Lesson 201


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Hello, and welcome back! I'm Joseph Hoffman, and today we're going to learn to play the A section of
"Andante", by the composer Johann Christian Bach, son of the great Johann Sebastian Bach.
Now, remember that Johann Sebastian had twenty children and
well, that's a lot of competition for time with dad, and when you did get time with
dad, it usually meant a music lesson.
But hey, you couldn't ask for a more qualified teacher right?
Johann Christian, was Bach's youngest son, born when Bach Sr., was already fifty years old.
Like many of his siblings, Johann Christian followed in dad's footsteps and became a professional musician.
At first, working as a composer and organist for a cathedral in Italy. After that he moved to London, where
he continued to compose, he got married, and he even got a job as music master for the queen of England.
What we're listening to now is one of his compositions that probably would have been heard by the queen
herself. Let's now have a listen to "Andante" by Johann Christian Bach.
Let's check out the score for "Andante". I always like to come up here and first check out our clefts,
treble and bass clef.
Then our time signature is 3/4.
You'll see we don't have any sharps or flats for a key signature.
Which if we think about our ladder of fifths or fourths, we know
we'll be at that bottom rung, zero sharps or flats, so it could be the key of C-major or A-minor.
How would we tell? Well, our best clue is to look at the first note or the first
chord that we play, and also check out the last note or chord that we play. If you haven't already,
be sure to download and print this score yourself so you can do these activities at home.
Go ahead and pause the video, and see if you can figure out if we are in the key of C-
major or A-minor by analyzing the first
and last measure on your own. Figure out what key we're in, then press play to go on.
Did you figure out what key we're in?
Well, you can see that we start on an A, and
then if we put all of these notes together in the right hand,
we have an A C E, which forms an A-minor chord. And then what do we end on? The right hand ends on an A
here, and then the left hand,
If you put these, three notes together, A C E, we see another a minor chord ending on A.
That makes it very obvious that this piece is in the key of A-minor
Now, let's see if we can analyze some more of these chords in this first A section.
We've already figured out
that this first measure has an A-minor chord and remember our symbol for A-minor is capital A
lowercase m. In your own music at home, please write in these chord names.
And again, we're talking about these. You'll notice we have this kind of broken chord pattern,
Okay, but we're going to, for a moment, just kind of put all those notes together into one chord to analyze them.
Now, briefly looking at the left hand part, you'll see we just keep repeating this A.
When you repeat the same note in a low
voice while the chords are changing up above, we call that a
Petal Tone, and that note is not necessarily a member of the chord, which can be called a non chord tone.
So, we'll ignore this a down in the bottom for analyzing our chords. Let's just focus on the notes, we see in the
right hand.
Looking at these three notes, you'll see it's the same notes going up and down. So if we put those together,
we see we have an A D and F.
Now, what chord, is that?
Well, you can see that it's an inversion and
the clue to know a chord is an
inversion, is that there's this fourth here. Remember in the first measure, all of the notes are a third apart,
and that's our standard way to build a triad. We have our root, third,
and then fifth all put together to make the A-minor triad.
Now in this next measure where you have that A D F,
when we see that fourth we know we're an inversion.
We can take this D and F, and put it down an octave,
to see that this is actually a D-minor triad.
Now, one other trick to help with that is wherever the fourth is,
the root will always be the top note of the interval of the fourth.
So in other words, if you see a chord and you have a third and a fourth, the way to find your root,
which is the name of your chord, is look for the fourth and it's the top note of that fourth.
And so since that's a D, we know we are a D-minor chord.
Second inversion.
Now let's take a look at this next chord.
What three notes do you see?
We've got a B, a D, and can you name that note?
If you said G-sharp, you're correct.
Now, think about what I just told you and can you figure out the root of this chord?
If you said G-sharp, you're correct, because remember,
you look for the fourth, and it's the top note of the fourth. We have a third here, and a fourth here
which tells us we're an inversion. ...