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“Nuvole Bianche” is an EPIC piano composition by Ludovico Einaudi. It’s emotional, beautiful and the piece builds as it progresses.

Today we’re going to look at the first main theme of the piece. I decided to focus on this theme because it’s arguably the most recognizable part of the song, and it’s a bit more accessible to piano players of different skill levels.

Not everyone will be able to play all of this

And that’s ok. It’s not a beginner piece of music. But I would encourage you to play what you can. That may only be the opening chords. But try it, get inspired and then practice so you can learn the rest 🙂

At its heart, it’s actually a very simple piece of music, using only 4 chords. And if you’ve been following along with our lessons for a while, you’ll recognize the order.

The chord progression

This piece might “sound” like a classical composition, but when you look at the structure and chords it’s actually much closer to a pop-progression. That’s because it uses 4 chords, and those chords are the very well-known 1-5-4-6 chords, but in a 6-4-1-5 order.

Let’s take a look:

One thing to notice here is how the notes of the chords are spread between the left and right hands. But the notes are all the normal ones you would expect to see.

There is also a slash chord to deal with. That G/D just means you play a G chord with a D note as the bottom note. It works really nicely leading into that D sus chord, where you substitute the 3rd note of the chord (F#) for the 4th (G) before resolving back to a D major.

These chords are the backbone of the entire song. They repeat over and over (and over), so it’s really important that you get VERY comfortable with them. Practice this intro until you know if like the back of your hand.

Then you’re ready to move on. And the first thing you might think is…

What the heck is 12/8 time??!!

I’m going to tell you right now – DON’T FOCUS ON THE TIME SIGNATURE!

12/8 means there are 12-eighth notes per measure. But that’s just confusing, and honestly, I don’t recommend trying to count this song out. I find it’s much easier to LISTEN to it and get a feeling of how the melody and rhythm goes in your head. It will make life a lot easier, and you’ll have enough to think about without counting to 12 over and over again.

Not that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at first melody line:

This looks really busy, but when we break it down you’ll see it’s quite simple (but that doesn’t mean it’s easy!).

The left hand is playing octaves with a fifth added. And that’s it for now. The right hand is a bit more complicated with the rhythm, but the notes themselves are quite simple.

The second melody line is similar — BUT there are some minor differences to watch out for in the second and third measures:

All of this brings me to my biggest tip for this entire piece.

Take it slow!

Your life will be SO much better if you slow it down and focus on playing each note correctly. Once you can do that, then you can work on building your speed.

That means breaking down that right-hand melody and playing it by itself. Start slow, then build the tempo. THEN add the left and start slow again. It might sound frustrating and time-consuming but honestly, it’s the best piece of advice I could ever give for learning a new piece.

The good news is that the right-hand melody continues to repeat for the rest of the theme. So once you have it, you have it.

The bad news?

The left-hand gets a little crazy!

Take a look if you don’t believe me:

That’s a lot of notes.

But again, let’s take it slow and break it down. When you look closely you’ll see that the notes are EXACTLY the same as the notes you’ve already been playing. But instead of playing them all together at once, you are now going to break them out and play each one separately.

It uses a rocking pattern that is very common in classical music. Again, start slow and practice it hand separately until it feels comfortable. Then you can add your right hand, but remember to take it slow and gradually build your speed.

And that’s it for the theme. If you’d like a complete tutorial for the rest of the piece comment to let me know!

But there’s one more thing I wanted to talk about…

Writing your own Einaudi piece

What I love about this piece is that the underlying structure is simple and very common. This piece doesn’t use any crazy chords and the progression simply repeats.

I love using pieces like this for inspiration, and as a starting point for my own improvisations. For example, I might use these chords as my ingredients. Then I’ll make adjustments to the tempo, maybe the order of the chords and the melodies.

And I would absolutely encourage you to do the same. If you do, I’d LOVE to hear what you come up with 🙂

Good luck, and happy practicing!


Lisa Witt

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 18 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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