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A1. Lesson 4

Welcome to the fourth practical lesson of the online piano and music theory course.

We will continue here what we worked on in lessons 1, 2, y 3.

We will start this lesson with a piece to play on the piano. To do this, I suggest you watch the video below, with which you can learn to execute the work proposed by imitation.

Exercise 1: Playing

You can watch the video as many times as you need until you learn the piece. Pay attention to the keys that are played, the fingering used and the rhythm as shown in the video. Perform the work with right and left hands separately as many times as necessary until you achieve a correct execution, paying attention to the corresponding notes, fingering, and rhythm together with the video. Subsequently, I propose to make video recordings of your performance with separate hands. If you find an error in the recording, repeat the exercise until you reach the proposed goal.


Exercise 2: Playing and Singing or Counting

Next, I propose you execute the work with separate hands, simultaneously singing the melody with the name of the notes. This exercise will allow you to fix in memory the location of the notes on the keyboard and on the staff, as well as their relative pitch. If necessary, you can separately address the enunciation and intonation of the notes before integrating the execution. You can do this exercise first without rhythm, adjusting the intonation to the height of the played note, and then on the video. Finally, make an audio recording to evaluate the achievement of the proposed goal.

I also suggest you perform the work and count the times of the measure out loud. This exercise will allow you to exercise rhythm. The objective of this exercise is to obtain a correct instrumental execution, with rhythmic precision and enunciation of the beats of the bar. Make an audio recording to assess the achievement of the proposed objective.


Exercise 3: Memory execution

Perform the pieces worked on in lessons 1 and 2 without the help of the score. If you don't remember everything, put the sheet music back on the music stand and play it again. Repeat this exercise until you have memorized the entire work. Then make an audio recording and compare it with the sheet music.


Exercise 4: Location of notes

In the previous lessons, we learned and practiced the location of the notes on the keyboard and in the treble clef with their respective acoustic index. On this occasion, I propose to continue exercising in it. This will help you smooth out difficulties in music reading and instrumental playing. To do this, I suggest you use the cards from exercise 7 of lesson A1.2. For this exercise, we will take a maximum of 5 new notes to exercise. That is why I propose you select the cards of the notes C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, A4, B4, and C5. Shuffle the cards and present them in random order. Say the note and play it on the piano in its corresponding octave. Repeat the exercise until you become fluent in identifying these notes and their location on the keyboard.


Exercise 5: Order of the notes

Next, I propose you name the notes in scales by ascending and descending fourths starting at each one of them until reaching the initial note. This will make it easier for you to read music and improve your performance on the instrument. To begin with, I suggest you write down these scales and then continue practicing them mentally until you become fluent.


Exercise 6: Intervals

In the previous lesson, we learned to classify intervals according to their quantitative aspect. In previous exercises, we also exercised the order of the notes by second, third, and fourth ascending and descending. It is not necessary to exercise the order of the notes by fifths, sixths, and sevenths, since this coincides with the intervals already trained, but in the opposite direction, as you can verify by comparing these scales. This happens due to the inversion of the intervals. In this exercise, we will focus on this aspect. As can be verified:

  • Unison inverts in octaves

  • Seconds invert into sevenths

  • Thirds invert into sixths

  • Fourths invert into fifths

For this reason, if we want to build a large interval (5, 6, 7, or 8), we can, to facilitate the task, look for its inversion (4, 3, 2, or 1) in the opposite direction. For example, the ascending seventh from Mi (Re), can be found more quickly in its descending second, and then invert the interval. Building and identifying intervals fluently will allow us to build and identify chords, understand the structure of melodies and their relationships, and will improve our performance in reading and executing music. For this reason, I invite you to exercise the inversion of intervals in its quantitative aspect. To do this, print the document below and cut out the cards.

Inversión de intervalos
.pdf
Descargar PDF • 128KB

The exercise consists of mixing and presenting a card with a note (C, D, E, F, G, A, or B) and a card with an interval (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8) in random order. Constructs and executes the requested interval in ascending and descending directions, and their inversions. For example, if we have the cards for F and the interval of sixth, we will execute the ascending sixth (F4-D5), and its inversion, the descending third (F4-D4), the descending sixth (F4-A3), and its inversion, ascending third (F4-A4). Repeat the exercise until you get fluent in the construction and inversion of intervals.


