Friday, April 30, 2010

Melody Bober's Moonlight Fantasy

This is another of my favorite songs of all time to play.  It's got a fairly tricky rhythm in one section, with triplets in the right hand played against eighth notes in the left.  It has several different sections, which makes it easier to learn in pieces, although it's still fairly difficult to learn.  I played it much too fast in this video, so maybe I'll have a video soon where I play more slowly.  Here's a little breakdown, if you want to try to follow it in the video:
Section 1: Played in D Minor, only lasts for a few lines (from 0:09-0:24 in the video), but makes for a very dramatic opening.  Some broken and whole chords, followed by an arpeggio coming down, then ending with a chromatic scale going up and blending into Section 2.
Section 2 (0:24-1:03): Starts out very slowly and dramatically, but gets faster and more active by the end.  Mostly scales in the left hand accompanying the melody in the right.
Section 3 (1:03-1:35): This is to be played much more quickly than Section 2, and it has a difficult rhythm.  Triplets in the right hand against eighth notes in the left make this part hard to get right without a lot of practice.  However, I find it a fairly impressive part to play, and it leads into an even more impressive part.
Section 4 (1:35-2:34): As the song moves on, it becomes more and more impressive, and because of that, it becomes even more and more difficult to play.  This section starts off with a progression of broken chords, continues into some awesome octaves, and ends with the same, except for a break of 32nd notes (!!) in the middle.  It's a very active section, but very fun to play, and listeners will enjoy it.
Section 5 (2:34-2:38): This is the hardest section to play.  I had to record it several times before I got this section just right.  It starts off with 16th notes played at 132 bpm, and it accelerates from there.  The beginning is a forward-and-backwards chord progression going downhill, and then goes to a chord progression coming uphill.  It slows down slightly and ends with a series of dramatic chords.  This is the most intense section of the song and will take lots of practice before you get it right.
Overall, a very cool and impressive song to play and a very good exercise for your fingers and for your brain, trying to keep track of everything that's going on.  If you'd like the sheet music, please visit and email me.  Thanks for reading, and good luck!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Music of the Night"

So, this has got to be one of my favorite pieces of all time, both to play on piano and to listen to.  Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote this for the The Phantom of the Opera play, later put into a movie.  It's not a difficult song to play (at least, not at the level I learned it - I'm sure there are many more difficult versions, and probably a few easier ones), but it sounds magnificent.  It starts off quietly, then builds and builds in a shattering crescendo, and then ends just as quietly as it began, but with incredible majesty and delicacy throughout the song.  I played this at a talent show in junior high, and the entire school loved it.  It's one of those songs that just sounds amazing, even if you don't play it perfectly.  I usually play it a bit off-tempo, simply because I think it sounds better - I leave some notes hanging too long and others too short.  Really, though, each piece of music is individual not only to the written sheet music, but to the performer.  Each performer adds a bit of his/her own personal style.  And this song allows you to "ad lib" some of it and still sound really good.

Note: I'll have the video up soon, and I'll add some more commentary then, but I'm having technical issues with my camera and can't seem to get videos from it to my computer.  Once I have the video up, I'll point out some of the sections that I thought were easy or hard, the sections that sound good when you play them a certain way (or bad when you play them a certain way), etc., etc.
So, see you soon, and thanks for reading!


Hi everyone.
My name is Cam Herringshaw.  I've been playing piano for eight or nine years, which is roughly half of my life at the time of this first post.  When I learn a song (or am learning a song), I'll post a video of me playing it, along with a few comments on what makes the song interesting, easy, difficult, et cetera.  For anyone reading this blog, please ask questions, or feel free to make requests on types of music (or even a specific piece) that you would like me to play.  If you have a question about a piece that you're trying to play, please post a comment about it, or just email me directly, and I'll be glad to help.  Tomorrow or Saturday will be the first on-topic post, on either Melody Bober's "Moonlight Fantasy" or Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Music of the Night."

Thanks for reading!