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Toccata in D Minor by J. S. Bach - Elementary (Easy) Version

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Welcome to Hoffman Academy. Today I'm going to teach you how to play some of the very dramatic "Toccata" in D minor.
This is a prep-level tutorial, perfect for beginners.
If you are more experienced and would like to learn the whole piece, check out our level three tutorial.
Check below this video to download the free sheet music, and when you're ready come join me at the piano.
Let's look at the sheet music first and see what we can learn about the piece.
First, the title says it's in D minor, so that might mean we'll be in D minor position, but it's always a good idea to double check first.
In the right hand the first note is treble A right here,
and a finger number there says finger 5 so if I put finger 5 on A then that is D minor position, good.
In the left hand, our first note is middle C, but it has a sharp symbol which means we'll be on C-sharp right here.
Now that is not part of D minor position, but that's okay because if you look ahead
you'll see there's not much else for the left hand to worry about except that C-sharp.
So we'll just keep the left hand there and ready to go.
Now if you're wondering about these two dotted lines here and here in the music,
I'm going to come back to those later for now we'll just ignore them.
Let's play this first line. It's going to sound like this:
That was pretty simple, let's play it one more time. Ready, starting on the 5th finger here.
Notice all these long notes. We have a dotted half note in the first measure, which is 3 beats.
A half note here which is 2 beats,
and finally a whole note which is 4 beats.
Now I'm going to play it while saying the rhythm sounds.
For half notes and dotted half notes, some people like to say TA-A for 2 beats or TA-A-A for 3 beats.
And sometimes I still say those, but I've recently grown fond of saying in rhythm: HALF-NOTE. or HALF-NOTE-DOT,
and for whole notes, I'll just count to four.
Here we go. In position, 1 2 3 4
Great, let's do that again. Ready, go:
Good, now it's your turn to practice the first line on your own.
Practice a few times while singing the solfège syllables and a few more times while saying the rhythm syllables.
Pause the video now, and then press play when you're ready to go on.
Great, now let's look at the second line.
This next measure is exactly the same as the first measure,
and this measure over here is exactly the same as the third measure.
So we just need to learn this middle measure, but I'll go ahead and play the entire line. Here we go in position, D minor and the C-sharp.
Wow that was even easier than the first line. Let's hear that again ready, go:
Just remember that rest in the beginning of the second measure there.
In fact, let's practice it together while saying the rhythm syllables.
Ready, go: TI-TI HALF-NOTE-DOT REST TA TA TA 1 2 3 4
Great now go ahead and pause the video again so you can practice the second line.
Again, while singing solfège syllables and counting the rhythm, and press play when you're ready to go on.
Great, now notice that the third line is exactly the same as the first line. So now you almost know the whole thing, but now I want to talk about those dotted lines we saw earlier. In music, 8va with a dotted line written above the music means to play that music one octave than written.
Usually that only means one hand, but this one says both hands go up.
So even though we've been practicing that first line here in the middle of the piano,
we're going to go up and play it up here on this D minor position, and our left hand way up here so let's hear that. Ooo, let's do that again. So go ahead and get in position with me in D minor and the C-sharp, ready, go: SO FA SO FA ME RE DO TI DO
Cool, now there is no 8va or dotted lines for the second part, so that means we need to come back to the middle here.
And the third part has a dotted line underneath that says 8vb, which means you play the one that one octave lower.
So we'll have to come down here to this D position like this. Do you want to try it?
Here we go.
Great so now it's about time to practice those three lines together
while changing octaves for each line.
The nice thing about it is that each line ends with a long whole note, so you have a whole 4 beats
to look over to see where your next position is before you have to move.
You probably don't want to finish your 4 beats at the end of a line and then go, oh no, where's my next position? And one more thing to remember, and this is important.
You might be tempted to scoot yourself across the bench each time you change positions,
Well guess what, you don't need to. You've got those long arms so go ahead and sit in the middle of the bench or chair
and just see how far those arms can reach.
We're not going very high or low in this piece, so remember to keep yourself planted in one spot, and just reach with those long arms of yours.
It's a lot faster than scooting over and also a lot less distracting.
All right, let's practice these three lines together once first.
So I'm starting up here in this higher D minor position with my left hand on the C-sharp.
