Beethoven’s “Für Elise” (or Bagatelle in A minor WoO 59) is certainly one of the most well-known piano pieces of all time. The graceful, meandering simplicity of this slightly melancholy music makes it a favorite with the public. The piece was composed in Beethoven’s middle period, around 1810. However, it was not published until 1865, several decades after the composer’s death, by the Beethoven scholar Ludwig Nohl.
The title, meaning “To Elise”, has puzzled Beethoven researchers. There is no record of any woman named Elise in Beethoven’s life, and the fact that the original autograph manuscript is missing has fueled speculation. One of the most established theories, suggested by Max Unger, is that Nohl misread the dedication, and that Beethoven intended to name the piece “Für Therese”. Around 1810, Beethoven was in love with a woman called Therese Malfatti, and even proposed to her, but was rejected. The other main theory is that Elise might have been a nickname for the opera singer Elisabeth Röckel, Beethoven’s close friend, who later married the composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel.
Because of its great popularity, Für Elise is perhaps played and taught more than any other piano piece. For many piano beginners, its an important goal to be able to play at least the first section. And the first 22 measures are certainly playable even for someone with quite limited skills. To be able to perform the complete work, one should have acquired a more solid technique.
Since the only dynamic indication of the score is pp (measures 1 and 77), it’s suitable to use a rather subdued and soft touch more or less throughout, although one is of course free to add slight crescendos and diminuendos, perhaps even approach a forte in the dramatic episode at measures 60-76 (before the return to pianissimo).
Strive to keep a consistent speed through the various sections. Make sure not to play the characteristic E-D#-E-D#-E figures mechanically; instead, shape them with great care, always adhering to the graceful flow of the 3/8 time... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.
Fur Elise January 18, 2004, 07:16:40 AM by steveolongfingers
Beethoven wrote this piece in one day......didnt bother to give it an opus number......how did it become one of the most widely reconized piece of all time? Its not beethovens best or hardest (of course lol) but WHY?!?!?! Its driviing me crazy!!!!!!
This piece has been abused in so many ways. From the annoying first few notes that we hear in band rooms, general music classes, gathering of people who know nothing about "piano" near a piano, to the corruption of it by the likes of people like Richard Clayderman.
Yet I think it is also abused by the attitude of most true "classical pianists" because of how the piece has been corrupted to become a "pop classic" or should I say "classical pop?". It's not even Beethoven's best work in the first place. We rarely hear anything past the first nine or so notes and even more rarely the two "difficult" parts that I bet most people don't know exist.
However, this piece has a special place in my heart because ever since hearing it...it has been my inspiration for learning to play at least in the beginning when I first though it must be one of the most difficult things to learn. LOL. It isn't my favorite now of course, but if this piece hasn't been overplayed, I probably would not have heard anything that would want me to play anything classical...heck the piano at all!
There must be some magic in this piece because it does get people to listen and open up to classical music a little bit. Why is this piece overplayed in the first place? I do think there would be a few less classical pianists on this planet if this piece didn't get as much attention as it does because you don't hear classical music that often imo compared to the other genres. I'm sure i'm not the only one who has been inspired by this piece in the beginning. (For me it was when I was like 6 or 7, but I didn't start lessons even though I wanted too until I was like 11.)
I just got a digital keyboard from RadioShack a few days ago. it has a some classical midis in it, and ive been learning fur elise and im up to the middle part when it gets difficult. my intention was to learn the basics then start on a difficult piece such as rach 3 or what not. Im guessing that by my current progress, i should have fur elise memorized in a month. Its very hard for me to play up to speed. Well i was browsing a piano message board and someone said that hungarian dances no 5 was simple ! Thats also on my keyboard and it sounds a lot more difficult that fur elise. So i guess my question is somewhere along the lines of is learning fur elsie(the version i have is only a bit over a minute) a good stepping stone to harder pieces? and do you think im making ok progress?
Hey ive ha a passion for playing the piano since i was young but never got around to getting one. While my passion still burning i finally got one and learned most of Fur Elise with my right hand id say about 90% with no errors but minimal slow down. It was my first day playing it and i think i did well. I cant seem to get down the left hand on this piece. Any responce would be appretiated. I also cant read music so if anyone has a site or soemthign to help me get acquainted with it please help me out here. P.s. If any criticism please make it constructive
I am reading Chang and decided to start Fur Elise in an attempt to better understand his references. My teacher is out of town (now I'd love to have daily lessons since I'm quite confused!!). I have (finally) figured out what Chang means by interruptions ( ) (hey, the numbering didn't seem to add up at first!!), but am a bit clueless with what to do with them. I have also been listening to a recording of it (would love recommendations for a better one). I am using the www.mfiles.co.uk printout.
So, on measure 54 (32 on printout - which excludes repeats) I have been working on that set of 32nd notes by playing the lower notes simultaneous with the G - attempting to simulate fast play (with a loose wrist). Then I've been separating them by pretending the lower notes are almost like grace notes to the G's. Is this correct?
Also, Chang mentions using both the 1st and the 2nd finger as the optimum way to play this series. Could anyone elaborate on that? I have been using the thumb until D then switching to the second finger and going thumb under to onto G (haven't gotten to thumb over yet) and then getting all confused (fetching ).
How the heck do you guys include the sheet music image? I have been trying to just include my snippet, but no go! I will post url between image markers thinking perhaps.....but I'll sign off first not knowing what's coming up.
I. General Question: Suppose you have two or more chords slurred together. What are some different ways to get the slurred effect? The only two I know are:
1. Run the notes into each other by playing very fast or using complementary sets of fingers (to get a time overlap of the notes like you do when you slur a set of individual notes but doing it with chords...not even sure if it's possible or if anyone understands what the heck I'm talking about ).
2. Use the pedal.
But, what happens when some chords are slurred and there are pedal markings in other spots BUT NONE HERE, and it's too slow and/or tricky to do the first method?
Is there some secret you pianists have that no one has shared with me yet?? ??
(OK, and, if you wanted to apply this to Fur Elise you could look at m66-69, http://www.mfiles.co.uk/Scores/Fur-Elise.pdf). (Oh, and actually it happens with individual notes too in m. 14, LH plays 3 octaves of E slurred together...but no pedal marking ALTHOUGH THERE IS ONE RIGHT NEXT DOOR IN THE MEASURE BEFORE! Should I be holding this score over a hot lightbulb?? ??)
II. How do you know what to accent or stress? Can you never take a "breath" during a slur? Are slurs put in by the classical composers, or some guy who may or may not know what they are doing (and what else might he be sneaking in unbeknownst to Beethoven)? Do a set of triplets sound tripletty (I think I mean defined by a slight accent/heaviness at the start of each)? Do they sound tripletty even when they're slurred? (Fur E m m77-83)
Whoa , sorry, those just all piled out at once. Guess I lost my outline form . But I really don't get the accenty stuff.
(I did try searching the site for some keywords, but didn't really find anything too enlightening.)
So, thank you, tack så mycket, spaceebo (pretend those are Cyrillic letters), muchas gracias, go raibh maith agaibh, but, most especially, in the words of Wayne Newton, danke schön !
Fondly, Karen [Edited to remove accidental frownies caused by too much inquisitiveness (3 "?"'s = ]
I know some others of you are working on Fur Elise as I am. My teacher kindly consented to letting me videotape her playing it.
I am going to *attempt* to post Windows Media File link here of her playing...just a short snippet. Let me know if anyone thinks it helpful and I will see about getting the rest of it. For some reason when I view it on my computer it is much darker than in my camcorder...not sure if that is computer monitor or data change.
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