In Volume 1 of the First Piano Book students were introduced to the different note values from whole notes to eighth notes. These pieces were playable using just two fingers and the notes were either joined using the sustain pedal or played staccato. In Volume 2, students practice playing with "finger legato", that is, joining notes using their fingers instead of the pedal. In Parts I to III, the student plays in what is called "five finger position" (five notes in close position where each finger plays on just one key). In Part IV the student breaks free of the five note limitation and begins to play more open melodies. Throughout this volume each hand is given equal attention. Where one piece features a five finger melody in the right hand, the next piece will feature a five finger melody in the left. In this way I hope to help the student develop equal facility and dexterity in both hands.
Part I: Five Finger Melodies I
The sixteen pieces in Part I consist of a five note melody in one hand and a single repeated note in the other. The student, having worked through Volume 1, will be sufficiently familiar with the different note values that they should now be able to manage some more complex and interesting rhythms. Allowing the hands two remain in one place on the keyboard means students won't need to constantly move their eyes back and forth between the sheet music and the keyboard. This frees up mental resources to focus on things like timing, articulation, expression, and so on…
Part II: Five Finger Melodies II
Part II continues the same pattern from Part I. The difference here is that the hand not playing the melody plays a two note chord (or in the case of No.16, a three note chord) instead of a single repeated note. Part II also introduces the sixteenth note (or semiquaver). As a result, these pieces are a little swifter than those in Part I which will allow the student to develop their agility at the piano a little further.
Part III: Parallel Melodies
In Parts I & II of Volume 2, the student played the melody with either the left or the right hand. In Part III, both hands play the melody simultaneously. Like in Parts I & II, the melodies here are five finger melodies. The left and right hands play the melody in parallel, that is, both hands play the same rhythm and melodic contour but start on a different note. The two melodies are separated by a 6th, or a 10th, and in some cases even be played in different keys. These pieces will help the student to develop the precision of their timing, since both hand must play precisely together, and the expressiveness of their playing.
Part IV: Simple Melodies
In Part IV the student finally breaks out of the five finger position and begins to play freely moving melodies. For the first time in this series, students will play with precise fingerings, changing the position of their hands on the keyboard by crossing the thumb under the hand or the hand over the thumb. To ease the student into this kind of open and free piano playing, only one hand is given the melody. The other hand remains in a static position, either alternating between two notes, or playing a two note chord. Just like in Parts I & II, eight of the sixteen pieces here feature the melody in the right hand and eight feature the melody in the left hand.