Lesson 297

The Mechanical Doll: Part 1

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Hello and welcome back, I'm Joseph Hoffman, and in this lesson we're going to learn a piece by Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich called "Zavodnaya Kukla", which means "The Mechanical Doll." Mechanical dolls are a kind of wind-up toy from the past. You could turn a crank in the doll's back and it might spin around or move or dance using little clockwork style gears. Let's have a listen to "The Mechanical Doll", and as you listen, see if you can imagine what kind of doll this is and what it's doing. The sheet music for "The Mechanical Doll" is under copyright, so to learn this piece you'll need to purchase the sheet music by clicking on the link you can find below. Pause the video if you need a moment to purchase and print out the sheet music, and then when you're ready let's take a look at the score together. Whenever you're learning a new piece, it's good to go through this checklist. First check the tempo indication. We have allegretto, so we know we'll be fast, kind of medium fast. And then let's check our clefs. Treble and bass, and then let's check our key signature. Two sharps tells us we'll be in D major or B minor. How do we know? Well look at the first and the last note of the piece, pause the video and see if you can figure out are we in D major or B minor. Look at the first note and the last note or chord, and then press play and we'll check it out together. At the start, both hands start on a B, and the right hand plays this B minor pentascale, and then at the very end both hands end on a B. So, that tells us we're in the key of B minor with two sharps. Our time signature is 2/4, and since we see a lot of sixteenth notes in the right hand, we may want to count 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a So, it's now time for you to pause the video and I'd like you to try to figure out the rhythms for the first two measures. See if you can clap the rhythms while you count the subdivided 1-e-&-a beat. Figure out the rhythm for measures one and two on your own right hand part, then press play and we'll check it out together. All right, let's try tapping. You can tap on your lap or clap the rhythm of the right hand part while we count the subdivided beat. Let's do 2 beats to get ready, and then we'll go. Here we go, clapping count with me. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a All right, you can always pause if you need more practice with that, otherwise let's now take a look at how we're going to play this. One thing you might want to do is go through the first page and circle all the F's and C's that you find in the score so you remember to sharp them. Since they're in the key signature, we have to automatically sharp those. So you might circle here or here, etc. Pause if you'd like to do that otherwise, I'd like you to go ahead and try and learn measures one and two on your own. Pause and try and figure out the right hand part and then press play and we'll check it out together. All right, measures one and two should sound like this: 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a And I recommend from the start that you pay attention to the slurs and the staccati. So this is slur, staccato, staccato, staccato, and then slurred again. If you incorporate that in from the start, you'll learn it faster and memorize it quicker too. Now I'm going to let you figure out measures three through six on your own, but let's jump down to measure seven and eight to look at some fingering challenges. In the left hand, we have finger 1 on E, and then finger 2 has to come over to that F-sharp 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a, and then finger 1 has to come down to this B here. Then we come back to finger 2 going into measure nine. So watch that again. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a, 1 Now pause and work on the left hand part measure seven through nine on your own, then press play to go on. Now let's look at the right hand part there. We have 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e Finger three crosses over here, and following these fingerings is really important to keep our fingers in position for the notes that are coming. 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a, 1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a Pause the video and work on measures seven, eight, and nine, right hand alone, left hand alone, and then try it hands together, then press play to go on. Now you'll notice today I'm going to skip around in the sheet music a little bit. That's because I'm now trusting you to figure out the easier parts. I'm just going to focus on the trickier parts, and then you're on your own to figure out the rest. Let's take a look at measures 11 and 12. I'd like you to pause the video try playing through this on your own, and tell me what you notice, then press play and we'll check it out together. What did you notice about measures 11 and 12? Shostakovich has done something interesting here. He's taken his main theme, which started out in this B minor pentascale. Now he's using the same theme again, but in A major pentascale now. He's liking to shake things up. Shostakovich loves to play around in different keys so you'll be in one key for a minute, and then suddenly he'll surprise you by moving to a new key or tonal center. Tonal center is just a fancy music theory word f ...