfortable there.
Now starting in measure 13,
we come to this interesting section.
With the big broken chords and
the octaves with the left hand.
[MUSIC] Now.
Here comes something very tricky.
These jumps on the left hand
are very tricky.
[LAUGH] I don't know how else to put it.
the right hand pretty
much stays stationary.
The trick is gonna be finding
this jump quickly and accurately.
So here's what I recommend.
You should probably practice first.
Look at your thumbs alone.
Look at the thumb to the E flat.
To C, D, to B.
And then you're gonna jump to
this higher C in the middle.
So practice that.
[SOUND] See if you can
get that comfortable.
[SOUND] Okay.
When you jump,
the key thing is to try to jump directly.
What do I mean by that?
Many times I've seen students,
they play [SOUND] and then when they jump,
they jump and then they stop and they're
looking for the note, they feel it, and
then they push their hands down.
Jump again but
they're looking for the note.
They stop on it.
Lift again.
And then they jump and then play it again.
I call that a double tap.
And what you're doing
essentially is creating
twice the amount of work for yourself.
Double tap to find a note, jump and
double tap to find a note,
double tap jump to find a note.
So you're really not using.
2 things, your not leveraging the power
of jumping directly from the air.
And your also messing
around with the location,
your sense of location of
exactly how far those jumps are.
Because what you're really doing
is you're slowing down and
kind of honing in on that position.
The way I recommend you
practicing your jumps is as such.
Start on the note and go directly
you see what I'm doing?
I'm trying to avoid stopping before
going here and then replaying it.
A single approach and then right back
down and then right back down to here.
What this direct approach does,
it increases your accuracy.
It's going to be a little weird at first
because if you try to speed it up.
You might start banging all over
the place.
When that happens and you miss, you
want to keep track of where you missed.
Well, I'm a little too high here.
Way too high.
Now I've got it.
So whenever you make a mistake
I'd rather you stop and
figure out just how far
you have messed up.
So, for example,
this is what I hear a lot of students do.
Then they finally get the note.
Well, you've just banged that note but
you haven't measured from here to here.
You've just banged it around
until you've hit that.
Now you've just learned 7 different
ways to play the wrong way here.
[LAUGH] Come on.
Try to work on, if I miss it
think about, okay.
This went a little short.
That went a little high.
Now you can adjust.
That's the way you practice a jump.
Connect this to this, and then.
Went too far.
Went too short.
Right on target.
Then put this back together.
Then put them, all 4.
You see what I mean,
it's a smooth single jump.
This principle alone will
increase your accuracy so
much faster than the way I hear so
many students doing.
Don't stop yourself and
don't jam just the note where you
are trying to clean things up.
Okay, once you've got the thumbs alone,
then try putting the whole thing together.
Your left hand alone
All right do your best to make again
smooth jumps to the intervals using your
thumb as a targeting reticule, all right?
Once your left hand is comfortable,
add your right hand in.
Again, smooth single jumps.
The more you practice this,
as the technique gets more difficult,
we have more challenging jumps.
The easier time,
you're basically training your muscles
to remember that exact location,
and I've seen this over the years.
It's amazing how accurate your muscles
will be right from the beginning.
Even absolute beginners, the very first
lessons, I see many beginners take.
When they play a wrong note,
the very next time they play it,
they're playing exactly
the same wrong note.
When they make a jump, they'll almost
99% exactly the same way right or wrong.
Your muscles memorize position and
location with incredible accuracy.
So the key thing is train them
well from the beginning and
then you'll be fine as
you speed things up.
So one more minor detail
in this little passage.
You want to think about
where you're jumping.
So in other words I don't want to do this,
I don't want to have my thumb
scoop under obviously okay
otherwise my hands are going
to collide in this passage.
So you want to think about jumping
over the right hand thumb.
Make sure your right hand
passage is low enough here so
that your left hand can jump over that.
Be careful about combining jumping
because you're going to be scooping into
your right hand territory here.
So lower your right hand here,
jump high enough so
you guys have enough
clearance between your hands.
Again clearance, watch out,
you're going to be jumping from above,
keep your hand low below.
All right, so
a little bit of air traffic control.
Just watch out how you
plan your flight pattern.
For your hands, okay?
All right.
For measure 15, we do something similar
that we did earlier in measure 13.
These broken open chords.
And we're back to jumping again.
So, same principle.
Practice your thumb alone perhaps.
