Lesson 262

Etude in D Minor: Right Hand

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Hello and welcome back.
I'm Joseph Hoffman, and in this lesson we're going to be working on the right hand part for "Etude in D Minor" by Cornelius Gurlitt.
Let's check out the score to get started.
Here's the score for "Etude in D Minor". Tell me what you notice about the right hand part.
Looks pretty easy right? We've got a lot of repeating two note chords.
So let's analyze some intervals. What's the interval between these two notes?
From D to F is a third.
I'm going to write a 3 there,
and we stay on that third for a long long time right? Finally changes here.
What interval between these two notes?
This is the interval of a second now a second.
A second is a very interesting interval.
We sometimes call seconds steps,
but when they're played together at the same time we would usually call that a second,
and when they're played together we call it a harmonic interval.
So here's the harmonic interval of a third.
Harmonic interval of a second.
If we play them one at a time, we call that a melodic interval.
Here in the right hand part though we see that we're always doing harmonic intervals.
And if you scan this entire page, do you ever see any intervals other than thirds or seconds?
Let's look.
I've got seconds it goes back to thirds, thirds, thirds, thirds,
What interval is here?
Here are more seconds, and then thirds again. So all thirds and seconds.
Now, what do you notice when you hear a second
compared to a third.
In music, this is called dissonance,
and this is called consonants.
Dissonance in music is when two or more notes create tension together
making a somewhat unpleasant or clashing sound.
Hear that second.
The most common dissonance in music is the interval of a second.
Take a couple of seconds on your piano and just play
some seconds.
Listen to the sound.
Notice that tension, that clash created by those.
Just try it anywhere.
Now, another dissonant interval is the interval of a seventh.
Start on C, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
Hear how that kind of creates some tension?
Listen to that.
That's not a very peaceful sound even if you play it quietly there's some tension.
On your piano try playing a few sevenths.
Notice that dissonant sound.
In music, composers use dissonance to make their music more interesting by adding tension.
Think of a story or a movie you love.
Does everything in the story go smoothly and nicely the entire time?
Once upon a time there was a smart beautiful princess who lived in a castle.
Nothing ever went wrong, so she lived happily ever after.
No, that would be boring right?
If there's a princess, you know she's going to get captured or she'll get lost,
or she'll have to fight some evil someone or something to save her kingdom.
Those problems and conflicts are what make the story interesting.
In music, dissonance can provide that same kind of interest.
Now, in music when a composer introduces a dissonance like right here,
it almost always resolves to a consonance.
Just like in a story, you have some kind of conflict or tension, and then it usually, in the stories I love, has a happy ending.
Now some authors like to torment the readers and actually give a sad ending at the end,
and sometimes a composer may end with some dissonance, but that's pretty rare.
Usually in music we love happy endings, and the dissonance will resolve into consonance.
What happens down here when we have this dissonance of this second?
It resolves into a consonant sounding third.
Consonance is the opposite of dissonance.
When two or more notes sound harmonious or pleasing together, we call that consonance.
Thirds are a great example of consonance. You can hear this how nice thirds sound to our ears.
There are lots of other consonant intervals as well.
Fourths have a pleasant consonant sound, fifths also, and sixth are also very beautiful.
So the most con-- the most dissonant intervals are those seconds and sevenths,
and the other intervals until you get to an octave are the more consonant or peaceful intervals.
Pause the video for a minute and just experiment with different intervals and see which
sound to your ears the most dissonant and which sound the most consonant.
Just take a few moments to experiment
with dissonance and consonants, then press play to go on.
Now I'd like to challenge you to try and learn the right hand part on your own.
Pay very careful attention to the fingerings.
Now, this isn't going to be super hard, but I challenge you to really notice
the fingerings. Like here in measure five, we've got a two and a four on this D and F,
and then the fingering changes to 1 3.
Same notes but different fingering. Why would that be?
Well, trust the fingerings that have been placed here because it's getting your hand ready
for a shift that has to happen later on.