Exercise 7: Variation. Time signature change

In lessons 1, 2, and 3 we work on the rhythmic aspect using the time signatures of 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4. Taking these elements, I propose to exercise a form of variation, which involves changing the time signature of a musical work. Variation is a compositional procedure that consists of modifying some musical element (for example, rhythmic, melodic, or harmonic) in such a way that the difference is perceptible, but which in turn maintains other elements, in such a way that the work continues to be recognized. To exercise the variation by changing the time signature, I suggest you take the work studied in lesson 1 (originally in 2/4) and transcribe it to 3/4 and 4/4.

Keep the notes, and change the figures to fit the new time signature. When making a variation, I recommend you also keep the motif of the variation throughout it, in such a way that it responds to an internal logic. For this reason, I suggest you keep the rhythmic pattern that you have chosen in the first bar throughout the variation.


Exercise 8: Instrumental technique

In the previous lesson, we learned about the correct way to sit in front of the piano. Furthermore, in the repertoire proposed in this lesson, the five notes from C to G are included, completing a closed and fixed position. On this occasion, we will work on the position of the hand with an execution non legato through exercises in a closed and fixed position.

The correct position of the hand in instrumental performance is one in which it preserves the natural position it has when the hand is completely relaxed, with the arms hanging by the sides of the body. In this position, the back of the hand is in line with the forearm, the knuckles are elevated, and the fingers are semi-flexed. When the hand is in this position, a hole is formed in the palm, as if it were holding a tennis ball. When playing the piano, the hand must remain relaxed and maintain this position. To do this, when playing the piano, the fingers must offer resistance to the keys, but without tensing, to avoid losing this position. To understand how this resistance works in relaxation, I suggest you place one hand horizontally in the position described, as if you were going to play the piano, and exert light pressure on each of the fingers with the other hand, preventing them from changing their position, but without tensing them. This pressure corresponds to the weight of the arm, which, due to the force of gravity, rests on the support of the finger against the bottom of the key. This is the optimal tone required to play the piano with complete relaxation of the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, arms, and shoulders.

The simplest way to understand and put this mechanism to work in performance is through a non legato articulation. We will do it with an entry and exit movement in each note. We will execute each note using the weight of the arm, which, when making an entry movement towards the keyboard, allows us to lower the keys without any type of movement of the fingers, which simply resist this weight, allowing the hand to maintain its natural position. In addition, once each note is played, we will continue this downward movement, in such a way that the arm completely relaxes on each note before starting the upward movement of the exit, but without losing the alignment of the hand with the forearm. Since the hand is relaxed at all times, this is the first to come, but the last to go. The hand hangs from the wrist as it enters and, after reaching its position on the keyboard, remains at rest while the wrist continues its travel until it reaches its rest position. When withdrawing, the wrist comes out first and behind it the hand. This process is repeated for each note played.

To train this execution technique, I suggest you play the following exercises in a closed and fixed position, with a non-legato articulation, with separate hands, slowly and without rhythm, following the guidelines indicated, as shown in the video below. Repeat the exercises as many times as you need to master this execution technique. Then record a video and analyze it. In case of detecting an error or a technical failure, repeat the exercise until you obtain a correct recording.

Exercise 9: Rhythmic reading

I propose you read the following rhythmic exercise with the metronome. You can beat the rhythm, sing it or play it on the piano on the same note (for instance C4) with the metronome or the video.


Repeat the exercise until you get a correct rhythm performance, adjusted to the metronome. Then make an audio recording using the metronome and listen to it to self-correct. If you find an error, repeat the exercise until you get a correct recording.


Exercise 10: Rhythmic sight-reading

After reaching the goal proposed in the previous exercise, I suggest you read the following rhythm at first sight.

The purpose of sight-reading exercises is to achieve fluency in resolving rhythmic, melodic, or piano-playing difficulties. Aiming at this, I propose as the goal of these exercises to achieve a correct and adjusted performance from the first reading. To do this, I recommend starting with the analysis of the elements that each exercise contains. This exercise consists of eight measures in 2/4 using quarter and half notes, and ties. To start reading, I suggest you mark the pulse and perform the exercise mentally until you can do it correctly. Once this mental reading has been achieved, I suggest you make an audio recording with your first reading of this exercise, whether it be drumming, singing, or playing on the piano with the help of the metronome. Finally, listen to the recording to self-correct yourself. If you find an error, repeat the exercise until you get a correct recording.


