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A1. Lesson 6

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

We will continue here what we worked on in lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

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: Staccato

In lesson 3, we worked on non legato and legato articulations. In this opportunity, we will work on staccato.

As in non legato, in staccato the notes are played with a separation (or caesura) between them. But in staccato, this caesura reaches half the value of the figures. This articulation is indicated by dots placed below or above the notes. The following graph shows the writing and execution of the staccato, non legato, and legato articulations.

Next, I propose you execute the proposed work with the following articulations: non legato, staccato, and the articulations that are written (combination of staccato, legato, and non legato). The objective is to obtain a precise and perceptible articulation with these indications in the execution. Make three audio recordings following these guidelines to assess the achievement of the proposed goal.


Exercise 5: 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 C5, D5, E5, F5, and G5. 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 6: Intervals

In the previous lesson, we exercised the identification of simple intervals according to their quantitative aspect. Now we will work on identifying compound intervals.

Next, I propose you identify and write down the following compound intervals, specifying their quantitative aspect, their presentation (harmonic or melodic), and, eventually, their direction (ascending or descending).

Exercise 7: Variation. time signature change

In lesson 4 we worked on the variation from changing the time signature of a work from 2/4 to 3/4 and 4/4, keeping the notes of the original melody. This time we will work the reverse process, that is, we will take a work in 4/4 and transcribe it to 3/4 and 2/4. When using the values that we have been working on, this implies extracting notes from the melody, in such a way that it is still recognizable. To do this, it is necessary to carefully choose the notes that are maintained and those that are eliminated, in order to preserve the melodic pattern.

Next, I propose you transcribe the following melody in 4/4 to 3/4 and 2/4 following the guidelines set forth.

Exercise 8: Instrumental technique

In the previous lessons, we learned about the correct form to sit in front of the piano, the position of the hand, and the technique of playing non legato and legato with tenuto. On this occasion, we will work on the position of the hand in the execution legato without tenuto through exercises in a closed and fixed position.

In non legato and legato with tenuto performance, each note was accompanied by an in and out movement, producing in one case a separation between the sounds and in the other, a support (or accent) on each. On this occasion, we will execute the exercises without entry and exit movements, but using the weight of the arm to facilitate the execution. To do this, we will change the point of support on which we deposit the weight of the arm from one finger to the other, avoiding descending the keys through a movement of the finger. With this, we can continue playing with a complete relaxation of the shoulders, arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands, since the keys descend due to the efficient use of the weight of this system and not due to the movement of the fingers. When we play the piano using exclusively the movement of the fingers, disconnected from the weight of the arm, a tension tends to be produced that causes involuntary nervous movements that hinder the execution and can cause injuries or other problems. Through the technique of legato execution by changing the support point of the weight of the arm, we will work to avoid these inconveniences while we will exercise a legato articulation without accents.

To train this execution technique, I suggest you play the same exercises used in the previous lesson, but with a legato articulation, without accents, with a quiet mechanism and without involuntary nervous responses, with separate hands, slowly and without rhythm, following the guidelines. marked, 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 4/4 using quarter, half, dotted half, whole 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 3/4 using quarter, half, and dotted 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, and whole notes. Regarding its melodic aspect, it contains four notes (C, D, E, and F) approached by conjunct motion. 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, E, and F, with repeated notes and conjunct motion, 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, E, and F), 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

Next, I propose to carry out a morphological analysis of the following 16-bar melody, specifying the form of the 8-bar members (phrase, 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 contrasting period. 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 contrasting period with a suspension ending in the eighth bar. Then, repeat the period 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 parallel period. To facilitate this task, I provide an exercise of 16 bars, in 4/4, where measures 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, and 14 (which correspond to the beginning of the antecedent or the consequent) are empty, and the remaining bars contain proposed suspensive and conclusive endings.

I propose to mentally compose two motifs of 2 bars. State the notes and values of the motifs 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 beginnings of the antecedent and the consequent with the predefined motifs, and executing the suspensive and conclusive endings 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 endings.


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: Falta

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

Analyze the recordings taking into account the following guidelines

  1. Correct execution of notes and rhythmic adjustment.

  2. Correct execution of the requested articulations (non legato, staccato, written articulations)

Exercise 5

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


Exercise 6

Compare your exercise with the graph below

Abbreviations: h (harmonic), m (melodic), c (compound), ↑ (ascending), ↓ (descending)


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, 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 in legato: rest of the arm, the wrist, and the hand during the execution, transfer of the weight of the arm from one finger to the other, absence of involuntary nervous reactions, legato articulation without accents.

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 4/4 using quarter, half, dotted half, whole 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, E, and F, with repeated notes and conjunct motion.

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 contrasting 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 contrasting period with a suspensive ending.

  3. The last 8 measures are the repetition of the initial periode, 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 endings 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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