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💽 Butter Composition
The sound is weighty. Have is as a mental conception of what the piece wants to express. Pianistically, there are no technical difficulties in the virtuosic sense.
Tempo is 110 beats per minute.
The key is A Flat Major that conveys a sense of “putrefaction”. The melody is colored by moving between minor and major chords: the progression combines Ab Bbm Cm Db Eb Fm. It makes the sound of ‘Butter’ close to a sound of several songs. You can mix choruses with verses from different songs to develop improvisation skills.
🖨 Play Butter Sheet Music on Piano
- To achieve independence between the hands, practice them separately.
- Relax, stretch, and warm-up hand and foot muscles every time you play.
- Arch the palms: touch the keys with fingertips not with whole finger pulps (cut your nails short).
- Keep a good posture. Hang a mirror near so you can see yourself.
- Focus on differences in touch and attack: dynamics (loud vs. quiet) and articulation (legato vs. staccato). (But playing too much forte will tire and hurt fingers.)
- Practice no more than three repetitions in a row because you lose focus.
Start learning the score with the right hand. Play slowly to avoid mistakes, and loose and relaxed with minimal physical effort. The initial work takes time and requires boring repetitions until the basics are in place.
Learn ‘Butter’ in parts; the parts are separated by a double bar line (‖). Work on the hardest parts first without caring about technical difficulties. In the beginning you might focus on just one or two parts in a single practice session.
Take dynamicsseriously: the sound should be very atmospheric. Usually, the second verse and chorus are louder than the firsts. Manually put down all these piano/forte (𝓟 🙵 𝓕) and crescendo/diminuendo (< 🙵>) markings with a highlighter:
- In the Intro softly pluck each note with the tip of the fingers. There is no crescendo (rise in loudness).
- The Verses are bright in sound and played softly but grow with ever-increasing intensity.
- In the post-verse/pre-chorus there is a build-up, a step-by-step crescendo, emphasised by the motif repetition.
- Make sure that the Choruses are the center of your playing: use Forte.
- The Bridge turns to moderate Forte.
- In the Outro give a sense of an ending to the dynamics.
The key point in playing a melody line is to understand the phrasings.
Sing a melody phrase emphasizing the strong beats and then repeat your intonations on the piano keyboard. Do you feel the difference?
Mark phrases with a highlighter — stop where BTS stopped. Although ‘Butter’s’ phrasing is short, the phrases don’t obey the barlines.
Try out different fingering in complicated places to achieve the required for phrasing legato.
- Play the first bar of any phrase louder than the last bar.
- Peak near the highest-pitched note of a phrase.
- Wherever you see a slur (♩⁀♪), play the second slurred note very quietly.
The left hand is always softer than the right hand and tolerates no fluctuation in the tempo. Its feature is to keep the beat, rather than carry the musical line.
Keep the upper notes (played by the thumb) lighter and the lower notes (played by the pinky) louder. Make sure that the thumb uses the least weight.
Don’t ignore the chord symbols, they are not for guitar or jazz players only. It is easier to remember that in the left hand is “a chord Am” than to memorize three-four notes from the sheet music. To learn the progression sing it as a melody! It will stay in your head.
- Rotate the wrist towards the weaker 5th finger: the lower note should have greater emphasis.
- Get your hand in position for each chord before playing it. To move the arm faster, put fingers close to the black keys.
Micro-injuries and fatigue are caused by banging on the keys, twisting, or overstretching of the palm:
- If a chord is too big for the left hand, leave out notes / transfer the top notes to your right hand.
- Arpeggiate or break the chord in an upward pattern. Rather than playing notes at the same time, you can play them in a sequence, one after the other.
👍🏽 Use the thumb to reach down for single bass notes in order to move smoothly across the keyboard.
- Start slow. Play all notes within a bar together simultaneously first — you will understand the comfortable fingering.
- In octave-long passages, keep the fingers fixed but rotate the wrist, elbow, and forearm.
- Add accents on strong beats 1 and 3.
- Feel free to be percussive and showing off.
🤲 Both Hands
- Start practicing the both hands slowly.
- Use a metronome app. Modern music demands astute rhytmic precision and adherence to a strict pulse.
- Play ‘Butter’ with an obvious emphasis on the right hand while playing the accompaniment gently.
- Color the hands differently: the left hand doesn’t follow the right hand in dynamics and articulation. The melody is more of staccato and the accompaniment plays legato, aren’t they?
- There are two competing ideas on hands timing: the first idea is to press the right and left hands simultaneously, the other is to press the right hand a millisecond prior to the left hand (asynchronisation).
For centuries the first idea was dominant, but now both classical and pop/rock/electronic performers let the melody lead.
- Practising is essentially a threefold process: pre-playing notes in your head, playing them physically, then reviewing them mentally. Have a clear idea of the sound you want to produce, be attentive to your physical sensations and take time to review everything you have done. Play with the eyes closed. Imagine that you are performing in front of people.
Pedal as little as possible to push melody forward.
- Practice without the pedal until the basic of ‘Butter’ is mastered.
- Pedal twice per measure or more and with short dabs of the pedal at the end of right-hand phrases. Delay pedal pressing to weaken the resonance.
- Don’t be afraid of silence between notes: separated by a millisecond notes are the basis of the famous airy “Jeu Perlé” (Pearl Technique) — there is no way to achieve it with bar-long pedaling.
- Remove the pedal wherever you see a rest symbol.
Lift the left hand from the keyboard whenever the pedal is depressed — it minimizes muscle fatigue.
🧠 How to Memorize Sheet Music
The more songs you learn — the easier for you to learn them. Sight-read a new song everyday (I post every other day!) to develop memory.
- Understand the musical structure of ‘Butter’ from bird’s-eye perspective: where song parts start and end, which chord progression is used etc.
- Read the score in bed in the evening, analyze how do repetitions differ.
- Memorise as you practice: from the very beginning read one-two bars and play them from memory. Avoid looking at a paper sheet (or a monitor) as long as you can when rehearsing the music piece.
- Sing the melody, la-la-la or ta-ta-ta, or simply hum out loud when playing.