Piano Song – Learn to play “Shadow of Regret”

Enrich your repertoire with this delicate piano song, some technical challenges are discussed to give you a hand.

As a kid, whenever I got a new toy I would take it to bed with me and put it under my pillow. The next morning when I woke up, playing with it would be the first thing I did.

Such childish excitement has not left me. I get the same rush of exuberance when I am given a new song to learn. 

“Shadow of Regret”, the title of the song alone gives out clues as to what sort of music we are about to face. Regret is a lover’s word. It suggests a nostalgic sound with a romantic feeling in the melody. So right away you are prepared to play a slow song.

A closer look at the piece confirms this, as it is marked with ‘moderato con rubato’ – telling us that we should play the song at a moderate pace but with the freedom to interpret its wonderful tone on our own.

The song begins in a soft, distant sound – the thumb and middle finger have to press on C and E-flat together lightly but sufficiently firm to produce a clear sound. It is followed by D and F played using the index finger and fourth finger together in a legato feeling and continues uninterrupted with E-flat and G played with the middle finger and pinkie. The phrase has to be played continuously and rendered smoothly for it to pronounce the regretful emotion it is meant to convey.

Curled fingers
Enabling control over the keys, learn to play a piano song well

Refine your piano technique by improving your timing with sonatinas, nocturnes, counting the beat and feeling the rhythm in the music, read 'Improve your timing'

It is difficult to play successive chords continuously, in legato no less. To make life a bit easier for yourself, curl your fingers a little bit and point it down towards the keyboard. Keep your wrists low and remember to loosen it.

Curled fingers give you more control over their movements in hitting the keys and enable you to play between the black keys.

Truth be told, I found this to be my saviour while struggling to play the first bar of line 10 of the piano song. The phrase is made up of a sequence of semiquavers to be played with the fourth finger and pinkie. Hitting the keys using the fourth finger and quickly followed by the pinkie at high speed is a punishing exercise.

I was only able to conquer this obstacle by playing the fourth finger as a staccato and lifting it slightly high in a quick up-arm motion and instantaneously, without missing a beat place my pinkie on the next key. The whole process was made possible by curling the fingers.

March steadily towards ownership of brilliant technique by practicing in short sections using separate hands at a slow pace, read 'Learn to improve technique'

Hand coordination
Swinging one over the other, learn to play a piano song well

What seemed like an easy stroll of a piece at first, turned into a hand and arm coordination nightmare towards the end. Up to this point the RH is played in the treble clef. In the 3rd bar of the last line it is substituted with the bass clef.

After a short ascending phrase it reverts back to treble clef. Just when I thought this rollercoster ride was over, it switches to bass clef again before finally ending with a light, soft press of the fingers on E-flat and the C an octave above it to draw out a charmed whispering sound.

The LH also reverts back and forth from bass clef to treble clef in the ending. Hence, you will need to swing your left arm over the right arm to play a bar or two. You’ll look really cool doing this!

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