Watch the first performance video, below. We're going to be learning just the melody (right hand) first.
Here's the Snake Dance melody. You don't have to read the music or play it just yet - just glance at it.
You notice that Lines 1, 2 and 4 of the
tune are the same and Line 3 is different. The 'lines' of music start a bit before the lines of manuscript (MS - written-out music).
To play the Snake Dance melody, you put your hand in a ‘D minor
position’ – covering keys D to A in the middle of the keyboard. Five
fingers, five keys – one key each.
You only use white keys – that’s what makes it a D minor position. (You need F sharp for a major sound.)
To play the Snake Dance tune, you play fingers:
Say-and-play, or, better still, sing-and-play along, several times.
It’s quite legitimate to learn the tune just from the finger numbering if you don’t read music. Even if you do, it’s good practice – you’re saying out loud the scale degrees (notes of the scale) and improving your aural skills.
Use this fingering difficulties video in tandem with the teaching noes below.
The hardest part of the first line-type is the 5-2-3-1 section at the end – so practice that bit over and over.
Then put it in the phrase: 1-2-3-5-2-3-1.
Practice repeating any section of that fingering until “it’s all the same to you…”!
Copy the examples from the teaching video. Work out what’s difficult for you and make up little exercises for yourself.
Line 3 has the same pattern twice, first from finger 3, then from finger 2.
Memorise the pattern. There are five of the top notes. Count them off as you play them – learners often stop at four.
There are two places in Line 3 (and going on) where you skip notes and change direction. They are 5-4-2-3 and 4-3-1-2. Practice them separately then stitch them together, as in the teaching video.
Check that you can play along (right hand only - left hand is up next!) to the first
Go back and fix up any places you're unsure of. You want to know it by heart and believe your fingers will play it correctly next time you want them to.
To add the left hand, we find what
Musicarta calls a ‘basic music-making position’. Follow the method in this teaching video.
Both hands cover five white keys – one key per finger.
There are two unused white keys between the thumbs.
The lowest key in each hand is the ‘name note’ of the position – here, the D in ‘D minor basic music-making position’.
All the left hand does is play two notes together (that we call ‘a fifth’) four times per line.
Even if you don’t read music (right), you can see just by looking at it the two important-looking notes underneath the melody, and you can easily see how they represent the sound you’re hearing.
Providing you’ve got the hand position right, you can play this version by (fingering) numbers alone.
Hopefully, you can hear the new version as you look at this fingering ‘script’.
This is the ‘theme’ of all the subsequent
variations, so be sure you can play it well before going on. Here's the module reference performance one last time.
When your performance is reliable, go on to the next module.
Snake Dance Series
Crossing the Hands
More LH Rhythms
LH Off The Beat