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Author Topic: Another "Fur Elise" question...  (Read 5291 times)
stormx
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« on: March 05, 2005, 01:07:52 PM »

Hi !!

i am working on "Fur Elise" (am i original?  Wink ), just the "easy" section (not easy for me, by the way  Embarrassed ).

My question is regarding bars 21-22-23. There are lots of E, on differents octaves...
When RH plays, LH does not play, and viceversa (well, except the first two notes on bar 21).

So, why is it better to make those HANDS CHANGES (i am assuming that all what is written on the inferior cleff is played by LH)?

To me, it seems possible to play all this section with just your RH...

But i beleive it is written this way for some reason...

Thanks in advance,

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piano sheet music of Für Elise
00range
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2005, 01:56:07 PM »

I can't answer your question from a logical, theory sense, but doesn't it look mighty impressive  (to someone who hasn't been around the block a few times) to watch those hands weaving in and out of eachother?

Sorry I couldn't help, I'm sure someone here is able to answer your question much better than I, good luck.
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xvimbi
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2005, 02:03:07 PM »

The third "set of E's" is an octave higher, so in order to play that section smoothly, you'd play the first set with your right hand and the second set (which is identical to the first set) with the left hand while the right hand moves up to the third set and the back down again. This will be much more fluid than playing everything with the right hand, and as OOrange says, it will also look better.

I wonder though, whether I have the original version of Fuer Elise. I'm not sure, I'ver never played it.
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bernhard
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2005, 04:59:07 PM »

Do it like this:



Reasons:

1.   As Oorange and xvimbi said it looks impressive to the kind of people who want to hear Fur Elise. Wink

2.   Beethoven wrote it for Therese Malfati, daughter of his Doctor. She was 16, he was in his late 30s, and as he often did with his pretty students,  he fell head over heels in love with her, and for some reason thought he was corresponded. As it was she had no idea and in fact married someone else. Beethoven composed it so that she could play it and still impress people (she was a mediocre player). When Beethoven learned of her impending marriage, he added the second section so that she would not be able to play it (he he Grin). Anyway, this brings us back to 1.

{incidentally this also happened to Giulietta Giucciardi to whom he dedicated the Moonlight. While he thought she was in love with him, he wrote the first movement. When he heard she was to marry someone else, he added the 3rd movement. Grin]

3.   It is actually easier to play it switching hands – and it looks more difficult, so you are killing tow rabbits with one shot.

4.   It sounds better switching hands than with one single hand.

5.   It is a very good exercise for the “equality” of sound produced by alternating hands – later on there will be pieces where this will be necessary, since in those pieces you will not be able to negotiate the passages with a single hand.

6.   When only one hand plays, the body is very unbalanced. And why should one hand have all the work while the other sits idly by?

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
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stormx
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2005, 07:15:44 PM »

Thanks you all for your quick and useful answers !!  Smiley

Bernhard:

in my score (the one that came with my CASIO digital piano, by the way), the notes are distributed a little different in this passage compared with the image you pasted, but of course they are the same !!

This lead me to another question, in a more general context:
I was under the impression that what is written in the INFERIOR staff should be played with LH, while the RH should play what is written in the SUPERIOR staff.

Apparently, this is not allways true, according to the sheet you pasted indicating the playing hand...
If i look at MY score of this passage, and assign LH to inferior staff and RH to superir staff, the result is the same switch of hands you suggested, except for the last (D-E) with LH you suggested (that is written in the superior staff in my sheet).

Thanks again,
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bernhard
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2005, 10:08:14 PM »

A score usually does not supply you with information about which hand played which note (there are exceptions when the composer actually does specify it).

In regards to piano music, all a score tells you is the keys that should be pressed and for how long. It is completely up to you with which hand you are going to press these notes and how you are going to move between one note and the next. Intuiting this information (amongst other chunks of missing information) is ultimately what interpretation is all about. If it was possible to give absolutely exact directions about every detail, the possibility of different interpretations would not exist anymore.

A score is a model of the music, and as every model it contains deletions, distortions and generalisations, which are up to the performer to put back, undistort and specify. The most important (and seemingly obvious, but frequently forgotten) fact in all this is that – as Count Korzybski famously uttered – “The map is not the territory”.

