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The World Piano Bible

While working in a piano factory in Leipzig, East Germany, Jens Witter started cataloging pianos, inadvertently beginning what would eventually become his doctoral dissertation. The data archive grew and comprised 10 000 index cards and eventually became a massive Bible of Pianos containing some 40 000 names. Read more >>

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Author Topic: A Different View of Fur Elise...  (Read 1798 times)
ThePhoenixEffect
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« on: June 04, 2004, 04:07:06 AM »

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.)
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piano sheet music of Für Elise
DarkWind
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2004, 05:30:01 AM »

My question is, how did Fur Elise become popular in the first place, like if everyone knows about it? Hungarian Rhapsody 2, for example, was on that cartoon, both Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny. But Fur Elise? Can't recall of a show...
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ThePhoenixEffect
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2004, 05:54:18 AM »

Thats something I would like to know too. I don't see anything in movies, tv shows, or anything that has it. It's not the best work in the world either...but I guess it has some kind of charm to the primarilly non classical ear? (well at least the first few notes...)
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Saturn
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2004, 06:34:37 AM »

I have to admit that pieces like Fur Elise, though common, probably were part of the reason I started the piano too.  You see someone playing the piece, and want to learn to do that too.  That's how it usually starts.

Fur Elise has such mass appeal for a few reasons:
1) It's easy.  The satisfaction you get from learning this piece is pretty high for the little amount of work required.
2) It's commonly played.  There's something about seeing something played by your friends (as opposed to hearing it on a recording) that makes you want to learn it.  Kind of like how the first time you see a magic trick, you want to how it works.
3) It has a good, catchy, and memorable tune.

The third reason is a tough one to understand.

What makes some tunes more memorable than others?
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willcowskitz
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2004, 03:24:02 AM »

I've heard that Für Elise was intended as a parody of classical music. After I heard that, its started to sound like one. Maybe I was manipulated or the "joke" really opened up for me. Was it a parody or not, its still a work of art as a composition.

There are a lot of people who would want to know what makes a tune memorable, here's the lowest bunch of them: www.hitsongscience.com

The "Technology" page tries to explain the analyzing methods. Of course, they wouldn't want to reveal just everything, would they.

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Clare
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2004, 09:00:42 AM »

Hm. I'll have to go visit that site. It sounds interesting.

Anyway, my little sister has just begun learning it, so I heard it being played very badly this week a lot.

I'd somehow avoided playing it all these years and had a go this afternoon, and it was fun even though I was butchering it too.

I don't know. There's something cool about playing an icon. It's like the Mona Lisa or your first kiss. It's something pretty much everyone has in common.
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