Get that down.
Then add the rest of the notes.
Then add your right hand.
Same kind of jumps.
You're going to keep your right hand low.
The thumb low.
More towards the edge of the white key.
you're gonna jump the left hand towards
the middle part of the white keys.
So that, you don't combine your hands.
Then we get back to material that sounds
like the beginning.
C minor.
Gonna measure ninth.
G minor.
Now we're doing the same thing but
in F minor.
Same fingering patterns.
Four repeats.
So this section again.
Practice this section,
until it feels really comfortable.
You're going to feel like, wait a minute,
this feels really familiar.
It is, because it's the same pattern.
Just in a different key.
Use the same fingerings and
it'll be just fine.
Now we are going to take a look
at a little cheat for measure 21.
In measure 21,
the notes are written
a very advanced pianist
could do that all in one hand.
You could.
It's a lot of extra work.
Here's a great way that is actually
printed in the music this way,
which I think is a great idea.
You notice that the A has two stems,
one going up and the one going down.
It's a musical idea saying that the melody
and the harmony are kind of doing the same
time on those spots but also,
can interpret it like this.
I'll be taking the left hand,
using the left hand for the first of those
four note groups, jumping out of the way.
The key thing to realize is that this is
outlining notes from the F minor harmony.
all the notes that you're playing
are just different positions of F minor.
F minor.
your left hand is just doing the same
thing but just one note at a time.
Okay? So, [MUSIC]
Work on that,
it feels a lot of fun.
Just work on that passage carefully.
Then you go to the next section over here.
Measure 22,
measure 23 we have a big
dynamic contrast.
Here your gonna accent and then an f for
forte which means play this really loud.
Really throw your weight down for
these notes, and then piano, so
this is the same thing but
an octave lower,
and soft piano, 24, back to forte.
Put your second finger over,
second finger here,
then we have some grace notes,
again, light.
Put the weight down on the main note.
The two notes before that are light,
drop on the main note after that and
now we're back to this business.
Instead of jumping up and
down in between, it's a lot easier.
Now we just
So watch how this,
again watch your positioning.
Keep your left hand a little
higher than your right hand.
Look for the contrast here,
piano, forte.
Now here is an interesting passage here.
The reason this has worked
with your hand positions is because in
the white key,
you have more room to play around with.
I can be in the edge of the white
key while my left hand is jumping,
I can be playing in the same kind of
overlapping without hitting each other.
Here I'm playing a white key and
a black key,
which makes it even easier to
stay out of each other's way.
Here we've got a passage.
Wait, what's going on here?
The reason this is difficult is because
you've got a black key here and
you've got a black key here.
Uh-oh, double trouble.
You're going to either,
come crashing like bumper
cars over here to hit that.
Or because you're so close together here,
you might find yourself
scooping that poor other thumb
out of the way while you try to get
into the black key underneath this one.
Couple of solutions you
might want to consider.
One idea if you really are married to
having your thumb here,
try reaching with a second finger
instead here.
This is the longer finger,
you won't have to scoop your hand so
high to get the thumb up the black key.
The other solution
is to do with both hands,
second finger here.
If your hand's large enough,
so use two here, and two here.
You've got longer fingers to
reach your respective notes.
Notice how when I'm using my thumb,
this collapses my whole hand, so
we've got much lower clearance to drive
under to get to the note underneath it.
With the second finger here,
I can lift my hand up.
See how the clearance works?
Then you can return to your thumb here.
Again, interesting fingering options.
This is always helpful to understand
when you get to a passage and
things aren't working, look down,
see what your hands are doing.
See what the physical construction
of your fingerings are.
This is an instance where using fingers
that are comfortable may not work and
so adjusting your fingering,
simply due to the shape for
the passage, will give you better results.
All right,
measure 30.
Let's end this piece.
Come over with the second finger here.
So these are just [SOUND]
variations of C minor [SOUND] going
to [SOUND] this diminished
B minor chord here.
[SOUND] Okay, and then we,
sounds familiar, yes.
[SOUND] Beginning again [SOUND] four,
four, [SOUND].
Now, here, [SOUND] you have
a little ending, [SOUND] so
put a circle or a highlight or
something [SOUND] it changes,
[SOUND] so we don't go to this,
[SOUND] but we go to the B [SOUND] and
to conclude here, left hand plays this.
then the right hand comes in over here.
So just be aware,
the very last one of these,
you've gotta change [SOUND] the passage
here at the very top, [SOUND] okay?