Exercise 11: Rhythmic Composition

Next, I propose you compose a rhythmic exercise of eight bars in 2/4 using quarter notes and half notes, and ties, taking the previous rhythmic exercises as a model. The rhythmic composition exercises will allow you to consolidate the musical elements worked on, they will provide you with additional material to train rhythmic reading at first sight, and they will prepare you to work on musical composition. After writing the exercise, record a rhythmic sight-reading of your composition and listen to it. If necessary, repeat the exercise until you obtain a correct recording.


Exercise 12: Rhythmic dictation

Next, I propose you write the rhythm in the following video from listening:

Listen to the exercise as many times as you want. If you need to, you can pause it, rewind it, or fast-forward it. To facilitate the recognition of the beat and the note values, the marking of the beat and the accents of the measure are included. In the beginning, a complete measure is heard with this marking. Write the time signature and the corresponding note values until you complete the exercise. Don't forget to include the bar lines and the end bar line. Once written, listen to the audio again to check. Then do a sight-reading of the exercise.


Exercise 13: Rhythmic-melodic reading

I propose you read the notes and sing the melody of this exercise with its rhythm using the metronome or the video.


To address this topic, you can train four abilities separately: a) spoken notes without rhythm, b) spoken notes with rhythm, c) intoned notes without rhythm, and d) intoned notes with rhythm. Then repeat the exercise without instrumental accompaniment, paying attention to the correct enunciation and intonation of the notes as well as the execution of the rhythm. Finally, record audio using the metronome and listen to it to correct yourself. If you find an error, repeat the exercise until you get a correct recording.


Exercise 14: Rhythmic-melodic sight-reading

After reaching the goal proposed in the previous exercise, I suggest you read the following melody at first sight.

In order to achieve an execution without errors and adjusted from the first reading, I suggest starting with an analysis of its elements. Regarding its rhythmic aspect, this exercise consists of eight bars in 4/4 using quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes. Regarding its melodic aspect, it contains three notes (C, D, and E) approached by ascending or descending conjunct motion, repetition, and descending thirds. To start reading, I suggest you read the notes mentally first without rhythm and then with a regular pulse to smooth out possible difficulties in these aspects. Then I propose you carry out a preparatory exercise of random intonation with these notes, corroborating with the help of the piano if necessary.

Finally, make an audio recording with your first reading of this exercise. If you find an error, repeat the exercise until you get a correct recording.


Exercise 15: Rhythmic-melodic Composition

Next, I propose you compose a rhythmic-melodic exercise of eight bars in 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4 using quarter, half, dotted half, or whole notes, and the notes C, D, and E, with repeated notes, conjunct motion, and descending thirds, taking the previous rhythmic-melodic exercises as a model. The rhythmic-melodic composition exercises will allow you to consolidate the musical elements worked on, they will provide you with additional material to train rhythmic-melodic reading at first sight, and they will prepare you to work on musical composition. After writing the exercise, record a rhythmic-melodic sight-reading of your composition and listen to it. If necessary, repeat the exercise until you obtain a correct recording.


Exercise 16: Rhythmic-melodic Dictation

Next, I propose you write the rhythm and melody in the following video from listening:

Listen to the exercise as many times as you want. If you need to, you can pause it, rewind it, or fast-forward it. To facilitate the recognition of rhythmic elements, the marking of the beat and the accents of the measure are included. In the beginning, a complete measure is heard with this marking. Regarding the melodic aspect, this exercise has two notes (C, D, and E), which you can identify by their relative pitch. Write the time signature, notes, values, bar lines, and the end bar line. Once written, perform a first-sight reading to corroborate. Finally, sing on the audio.


Exercise 17: Musical analysis

In the previous lessons, we learned and practiced sentence, parallel periods, and contrasting periods of 8 bars. On this occasion, I propose you work on the double period of 16 bars. It is the repetition of a sentence, parallel period, or contrasting period of 8 measures. To give rise to this repetition, the end of the initial sentence, parallel period or double period, is modified in such a way that its end is suspensive, claiming a continuation, given by its repetition, whose end will be conclusive.

