Lesson 270

The Wild Horseman: A Section: Right Hand

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Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman, and today we're going to begin learning a piece by composer Robert Schumann. Schumann was born in 1810 in the town of Zwickau in the kingdom of Saxony, which today is a part of Germany. He developed a love for piano and composing from a young age, beginning piano lessons at seven years old. By the time Robert was twenty, he had decided he wanted to be a concert pianist. So he started practicing very hard and studying with one of the best piano teachers in Leipzig. Now, it so happened that his piano teacher had a very musical daughter named Clara. Clara was a virtuoso pianist, and she and Robert fell in love. For a long time, they had to keep their love secret since Clara's dad did not approve of this match at first. But eventually they married, and the two of them traveled all over Europe sharing their music. Together, Robert and Clara had eight children, and Robert composed some delightful and imaginative piano pieces for three of his daughters. These pieces were published as Robert Schumann's Opus 68 Album Fur Die Jugend. Or in English: Album for the Young. We've been listening to Number One, "Melodie." The piece we're going to start learning today is Opus 68 Number Eight: "Wilder Reiter," which is German for "Wild Rider", or how it is most often translated, "The Wild Horseman." One thing that Schumann was known for was taking a character or scene from a story and writing music that paints a musical picture of that character. In "The Wild Horseman" as you listen, I want you to see if you can picture a wild rider in your imagination. What is this wild horseman doing? Where is he riding to? Is he chasing someone, or is he being chased? There's no one right answer just see where your imagination takes you. Let's have a listen. Here's the score for "The Wild Horsemen". Let's do our usual checklist. The things I like to always check before I even start playing a piece. I want to check out the tempo indication: allegro con brio. Fast, con is Italian for with, brio means vivacious; with a lot of energy. Then we want to see what key we're in. Well, we'd normally find a key signature right here before the time signature, but I don't see any sharps or flats there so, that tells us we'll be in the key of C major all white keys, or A minor also all white keys. So how do we tell which it is? Well we've got to look at the first note or chord that we play and the last. First note here is an E, well that doesn't tell us much because E could be a part of C major or A minor. So let's go a little bit further. What chord do we see here if we take that E and then add in these next three notes? Forms an A minor chord. Let's also check the ending. We have an A, a C, and an A, also which could form a part of A minor chord. So, we can feel confident that we're in the key of A minor. What is our time signature? We're in 6/8 time. So that tells us what? The top number tells us how many beats per measure. That bottom 8 tells us what kind of note equals 1 beat. So we'll know that we'll have six eighth note beats because of the 8 tells us six eighth note beats per measure. I should also check the clefs. Treble clef for right hand, bass clef for left hand. And now right off the bat you may notice that, huh, why do we only have one eighth note before this first bar line? You may recall from a previous unit, learning about pickup notes. Remember, a pickup note or notes are one or more notes that come before the first downbeat of the song. Remember, after every bar line is always beat 1 so here's a beat 1. Here's a beat 1, here's a beat 1. Every bar line tells you a new measure is beginning, and inside every measure we should have 6 beats 1 2 3 4 5 6, but every once in a while a composer doesn't want to start on the strong beat. It's like ready, set, and go. Go is the first strong beat, but this is kind of like an and to get you ready for the go. And go! What beat is it? Well we count backward from 6, and since we only have this one eighth note, it's going to be beat 6. So if we're getting ready to play this song, we might count 1 2 3 4 5 6, 1. 