So, trust the fingerings, pause the video, and learn the right hand part from the beginning all the way to the end.
I'm trusting you to be independent in your learning, and then press play and we'll check it out together.
Okay, let's take a look at the right hand part together now.
Let's place finger two and four on D and F,
and if you like, you can try playing along with me, or if you'd rather just listen that's fine too.
I'll count 4 beats, and we'll go 1-& 2-& 3-& 4-& and then we'll start.
I'm going at a slower tempo than the final performance tempo
because today we've just learned this. We're just practicing.
So here we go together now.
1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
change, and change
1-& 2-& change fingers 4-& 1 now crescendoing a little bit
4-& 1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&, 1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
1-& 2-& 3-& more forte 1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
1-& 2-& 3 and piano
1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&, 1-& starting to crescendo
A little bit more.
3-& 4-&, 1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
Now we're decrescendoing.
Rallentando. 3-& 4-&
1-& 2, and a beautiful wrist float at the end.
A few things to note.
When you're coming from this second in measure four on beats 1 and 2,
to the third with the C-sharp and the E,
remember to slide your hand forward so your finger one can more comfortably reach that black key. Don't twist your hand to reach
the black key, glide it forward.
Now, I'd like you to pause the video and choose one or two phrases to try tackling hands together.
Like, you might just start at the beginning 1-& 2-& 3-&
Try adding in the left hand part.
While you're doing that, remember to think about voicing.
Which hand has the melody?
If you said left hand, you're correct.
The right hand is just providing some accompaniment. These chords should be very subtle.
One good way to practice that,
keeping the right hand soft, is to not even play the notes. Just touch them.
I call that ghost playing,
and your left hand
you can play as loud
as possible,
and the right hand is just touching the keys, but not actually making a sound.
And that's training your hands to do the exact opposite from each other.
Then the next step is to let the right hand just barely play, but the left hand is still going to be super loud.
Notice my right hand is super soft,
but my left hand is super loud,
and then you can do it one more time.
More normal, but make the left hand louder, one or two notches louder.
And that makes the most beautiful sound.
Pause the video and work on putting the left hand and right hand together in one phrase,
maybe two phrases. That's up to you, then press play to go on.
For the next few days in your practicing,
continue to work a little bit hands alone, but start trying to put this hands together.
Thinking about voicing, thinking about dynamics, and in our next lesson we'll talk about adding in damper pedal.
Because the damper pedal is going to help really smooth this out and add a lot of great mood and interest to the piece.
Great work learning the right hand part for "Etude in D minor by Gurlitt.
Happy practicing and wishing you that any dissonance in your life today can resolve into consonance.
Thanks for watching!
You know, Mr. Hoffman's right about dissonance.
In a story, something always has to go wrong.
If there's a young main character, you know they're probably going to be an orphan.
Or they're going to get lost in a dark forest.
Right, or they're going to find out their school teacher is actually an evil wizard
trying to take over the world!
Right, and then it's always the kids who save the day.
Right, because the kids are like our teacher is an evil wizard!
And the grown-ups are like, oh that's ridiculous, and no one believes the kids so the kids have to break all the rules and save the world
without any help from the apparently dim-witted grown-ups.
So predictable.
It's a good thing we're not living in some crazy movie where we have to
worry about bad things happening just to make the story interesting.
I mean, how unrealistic!
My life's great, and it's going to stay that way.
Uh, have you ever heard of irony?
Ira- what?
Hmm, how about a queue line?
What's a Q line?
Well, a good example is when someone in a movie says,
'we're finally safe nothing can go wrong now!',
and of course, that's exactly when something goes wrong.
Hmph, well maybe in a movie, but this is real life.
Look around you Princess, what could possibly go wrong?
Nice queue line Scuba.
How did I not see that coming?
Your theatrical timing is impeccable as always.
Eh, never mind.
Just as predictable as a movie.
[Scuba yelling]