Lesson 276

The Song of Twilight: A Section: Right Hand

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Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman, and in this lesson we're going to start learning a piece by Japanese composer Yoshinao Nakada, "The Song of Twilight." Yoshinao Nakada was born in 1923 in Tokyo Japan. His father was a composer and organist, and so Yoshinao had a musical childhood, and he learned to play piano and compose from a young age. As an adult, Nakada composed music for piano and choir, and he also wrote music for TV and radio shows. One of his greatest gifts was his ability to create beautiful, lyrical melodies, which you'll hear for yourself in "The Song of Twilight." Let's have a listen. Here's the score for "The Song of Twilight." By now you know that I like to check four things before I learn a new piece. Number one: tempo indication. Number two: the clefs. Number three: the key. And number four: our time signature. So let's go through that checklist now. What's our tempo indication? Mr. Nakada tells us this piece will be played quietly, and he even gives us an exact metronome speed. Some composers like to be very specific, and say hey if you want to set your metronome to somewhere between 54 or 60 beats per minute, that's the speed of your quarter note. That can be very useful. Number two, we'll check out our clefs. What's interesting this time, you probably noticed we have two treble staffs, so both the right hand and the left hand are going to be up in the higher part of the piano. Now let's figure out what key we're in. How many sharps do you see in the key signature? There are three sharps here. Now from our ladder of fifths we know that will put us in the key of A major or F-sharp minor. So how do we tell? Well, it's usually best to look at the first chord or note of the song and the last chord. So what do we have here at the beginning? In the left hand we have, remember we're in treble staff, so we have an A and a C-sharp, and in the right hand we have this E. An A major triad. That's a big clue that we're probably in the key of A major, but just to be sure, let's also look at the last chord of the song. Now we're in bass staff, and notice we have this A, C-sharp, E triad with a C-sharp in the right hand. Another A major triad at the beginning and end. That tells us we're definitely going to be in the key of A major. Finally, the last thing to check is our time signature. Have we seen this before? If you see a C in the place where we would normally see a time signature, that is a symbol that stands for common time. It's an abbreviation that some composers like to do because 4/4 time is the most common, sometimes we'll just use a C as a shorthand, quick way to write 4/4. Stands for common time. It just means that we'll be in 4/4 time signature. Now that we've gone through our checklist, we're ready to start learning it. Now, I've noticed that we've got a lot of 16th note rhythms. So let's actually come to the heartbeat mat because I'd like to teach you a new more advanced way of counting sixteenth notes today. For a while now we've known two different ways of counting rhythms. Way back when we learned like "Hot Cross Buns" we learned TI-TI TI-TI TI-TI TI-TI, and then later we learned that we can count the beat using subdivided counts. 1-& 2-& 3-& 4-& With sixteenth notes, we can subdivide the beat equally into four parts, and count it like this: 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Notice that the & is still in the same place that we had before with the eighth notes. 1-& The & still marks the halfway point in the beat, we've squeezed this e, 1-e. & is still in the same place, and then 'a' is this last sixteenth note. So now we have four equal parts of the beat. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Can you clap and count that with me? We're just going to say 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a while we clap each sixteenth note. Try to say it and clap with me ready, go. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Now, why is this helpful? Well, sometimes it can be helpful when you see some rhythm especially in a song like we're learning today, "Song of Twilight", where the rhythms are slow and you want to make sure the timing is correct. Our old way of counting rhythms would be TI-KI-TI-KI TI-TI TI-KI-TI-KI TA, but one problem with that method is how long do you hold that TA? If you count the subdivided beats, it tells you exactly how long to hold it. Listen. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a A quarter note has to take 4-e-&-a. You're counting all little parts of that beat so you know exactly how long to hold it. Try it with me. Let's clap this rhythm while we count the subdivided beat, and now our subdivisions are 16th notes. Ready, go. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a. Let's practice that one more time. Remember, on this one it's going to be 2-e-&-a. The eighth note still comes on the & just like before. 2-e. This first eighth note gets 2-e. The second half of the eighth note gets &-a. Let's try it again, go. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a What about a rhythm like this? Well, this eighth note gets 1-e, and then these two sixteenth notes get &-a. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Let's try clapping and counting this one. Try it with me, go. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a What if we saw something like this? Now the 16th notes are at the beginning, so it's 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Clap it and count with me, go. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a And what about our old friend TIM-KI TIM-KI? Now with this advanced way of counting we can know exactly how long to hold this dotted eighth note. Remember, an eighth note gets two sixteenth notes, so a dotted eighth note gets three sixteenth notes of value. 1-e-& and this comes on the a. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a So now we can be much more precise about exactly where to put that sixteenth note. Clap and count with me. We're counting the subdivided sixteenth notes, and clapping the rhythm. Ready, go: 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a And that's the beauty of counting the subdivided sixteenth note beat. We can be very accurate with these more advanced rhythms. So now some people like to write these counts directly in the music like this. I had to really squeeze it in here, but now you can see where all the 16th note subdivisions line up with each note of the rhythm. So now we could count these subdivisions while we clap this right hand rhythm like this: 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a And in the next measure we'd get this: The same rhythm in this measure sounds like this: 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a And the reason it's helpful to say all of these 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a is to make sure you're keeping the beat steady. It's very common in songs like this to rush these slower notes. How long do you hold that half note? Well if you're counting 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a it helps you know how long to hold that out. Can you try clapping these rhythms while we count all these subdivisions.1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Let's try together. Ready go, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Good, now I challenge you to pause the video and figure out how you would clap and count this measure. You can write in the counts, or if you want to just imagine them. Eventually we want to get to the point that you can just imagine all of these counts with the notes. So pause to try this measure on your own, then press play and we'll try it together. This measure should sound like this: 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Let's try it together, ready go. