This measure starts in the key of e minor. The natural sign before the first g lasts until the end of the measure and has to be rewritten in the next measure for the sound to continue.
One of the most common errors of inexperienced pianists is getting confused about the rules of the sharps, flats, and natural signs written in both the key signature, and in the music.
Moving on. Measure 9 is a bit of a relief.
The harmony is E Major, with a slight shift to e minor as you move to measure 10.
I love this piece because the shifting harmonies remind me of the shifting colors of a vibrant sunrise or sunset.
Color changes are significant, but it is difficult to pinpoint the exact place where bright salmon pink changed to a velvety midnight blue.
Beethoven often changed harmonies by moving one key.
Measure 8 of the Moonlight- one of the most uncomfortable measures. Why?
Beat 4 in the right hand. Your thumb plays an A while your pinkie plays a B. It can be too much of a stretch for a smaller hand.
The more important of the two notes is the B.
"There is no such thing as cheating in piano." -Carolina Caralt
Learning a piece one measure at a time means that every note gets noticed.
The trickiest part of measure 6 of the Moonlight is remembering the b sharp octave that the left hand plays.
Because the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata is slow, many aspiring pianists think it is easy and are surprised and discouraged because it isn't easy enough.
Sometimes what makes it hard is a gap in knowledge. In this case the gap is easily closed.
This piece uses all 7 white keys and all 5 black keys. In order to understand the notes, understanding what sharps are, and that they can be white keys as well as black ones is critical.
I created a free mini course, Know the Keys of the Piano by Name (click here to get it) to make sure that students know all of the names of the keys of the piano. It is how I start all of my students.
Measure 5 of the Moonlight Sonata Adagio Sostenuto is where the melody finally gets introduced.
But, only the first little bit, on beat 4. You can see this because the stems on the notes on measure 4 go in different directions.
To play it, you need to think that your right had has been divided in half and the thumb plays the lowest notes where your pinkie plays the highest notes at the same time.
Pay attention to beat one of measure 6 in the left. It has b sharps. It's a really common error to play either a b key or a c sharp key instead.
Measure 4 is where the Adagio movement of the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven starts getting interesting.
It is also where the value of these videos starts to make sense.
There are 2 really common mistakes that people make when playing it. First, when there is a sharp in front of the "B" it is really confusing. Up until this point, for many students, all sharps are black keys. The idea of a sharp being a white key confuses students, even if they have been playing the piano for a while.
The second mistake, and it happens to experienced players as well, is forgetting that the sharps last until the end of the bar line, so both the B and the D remain B sharp and D sharp for beat 4.
As the harmony is less straightforward, it isn't as easy to catch a mistake in beat 4 of measure 4 as it would be in other places in this piece.
If you already have the first two measures learned, you will notice that the chords change in Measure 3.
Gone, at least temporarily are the C sharp minor repeating triads, to be replaced by the A major and D Major chords.
The left hand has double the notes, but going from 2 notes to 4 seems doable.
Notice that the last notes you play are the first notes of the next measure. When you start putting measures together, you will already be playing smoothly over the bar.
If all you had to worry about was learning one measure, could you do it well?
By focusing on fewer notes it is easier to get to know them all. And by clearing the field of distractions- in the case of one measure at a time, you are more able to understand everything.
How do you get from Couch to Concert Hall?
One measure at a time. It's those tiny steps, the little things like knowing each note, knowing every finger, figuring it all out, and then moving to the next measure to repeat the sequence, that will get you where you want to go.
To get you started on learning the Moonlight Sonata, Adagio Sostenuto movement, here's the first measure. Once you get this one, do the next, and the next. One at a time.
If you want all of the measures at once, and the music to go with it, click here.