Just be aware of some of
the subtle differences.
Let's go over this piece one more time,
and this time I wanna talk
a little bit more in detail
about some of the dynamic options we have.
We talked briefly about mezzo piano
beginning, forte in piano in the middle.
I wanna explore more of some of
the crescendos, and diminuendos, okay.
The crescendo and diminuendos
are indicated a couple different ways.
You can either indicate them
graphically with these arrows
that grow from small to large, okay?
You can see that in measure two.
Or by the word crescendo abbreviated,
lIke you can see in measure 5 and
in measure 11, for example.
So those are the two ways to indicate
music that is gradually getting louder.
And the opposite of that is going to be
diminuendo, when you have arrows going
down, So from large to small,
large sound to a softer sound.
Either by the graphic,
kind of the arrow bracket thing here, or
by the word diminuendo.
And in this piece we don't really
have the word diminuendo spelled out,
but it would be either dim or dimin.
You will see that in a lot
of classical music, okay?
So I wanna kind of incorporate a little
bit of some of those ideas as you play,
to make your music sound more interesting.
It can be pretty boring
just to play the same thing,
at the same level, the whole way through.
Yeah, fast, impressive, but much more
exciting if you can add some dynamics.
So start a little medium soft.
Now see this hairpin?
A hairpin is when we have Crescendo and
diminuendo put together.
Kind of a zoom effect, if you will.
Kinda neat,
hey, okay?
The trick to a good zoom
effect It's to have a target.
In other words,
If I'm starting in measure two,
I'm thinking of every note getting louder.
But I have to think about where is
the loudest note that I'm getting to?
And I would recommend
going to the D here and
the beginning of the third B.
And then from the D you can
make every note go softer.
So again slowly
and then faster.
So you wanna feel your
fingers getting stronger.
One good way to do that is to kind of feel
your arm getting heavier on the finger,
putting more weight on it.
Until you get to this part where
your full arm is engaged for
that note to bring it down.
Same thing,
kind of cool effect, okay?
And, again here we see
the words crescendo poco and
they're these little kind of
hyphens that carry us through.
The idea's here, from here.
The whole thing is getting louder,
little by little until
you get to measure eight.
then you see the diminuendo
coming into place,
mf stands for mezzo forte, medium loud.
Now here a crescendo with dashes
until now you're nice and loud,
you can drop down here.
Here's the one spot,
you really don't need pedaling in
this piece all that much, okay?
Here's one spot where you can add it,
more for opening the sound of the piano.
You don't need to really connect anything.
It'll give you just a nice,
bigger sound and then here, mezzo piano.
Nice and loud with the pedal.
Come down
Poco crescendo,
poco is an Italian word for
a little bit, so get a little louder.
That little mini-bracket
thing is an accent.
Nice and strong, then piano.
Diminuendo, then soft.
Nice surprise here, soft,
nice surprise here, soft.
Now [FOREIGN] poco rit is
kind of a abbreviation for
a little slowing down.
[FOREIGN] means to slow down, now observe.
So you can start to bring the note values
longer, longer,
longer towards the end there, okay?
So the again these marking
are just general suggestions.
You don't have to follow
them absolutely precisely.
But the more you do,
the more fun your performance of
this piece is going to be, okay?
So as you're learning notes,
try to be as musical as you can, and
take your cues from
the suggestions from the composer.
And you're going to really enjoy working
on it, and finally performing it.
Pothole practice.
Pothole practice.
Pothole practice.
This is one of those pieces that pothole
practicing is absolutely essential for
getting a sense of continuity and
really learning the piece
as a whole organic unit.
It's perfectly all right to take a spot
and work on it and get the details but
as soon as you get that spot done,
connect it to something before,
connect it to something after.
Okay, your gonna be doing this
almost measure to measure.
Sometimes even within the measure
you just work on a beat
to get a technical thing out.
Great, now connect it to the next beat or
the previous beat.
Ok so,
always be stitching your music together.
Very, very important, especially in a
technically demanding piece like this one.
Even as you practice, I know the tendency
is to look at notes first and
then add the music later.
I highly suggest as you practice,
practice musically.
Make it sound like something you
really enjoy listening to and
that will help you be more inspired
to work out the technical details,
which are always there to serve the music,
not the other way around.
Little sections, bridge them,
pothole practice.
Make it always a connection from
something before to something after.