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Now what about in measure four? This is a measure where doing these counts could be very helpful. Why is that? Well, when you have just steady sixteenth notes it's pretty easy to play them correctly, but now how long would you hold a dotted quarter note? Well, the counts can help. You know that 1-e-&-a is equal to beat 1, but a dotted quarter note gets 1 and 1/2 beats, so we need half of beat 2, which is 2-e, and then this eighth note would come on the &-a. Remember, beat 2, the 2-e is the first half of the beat, the &-a is the second half of the beat, so that lands on the second half of beat 2, and then this is 3 beats. 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, and this time I'm not going to write in the e-&-a. I want you to just remember that it's there and we'll still say it, but this rhythm would now sound like this: 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Remembering to place that flagged eighth note right on the & of beat 2. Let's try it together ready, go. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Now let's try the whole thing together. We're going to clap and count. All of these subdivisions, say these subdivisions out loud while you're clapping the rhythm of the right hand part. Let's try it together, ready, go. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Great, if you need more practice with that, feel free to press pause work on these rhythms. I really want you to master this new way of counting subdivided sixteenth notes. It will be a great tool for you as you get to pieces that have more advanced rhythms like this. One last thing I'd like to do to prepare to play this is to find where the sharps are. Because we're in the key of A major, when I play a piece in a certain key, I like to play that scale once just to remind myself where all those sharps are. So why don't you take a moment and play the A major one octave scale. 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 And maybe just find these three black keys and Play them up and down your piano. Just find that C-sharp, F-sharp, G-sharp, in lots of different places. And then what I'd like you to do is pause the video and go through these first three measures and circle any notes that are F, C, or G, because those you will need to remember to sharp, and so it can be helpful to have them already identified, and then you won't accidentally forget to sharp them when you're playing. So pause to find all the F, C's, and G's, in the right hand, and let's go ahead and do the left-hand part too while we're at it, and then press play to go on. Here are all the notes that are sharped in the right hand, and left hand parts for this first line. If this is helpful to you, you can also do this in the rest of the piece later. Now, my challenge for you next is to pause the video and see how much you can learn on your own of this right hand part. Maybe try and learn the first four measures. More and more I'd like you to be independent and learn the notes on your own, and then press play when you're ready to check it out with me. All right, let's take a listen to measures one through four. You can play along with me if you like, or you can just listen it's up to you. I'll count 4 beats, and then I'll start. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, All right, now if you need more practice on that, press pause to make sure your playing matches that as far as notes and rhythms go. Otherwise, let's keep going. Hopefully you notice the few places that the finger numbers tell you you need to make a little hand shift. Here in measure four 1-& 2, or 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a, you've gotta reach up that sixth to the F-sharp, and then you've got a couple of options here. You can use fingers 4 and 1 on this sixth, or if that's too big of a stretch, you can shift down and use 1 and 5. Okay, whatever is most comfortable for you there. Now, let's keep going. Starting in measure five, what do we have? 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a Looks like this is a parallel phrase to what we had before because measures five and six match exactly what we had in measures one and two. But now we have a slight change here in measure seven so it's not an exact repetition. We have this time: Notice how it's almost the same as what we had in measure three, but this time we go all the way up to that F-sharp. And then it switches slightly to have the top note be an E this time, and then we finish off the phrase with three A's. So let's hear one more time from measure seven. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a And that's the end of our A section, so let's stop right there. You'll notice we've come into the first ending, which we'll talk a little bit more about next time, but for today just know that we'll go into the first ending and we'll end our A section right there at the end of measure eight. So now I'd like you to press pause and work all the way back to measure one through measure eight which is our entire A section, and count the beat out loud as you play. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a, and that will help you make sure that each rhythm is correct and that your timing is spot on. So pause to work on measures one through eight right hand alone, then press play to go on. Now, as you're practicing this week I want you to really think about making these phrases beautiful. This is a peaceful, lyrical, flowing song. Play those 16th notes gently, but also give them, give them a shape. It's not just like when you see a piano mark, it doesn't mean quiet and boring. Quiet can still have energy and life to it. So you can give it a little crescendo as you go up to the top note so the notes have a shape. They still have some energy and life in them even when it's quiet. 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a. I hear the energy I'm putting into it, and then a little decrescendo here as you go down to that C-sharp. So you can give a little, give a little crescendo on each one of those as they go to the top note, and then here, very beautiful and peaceful. So this week, work on making these these phrases really beautiful, work on counting out loud as you play to make sure your timing is correct, and then in our next lesson we'll be ready to add the left hand part. Great work today learning the right hand part for the a section of "The Song of Twilight" by Yoshinao Nakada. Thanks for watching and learning with me, and happy practicing! Hey, how come we're stuck on 3? It was Monkey! Look, a fermata! What do we do? Monkey! Oh, brother.