Toccata in Dm
by J.S. Bach
Toccata in Dm by Bach is exciting and dramatic! Let your beginning students have the fun of playing the opening theme notes of this famous Bach music.
Almost everyone recognizes the arresting 3-note motif, "A - G - A!" and most kids will want to play this theme. This is one of those important melodies that never lose their "coolness".
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This arrangement is just the very beginning of the Toccata, the first part of page one of a four-page keyboard piece.
The timing in my beginning version is ONLY APPROXIMATE, meant to assist players in giving a feeling of drama to these phrases.
But it's changing octaves!
Yes... it's a bit tricky. I suggest grabbing a Note-reader guide here, and labeling each of the notes! Help your student identify patterns, such as the "A-G-A"! recurring motif, jumping octaves.
Use red & green to tell the hands apart
A tip: as the notes are so close together, and there is much back-and-forth, I have found it very helpful to draw RED loops around the RIGHT hand notes, and LIME loops (green, in other words) around the LEFT hand notes.
What about the pedal?
I leave it to your discretion to advise your students about pedaling - but I love lots of pedal, especially in the last line, with the C# diminished seventh chord.
Then I suggest a very careful pedal change in the final two measures during the D suspension - have your students practice holding down the left hand D and right hand A, while the pedal goes Up-Down for the change from E to F#.
Play with the sound of the chords
Ask if they can hear the "creepiness" of the broken chord in the last line, and the mystery inherent in the tension-and-release of the D suspension resolving.
Just the motif itself
Okay, the arrangement below is almost as simple as it gets. But wait -- you're going to make it even simpler, if you take my advice! I suggest you make it easier for your students, by teaching this little melody by rote!
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
Try this: Instead of giving your student this music, show them the motif on the piano:
"Duh-duh-dum!! Down-down-down-down-DOWN, turn around!" That is my vocalization of the theme and the direction of the fingers.
Use letters on their lesson sheet
Then, just write on his or her lesson sheet, A-G-A! G-F E-D-C# D.
Show it split between the hands. This way, even non-readers can have fun with this piece.
Let them work on that the first week, over & over. Before you send them home, have them play it in descending octaves all the way down the piano. It will be quite a feat just for them to find their spot on the piano keys reliably, over and over.
Easiest sheet music yet
If you would like either of these arrangements with ALPHANOTES to help in the reading (letters inside some or all of the note heads), visit my Note-Naming Worksheet page.
The links to the piano music:
Download Toccata in Dm beginning theme for piano
Download simplest Bach music Toccata in Dm
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Piano keyboard sheets, scales, chords, note-reading exercises, and over 256 pages of music!
Queen Esther in the Bible
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A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!
This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.
Just the Black Keys
This book is available as a digital download from this site. Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.
It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!
This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.
And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!" They will be spending more time at the piano.
The Adventures of Tonsta
A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls.
The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.
With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.
Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!
Available at Amazon
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Your hard work helped me in my college Introduction To Music class.
As a 50++ student, I struggle remembering all the chords, triads, inversions, etc... Without this amazing wealth of info, I would fail. What a blessing!
Thanks so much for your amazing website. :0 Can't wait to share with my students. I bought the more difficult arrangement of "The Moldau". Seems like a great recital piece for some lucky student!!
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About the Author
Hi, I'm Dana! (Say that like "Anna".) I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.
Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.
You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.