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Toccata in D Minor by J. S. Bach - Intermediate Version

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Welcome to Hoffman Academy! Today I'm going to teach you the very dramatic "'Toccata" in D minor.
This is a level 3 tutorial so you should have intermediate skills in order to tackle it. If you're less experienced please check out our preparatory tutorial for this piece. Check below this video to download the free sheet music. When you're ready, come join me at the piano.
Alright, first let's look at the sheet music to see what we can learn from this.
The first thing I hope you'll notice is that there are a lot of fermatas.
And if you're one of those students that doesn't like to count, or rhythm just isn't your favorite thing, well, I've got good news for you.
Toccatas like this one aren't really meant to be in strict time.
There's going to be a lot of long notes, a lot of long pauses, and notes that kind of speed up and slow down all over the place.
Everybody performs this piece a little different and that's okay.
So you're not going to hear me counting out beats as much as we go through this. Looking at the sheet music, you might notice some other markings you might not be familiar with. These little commas up here are called breath marks.
They're called that because they're used a lot in vocal music to show where you can stop to take a breath.
For us they mean to lift the hands and let the music breathe for just a quick moment before going on.
The other thing I need to mention is concerning finger numbers.
You'll see a lot of finger numbers in here and a lot of them are going to be very helpful
and I'll try to point out the ones will be the most important to follow. Other finger numbers will be mere suggestions
where if you discover a different finger number that works better for you, then go for it.
At the end of the day all that matters is that it sounds great and that you have an easy time playing it.
If those two things are good, then nobody will care which fingers you use.
All right, let's start.
So it starts up here on this treble high A with finger 5. You're going to be like in a D minor position.
Just like that, and hold it with the fermata and then you're going to slide down. This is going to be just like C position except your thumb is going to go to the C-sharp.
Normally I don't like doing thumbs on black keys but in this case,
that's going to be the easiest bit right there.
So that first measure goes,
and then slide down.
and fermata on that one.
Great, now this second measure both hands now play, and you're in D minor position down here an octave lower.
And then you're going to move down a little further this time to E F C-sharp D. Just a little bit further than the C position. It's kind of like B position. You've got E and F with finger 4 and 5. C-sharp D, and the left hand is finger 2 on E. C-sharp finger 4, D and you'll notice those will be a little slower
than the first measure.
Now the third measure is an octave lower in D minor position down here.
But let's stop there for a second.
Whenever you see a bunch of notes in one staff and it looks like you'll never be able to play all those notes with one hand,
often it's because you actually get to use two hands like this.
There are a couple clues to look for so that you know what to play in each hand.
First, if you see that the other staff is completely empty, meaning not even a whole rest that's a good indication that both hands
are working in the same staff.
See how measure one has notes up here, and a whole rest down here?
That means your left hand is just hanging out and getting ready for the next measure.
The other thing you'll notice in measure three is that some notes played together have stems in opposite directions.
When this happens, stems up means it's for the right hand, and stems down means it's for the left hand.
Sometimes you can actually see a little LH or RH written somewhere in the measure to show you which hand plays what. So let's play that measure. It's just like measure one. You're going to go:
SO FA SO, fermata, and then slide down to C position in both hands, again with that C-sharp.
Just like that.
Now we could stay in D position for this part, but that means a little extra finger crossing under which might get a little complicated.
So I like this C position just with that extra C-sharp it's going to be a whole lot easier to do both hands together.
See that? Super easy.
All right, let's do those first three measures all together.
Starting with right hand only.
Cool, now before we get to measure four let's talk about something else here. You'll notice in measure four we have our first pedal marking.
The places in this music where there are pedal markings are just the places where you definitely should have pedal, but that doesn't that you can't have some pedal in other places.
You might notice sometimes that I'll add pedal even when there's no pedal indication and that's okay. ...