6 remember won't be as strong as 1. Schumann did that because he wanted the first strong beat to come right here. 6 1, 6 1 6 1, it's like and go. Now do you see any new or less familiar symbols on the first line? I think we've had one of these before, but let's review. This is a sforzatto, which is a kind of musical accent. It means we're going to play this one note extra loud. Louder than the notes right before or after it so it pops out. Dynamic markings like mezzo forte, mezzo piano, apply to all the notes you see after them. So all of these notes will be mezzo forte. But forzato is just for that one note. You're going to suddenly get louder on just that one note. Sometimes it's written with a z, sforzando. I think we've seen in one of our sonatinas a forzato with fz. These three symbols all basically mean the same thing. Different composers might use them slightly differently, but essentially they're all an accent for just the note to pop out that you get right there. See, you want that note to just zing! Pop out, and kind of surprise you. Now, before we try to play this we're going to do a little bit of analysis, one of my favorite things to do. I'd like you to look at all of these notes on line one except for this one. I'm going to draw a little parenthesis around this one note because it won't quite fit into this pattern. Music is usually built on scales or chords, and sometimes a little bit of both, and I want you to look through, play through or figure out all of these notes on line one, and see if you can figure out a pattern with them. Are they part of a scale? Are they part of a chord? Figure out what Schumann is doing with these notes on line one, and then press play and we'll look at it together. What is Schumann doing here? We've got an E, an A, another E, and then A and then a C. Are those part of a triad that we know? Well we can see we can put this E up here. It's just an A minor triad. And then we've got more notes in the A minor triad. I said to kind of ignore that F. Every single note, except for that one F, is part of the A minor, excuse me, A minor triad. Now let's come down to measure three. I'd like you to pause, and I'm going to put parentheses around this note, so ignore that C. I'd like you to look at these five notes, and can you figure out what pattern, what scale, or what chord they are a part of? Then press play and we'll look at it together. Here in measure three we have a B, a G-sharp, B again, G-sharp again, and E. What chord does that form? It's an E major triad. So that's useful to know, and we've got that extra C thrown in there. Okay, because Schumann is having a little fun there. But the other notes are just part of the E major triad. Okay, one more group of notes to analyze. Can you figure out just these first three notes in measure four? Just these one, two, three, notes. Pause to figure out what chord that is forming, then press play and we'll look at it together. We have an A, we have an E, and a C, and we've seen this before that's our A minor triad in second inversion. Now let's try to play this. All right, what is the interval between these first two notes in the score? If you said a fourth, you're correct. And notice that it's a finger 1 and a finger 2. Why are we doing such a big stretch there? Well, it's because of the notes that are coming ahead. As we get to more and more advanced music, your hands are not going to be just staying in our old, familiar pentascale shapes. Okay, so also notice that they are marked staccato. So we have this E A E A. And then a C with fingers 1 2 1 2 4, and I like to think of my notes in groups. So let's think of these three notes as kind of a cluster or group. Now you try. Good, so we have 1 2 1 2 4, and now we have another group, and for this group we're going to need these three notes. The next four notes are 1 2 3 4, or 1 2 4 2. I'll use finger numbers. And notice that sforzato, and that these two are legato. So we have two staccati. Now your turn. Okay, so thinking of those as a group, and remember we started here. We're just doing inversions of this A minor triad right? So let's put all these together now. Pause the video and work on that section, then press play to go on. Now as you're playing your staccati. Staccati is the plural for staccato by the way. You can say staccatos, but it kind of sounds fancy to say staccati. So, remember to keep your fingers close to the keys. Do not do this, and like slap the keys and go flying because then your hand will be out of position. You want to keep your fingers close to the keys, and just do a little quick wrist lift. And when you do that sforzato, how do you get a loud sound out of piano? Well don't try to do it with your finger, do it with arm weight. You're going to drop into that key. Remember, gravity helps you play forte by just dropping extra loud on that key. Think of just falling extra deep. Traveling deep into that key, and that will give you that good sforzato. Watch again. We're going to drop. See, I come up so I can really fall on them. And drop. Now let's look at these next four notes. We've got this F, and then what? An E, C, A. Notice this kind of makes a group. It's an A minor triad with this extra F on top. Now you try. Let's put all