Move down. SO FA SO REST RE ME TI DO 2 3 4 move
Great, now pause the video to practice that on your own,
and when you come back we'll learn that last line.
All right, this last part is so cool you're going to love it.
Let's look at the sheet music again to figure out what's going on here.
First thing is we are not in D minor position anymore.
These first three notes in the left hand are C-sharp, E, and G down here in the bass clef. It's kind of like C position except that your 5th finger is on C-sharp instead of C.
So if you want to be able to get there quickly, just think C position,
and then lift the pinky up to C-sharp.
The right hand has an even more curious position.
Our 1st finger is on B-flat right here below middle C and just above where our left hand is.
It's important that you don't accidentally go too high and start on this B-flat up here.
It's going to be right here next to your left hand.
Then put your 3rd finger on C-sharp and your 5th finger on E.
Don't worry about the other fingers yet. For now we just need fingers 1 3 and 5 for each hand.
Both of these positions might feel a little squished if you're used to normal pentascales, but that's okay. If both your hands are in position, then let's play these first two measures.
All you got to do is play all six notes one at a time from the bottom to the top like this:
Cool! Now let's do it again but let's name the notes this time. Ready,
C-sharp, E, G, B-flat, C-sharp, E
Great now the really cool part is that we get to hold the sustain pedal for these two measures. Do you see that line underneath?
That's what that line means.
If you have three pedals like I do, it's the pedal on the right side.
So let's try that and play it again. Push that pedal all the way down and hold it, and now play.
Awesome, then lift the pedal.
Let's hear that again. This time let's push the pedal down right as we begin to play that first C-sharp. So go ahead and get in position.
And get your foot ready,
and go,
Awesome, now if you don't have a sustain pedal that's okay. Some keyboards don't have them. Or maybe your legs aren't quite long enough yet and it's hard to reach. Well guess what?
Back in J.S. Bach's day they didn't have sustained pedals.
So he would have to do this little trick if he wanted to hold each note out like this:
And he would hold each one and not let go until all six notes were down.
And maybe he thought that playing them all at once
was a little too scary, so instead he would just build that chord slowly one note at a time.
But that's a little harder to do, so go ahead and just use the sustain pedal if you have one. It's a lot easier.
And finally, the last two measures. The right hand plays these two notes together A and D with fingers 1 and 4.
Let's look at how to get there.
So go back and put your fingers on the position we were back here with the B-flat, C-sharp, and E.
Now watch my hand just slide down, and to the left a bit, and there you go from there to there.
And if you do it right, your two thumbs are going to be right next to each other.
And these two notes the A and the D, as you can see are whole notes,
which are tied together to another pair of whole notes.
So just when you play them at the beginning of measure twelve.
You don't let go until the rest of the piece. Just keep holding on.
Your left hand plays the same G that you had just played back here the measure before.
For 2 beats you'll play that G, then skip down to the E for 2 beats, and then step up
to the F-sharp like this. Let's do that again.
1 2, 1 2, 1 2 3 4
Now let's play those three notes again while adding the right hand holding the A and D. So in position, ready, go:
1 2, 1 2, and there's the end.
Just listen to that harmony. Let's play it again.
What a cool sound. I love that.
Let's play that whole last line together.
While you're getting into position let me remind you that this C-sharp
is actually the same C-sharp that you played in measure eight on the third line.
Remember because that was written
to be one octave lower. So if you're in position, let's go. Ready, begin:
Hold it, and 1 2, 1 2, 1 2 3 4
Good, that's a lot trickier than the first three lines isn't it.
So let's do it one more time, and I think the hardest part is landing on this chord here at measure twelve,
with all three of those notes together: G A and D. So take that part slowly and carefully.
Let's come back to measure ten one last time. Ready, go: 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4
1 2 HALF-NOTE, 1 2 3 4
Awesome! Now let's play the whole thing one last time from the very beginning to the end.
I'll count the beats out slowly and out loud so you can stay with me through all those long notes. So in position up here. Ready, 1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
REST 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4.
Thanks for learning the "Toccata" in D minor with me today.
This song was originally written to be played on an organ, so if you have a digital piano that can change its sound, It might be fun to try different instruments.
Be sure to like this video and subscribe to our channel for more music tutorials every week, and as always happy practicing!