Part one of an in depth walkthrough of how to play Prelude in E Minor. Hugh takes you through the measures showing you the lines for both the left and right hands and how to combine them. He also teaches how to integrate the damper pedal to really bring the piece to life.
- The right hand melody's 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 down, comes in, let's start building this chord over here. Let's start from the bottom of the notes. So after the F cleft F it's going to be the next note right above it which is the G and then a B, building up from that we see that there's a little gap here. And 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 going to be an E, okay? So, this is actually a form of E minor but with the E moved to the top. We're going to 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. And 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 going to keep that.
Now let's build down. A, this should be the top note of your F cleft mnemonic, okay? A and then F in 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, play the previous chord. And then go to the next one. Okay, that's going to 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 a three, five.
There's four of these, okay? And 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 sharped, okay. Now notice that these two notes on the bottom are the same, we're moving down one note, there's a sharp next to it, okay, so this is the new chord. Go to the previous chord, go to the new chord. Ah. Okay. So, four notes and then four of this, okay. Good. Now let's take a look at the next one.
Here, the sharp, the F sharp at 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 this four times. New chord, D sharp which turns into 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, same.
This middle note goes down to G, but there's a sharp next to it. Alright. So quickly go to the previous chord. Next chord. Okay. 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 cleft, bottom staff line would be E, there's a ledger line here, and this note is right below that ledger line, that makes it a B. Okay. Now we're in the G cleft territory.
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. The long, short, long and then you come in with the chord of the left hand. Now 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 going to be pedaling with your left hand, okay. Put the pedal down first. And you can change it here if you want or just keep it down, if you want to keep it down you can.
Okay. You want to 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. Then you come back to the B and change chords. If you change chords you change pedal. Move this down to the D sharp. Change your pedal. C, change this to F natural.
Okay. Change your pedal here. Here you're going to change your pedal twice. Change your pedal again. And that's how far we've gotten, okay. Good. Let's quickly analyze the notes for the next section. Alright, measure four. Let's take a look at these notes for the left hand. Ready? Remember, our previous chord was D, G sharp, and F natural. Okay, now, the next chord is the same except we move this down to an E. So, again, practice the transition from here to here. Okay, moving on, the next chord is going to be a G natural here.
Practice the transition. Pretty easy to move that over. Okay, play two of those, then the next one moves this one down to a C sharp. Transition. Okay. Now, play that twice. The next one is almost the same. You see we kind of move one note at a time with some of these chords. It could be a top note, bottom note, mid-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 to 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, okay. Play this four times and then this moves to D natural. Again, go from D sharp to D natural. Okay, and let's go one more measure. This F sharp becomes an F natural.
Okay, I'm actually going to make you practice that transition. Play that four times. And then this changes to a B. Okay, get that transition. Okay, good. Let's practice up till there and let's add your right hand to all of this. Alright, measure four, if you'll recall, the right hand is now on B. It almost doesn't matter what fingers you use as long as you use two adjacent fingers that are comfortable. So if you want to switch around you can. Let's just go ahead and use a four finger over here with this B on the right hand.
Left hand you're playing this chord over here. D, G 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 going to move this down to D natural. You can keep your pedal on if you want here. Now this sixteenth note is quick. Goes to an A again. This changes to an F natural. You can switch, now what I like to do is pivot to here so I can have a second finger, okay. Good. Now, we're going to take a look at the rest of the notes.
Each song is demonstrated at different tempos, so you can slowly increase your pace as you get more comfortable at the keyboard, and overlaid with notation, so you can read each line of music as it's taught. This training builds on the rest of the Piano Lessons series and is designed for all levels of pianists who want to learn to quickly play the music they love.
Note: This course was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Reading sheet music: staff, bars, notes, rests, and important symbols
- Breaking songs down into sections and lines
- Playing the right hand and left hand separately and together
- Using the damper and sustain pedals
- Performing songs at different tempos