In the following examples, I will take the sentence, parallel period, and contrasting period used in the analysis exercises of the previous lessons, turning them into double periods of 16 bars from the indicated strategy.

Next, I propose to carry out a morphological analysis of the following 16-bar melody, specifying the form of the 8-bar members (sentence, parallel period, or contrasting period) and indicating the types of endings ( suspensive or conclusive) and the motifs. You can correct your analysis by going to the guide at the end of this post.

Exercise 18: Musical composition

Next, I invite you to compose a 16-bar double period starting from an 8-bar binary sentence. To do this, I recommend using the rhythmic and melodic elements that have been practiced: that is, writing in 2/4, 3/4, or 4/4 time, using quarter, half, dotted half, or whole, and the notes C, D, E, F, and G. You can do this on paper or in music writing software. On a blank staff, write the treble clef and time signature. Then compose a binary sentence with a suspension ending in the eighth bar. Then, repeat the sentence modifying the ending so that it is conclusive.

Finally, play the composed work, make an audio recording, and self-correct your play.


Exercise 19: Improvisation

To train the elements worked on in this lesson in improvisation, I suggest you improvise a 16-bar double period starting from an 8-bar binary sentence. To facilitate this task, I provide an exercise of 16 bars, in 2/4, where measures 1, 2, 3, and 4, and measures 5, 6, 7, and 8 (which correspond to the antecedent of each sentence) are empty, and the remaining bars contain a proposed suspensive and conclusive consequent.

I propose to mentally compose a motif of 2 bars. State the notes and values of the motif but do not write them down. The exercise consists of recording the improvisation of the double period with the help of the metronome, building the antecedents from the repetition of the predefined motif, and executing the suspensive and conclusive consequents as they are written. Then listen to the recording to self-correct yourself and, if necessary, repeat the exercise with the same motifs until you get a correct execution. I also invite you to continue improvising double periods using new motifs with the proposed consequents.


Exercise 20: Execution at first sight

Finally, I suggest you play the following work at first sight on the piano.

To do it, I recommend starting with a musical analysis, indicating the rhythmic, melodic, and morphological elements it exhibits. Then I propose to perform a mental execution with the help of the metronome. If you consider it necessary, you can address the rhythmic, melodic, and fingering elements separately in this mental preparation. Once prepared, I recommend making two video recordings of this exercise (one with the right hand and one with the left hand). The goal is to perform a correct and accurate execution from the first reading. If necessary, repeat the exercise. Finally, I invite you to compose and play new sight reading exercises using the elements worked on in this lesson.


Guidelines for self-correction:

Exercise 1

Analyze the recordings taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the notes.

  2. Rhythmic precision.

  3. Proper use of fingering

Exercise 2

Analyze the recording taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of notes and rhythmic adjustment.

  2. Proper enunciation of the notes.

  3. Accuracy in intonation.

In the execution with the count of the beats of the bar, keep in mind:

  1. The correct execution of the notes.

  2. The proper enunciation of the beats of the measure.

  3. Rhythmic precision.

Exercise 3

Analyze the recording taking into account the following guidelines

  • Memory execution.

  • Correction in the indications of the score.

  • Rhythmic precision.

Exercise 4

Verify the correct recognition, enunciation, and execution of notes and octaves.


Exercise 5

Compare the written scales with the following resolution of the exercise:

  • C-F-B-E-A-D-G-C

  • C-G-D-A-E-B-F-C

  • D-G-C-F-B-E-A-D

  • D-A-E-B-F-C-G-D

  • E-A-D-G-C-F-B-E

  • E-B-F-C-G-D-A-E

  • F-B-E-A-D-G-C-F

  • F-C-G-D-A-E-B-F

  • G-C-F-B-E-A-D-G

  • G-D-A-E-B-F-C-G

  • A-D-G-C-F-B-E-A

  • A-E-B-F-C-G-D-A

  • B-E-A-D-G-C-F-B

  • B-F-C-G-D-A-E-B

Exercise 6

When exercising with the cards, verify the correct construction of the requested intervals on the requested notes in an ascending and descending direction, and their corresponding inversions.