of that together now. Don't forget the sforzato, and making those two notes legato. Everything else is staccato. Pause the video and work on those first two measures with the pickup note, then press play to go on. Now here in measure three we have another sforzanto, so we're going to drop on that B. Going to G-sharp then this C, and then we have B, G-sharp, E. Remember, in this measure we've got this E major chord that we are outlining with this extra C thrown in there. Pause the video to work on measure three, then press play to go on. Now let's look at measure four. Let's make these three notes a group. We've got A, E, and C on top. And then that ends up on a B. Beat 1 2 3 4, rest, 1 2 3 4, rest. Now you try. Good let's put all of that together so far. Pause the video and work on all the way up to that note in measure four to this B, and then press play to go on. Now I have a challenge for you. Looking at the pickup note to measure five starting on this E here, and then looking all the way up to the repeat sign, what do you notice about these notes? Do they look familiar? They should. Starts off the same. Now, can you find where it's different from what we just played? This is basically the same phrase over again but something is different. Can you find what? Where does it change? It's here in measure eight. This time we have: So starting here at the pickup to measure five we have: Okay, can you play this measure eight pattern? 3 1 2 3, your turn. Good, let's go back to measure seven now. Pause the video and work on measures seven and eight, then press play to go on. Good, now as you're practicing this week since these are all eighth notes with the occasional eighth rest. I think metronome could be very helpful. Start at around metronome set to about 100 beats per minute, and play one note per click. 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6, 12 3 4 5 6, 1 When you're doing that, don't forget to give that eighth rest a beat. Look here in measure four. We have 1 2 3 4 5 6 1, that eighth rest happens on beat 5, and it needs a beat. Don't skip the rest. It gets a beat there. Now, once you can play with no pauses, no missed notes, and no missed fingerings. The fingerings by the way are super important. This may be the trickiest piece we've learned yet for how many hand shifts there are, how many times there's a stretch or a shift. Something tricky happening in the fingers, and it takes careful practicing. If you don't follow the fingering for example, If right here, if you don't change you're going to run out of fingers and you won't be able to reach all the notes and then you're going to have to do an awkward shift. So really be careful with the fingering so your hand is always in the right position for the notes that are coming. Once you can play it with no pauses, no missed notes, no missed fingerings at 100, maybe bump it up to 108, and then same thing no missed notes, no missed fingerings. And then bump it up again, and again, and again, until maybe you've got it all the way up to 200. And you can do it at 200 no missed notes, no missed fingerings, then you're ready to learn the left-hand part. Great work learning the right-hand part for the a section of "The Wild Horseman" or "Wilder Reiter" by Robert Schumann. Happy practicing and see you next time! Just breathe. Oh, I've never been so scared! Breathe, breathe. Oh, lion's asleep. Okay, Scuba just clear your mind and think. How am I supposed to get a whisker from the lion? Breathe, okay, what would Princess do? I'm sure she'd have a good idea. Should I just sneak up and pluck it and run? He'd probably wake right up and eat me! Okay, I just need to clear my mind and breathe. Breathe, oh look the lion has a tiny splinter in one of his paws. That gives me an idea. Excuse me Mr. Lion. A visitor? What is it now? Forgive me for waking you, but I couldn't help but notice a splinter in one of your paws. Yes it's been driving me crazy! But I can't get it out with my lion paws. No opposable thumbs you know. Here, let me get it out for you. There! Oh thank you! That feels so much better. Good, glad I could help. And now there's actually something you can help me with if you don't mind. Oh, did Monkey send you? Wait how did you know? Oh, he's always sending people over to steal my whiskers. He is? Don't worry, every once in a while a whisker just falls out, and I keep them in a little jar for the next time some ninja in training comes by looking for one. Well here you go. Oh wow! Thanks! A real lion's whisker. Thank you! I've got to go show Monkey! Oh, and please tell Monkey no more visitors for a while. I'd really like to catch up on my [yawns] sleep. You got it! Thanks again, and nighty night, sleep tight! [Lion snoring]