Exercise 7

Compare the variations written with the graph below.

Other solutions are possible. In case of using another rhythmic pattern, verify that it adapts to the time signature, its conservation throughout each variation, and the correspondence with the notes of the theme.


Exercise 8

Analyze the recording taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct position of the body: Plants of the feet supported, legs relaxed, support of the sitting bones, erect spine, optimal seat height and distance from the keyboard, arms hanging relaxed.

  2. Natural, relaxed hand position: wrist in line with forearm, knuckles high, fingers semi-flexed, palm hollow.

  3. Correct execution of the non legato: entry and exit of the arm, rest of the arm during the execution, vertical and relaxed movement of the wrist, relaxation of the hand, resistance without movement of the fingers.

Exercise 9

Analyze the recording of the rhythmic reading taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the rhythm (whether drumming, singing, or on the piano).

  2. Precision in synchronous adjustment with the metronome.

Exercise 10

Analyze the recording of the rhythmic sight-reading taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the rhythm (whether drumming, singing, or on the piano).

  2. Precision in synchronous adjustment with the metronome.

  3. Correct execution from the first attempt.

In case of not achieving the proposed goal in the first reading, compose new exercises to train the rhythmic reading at first sight until reaching it.


Exercise 11

Check in the exercise you composed:

  1. The correct writing of the key, the time signature, the values, and the bar lines.

  2. Following the guides: eight bars in 2/4 using quarter and half notes, and ties.

Analyze the sight-reading recording of your rhythmic composition, following the guidelines proposed in exercise 10.


Exercise 12

Compare the rhythm written to dictation with the following graph

In case you find an error, you can continue exercising rhythmic dictation with the elements worked on in this lesson using the audios of your readings, your sight readings, and your own compositions.


Exercise 13

Analyze the recording of the rhythmic-melodic reading taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the rhythm and precision in the synchronous adjustment with the metronome.

  2. Correct enunciation of the notes.

  3. Correct intonation of notes. To do this, listen to the recording playing simultaneously on the piano to self-correct yourself.

Exercise 14

Analyze the recording of the rhythmic-melodic reading at first sight taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the rhythm and precision in the synchronous adjustment with the metronome.

  2. Correct enunciation of the notes.

  3. Correct intonation of notes. To do this, listen to the recording playing simultaneously on the piano to self-correct yourself.

  4. Correct execution from the first attempt.

In case of not achieving the proposed goal, compose new exercises to train rhythmic-melodic reading at first sight until reaching it.


Exercise 15


Check in the exercise you composed:

  1. The correct writing of the key, the time signature, the values, and the bar lines.

  2. Following the guides: eight bars in 2/4, 3/4, or 4/4 time using quarter, half, dotted half, or whole notes, and the notes C, D, and E, with repeated notes, conjunct motion, and descending thirds.

Analyze the recording of the reading at first sight of your rhythmic-melodic composition, following the guidelines proposed in exercise 14.


Exercise 16

Compare the melody written to dictation with the following graph

In case you find an error, you can continue exercising rhythmic-melodic dictation with the elements worked on in this lesson using the audios of your readings, your sight readings, and your own compositions.


Exercise 17

Compare your analysis with the following graph and explanation

The work is in C Major and consists of a double period of 16 bars. It consists of two members of 8 bars that correspond to parallel periods. The first of them has a suspensive closure and the second is conclusive.


Exercise 18

Analyze the composition taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. The work has 16 bars.

  2. The first 8 bars correspond to a binary sentence with a suspensive ending.

  3. The last 8 measures are the repetition of the initial sentence, but with a conclusive ending.

Then analyze the audio of the execution of your composition following the self-correction guides of exercise 1


Exercise 19

Analyze the recording of the improvisation taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. The motifs executed correspond to the stated rhythmic-melodic patterns.

  2. The consequents correspond to the proposed model

  3. The overall execution is rhythmically and melodically accurate.

Exercise 20

Analyze recordings of sight-reading to self-correct. To do this, keep in mind:


  1. Correct execution of the notes.

  2. Precision and rhythmic adjustment with the metronome.

  3. Proper use of fingers

  4. Correct execution from the first attempt.

In case of not achieving the proposed goal, compose new exercises to train the execution at first sight until reaching it.

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