Having said that, it is far more comfortable and convenient to play the notes on the bass staff with the left hand and the notes on the treble staff with the right hand. If you do not you will have to play with hands crossed, which may be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Nevertheless, many pieces have been composed so that the performer must cross hands. The visual excitement generated by such a performance is many times enough to make one forget to listen to the music. Take the example below. It is the from Scarlatti’s sonata k27. The notes which I circled are to be played with the left hand, while the other notes are played with the right hand.



It is not impossible to play this passage without crossing the hands. However it is paradoxically far easier to cross the hands – that Scarlatti was very aware of the spectacular effect is evidenced by the fact that he went to the trouble to indicate which hand to use in the original score.

For certain pieces there is a body of tradition that tells one how to “interpret” (that is which movements to use and which sounds to aim at) even though there may be no explicit indication to that effect in the music. In other pieces such tradition is lost and it is up to the performer to decide how to play. In general, other things being equal, the main guiding principle should be comfort and ease of playing.

An interesting point is raised by Charles Rosen (an author and pianist I very much admire) in his book Piano notes:

It is important to realise that technical difficulty is often essentially expressive: the sense of difficulty increases the intensity. Composers will write in detail that sounds difficult but is actually easy to play in order to add sentiment..

Notice that Rosen is not saying that the performer should labour under incredible effort in order to intensify emotions, but that the passage sounds difficult even though – from the point of view of the performer it may be quite easy to play (and I would argue that no piece is ready to perform until it has become easy to play irrespective of how difficult it may sound or look on the page).

Crossing hands often falls into this category. To the public it looks amazingly difficult – but in general it would be amazingly difficult if not downright impossible to play the passage without crossing hands.

Have I digressed? I guess so. Roll Eyes

So the answer is no: the location on staves, the way the stems go up or down, none of this really tells you about hand position or movement. Most of it is directed at telling you about the music’s structure. For instance, stems up or down are usually indicative of the voice the note belongs to rather than which hand should play it. Of course, such information may be exactly what you need to decide which fingering/hand/movement to use.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
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Liween
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2005, 05:30:49 AM »

 Smiley Bernard, you are very detail in your explanation and I was always told that this Fur Elise is roughly at grade 4.  If I am only in 6 months of learning, is it appropriate for me to start getting this piece right now ?  I've tried the first 8 bars but my left hand does not co-ordinate well with my right hand.  Also the score which I have does not have much fingerings, so is that any piece avialable that have all the fingerings. 
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bernhard
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2005, 11:57:28 PM »

Smiley Bernard, you are very detail in your explanation and I was always told that this Fur Elise is roughly at grade 4.  If I am only in 6 months of learning, is it appropriate for me to start getting this piece right now ?  I've tried the first 8 bars but my left hand does not co-ordinate well with my right hand.  Also the score which I have does not have much fingerings, so is that any piece avialable that have all the fingerings. 


Yes, this is correct, Fur Elise is considered grade 4.

Is it appropriate to start it? Personally I would say no, simply because I hate Fur Elise. Angry Grin

Why do you want to play this sad stuff? Even Beethoven would not publish it during his lifetime! Roll Eyes

I am just joking. If you love this piece, by all means go for it Cheesy. It has two sections which are more difficult (and the reason why it is a grade 4 piece).

However the first section - the one you are having difficulty co-ordinating the hands - is really as easy as it comes. Anyone with proper tuition should be able to learn the first session quite quickly.

Unfortunately, without seeing you play and what exactly is the nature of your difficulty, it is very difficult to give advice. Hand co-ordination for total beginners is best mastered following the steps below:

1. master completely each hand separately.
2. Use "dropping notes" to acquire the co-ordination.
3. Use "repeated note-groups" to develop a system of cues between the hands that will tie their movements in a co-ordinated whole.

I have described these routines here:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1867.msg14268.html#msg14268
(Getting technique from pieces – several important tricks: hand memory, dropping notes, repeated note-groups).

However they assume that fingering and movements are correct (and I cannot check on this without seeing you play), so you must ask your teacher's help in that area.


I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
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stormx
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2005, 02:36:07 PM »

I will profit to make another question about Fur Elise... Roll Eyes

I am tackling the first difficult part  Shocked Shocked

Question: bars 47 and 48, LH. What fingering is best?
I ask specifically about:
Bar 47, Bb - Finger 2 or 3?
Bar 48, the chord F-G-Bb   -  Fingers 543 or 542?

Thanks !!  Smiley
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rhapsody in orange
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2005, 12:21:00 AM »

I guess fingering is more of a personal choice. Try experimenting with both fingerings and see which one you're more comfortable with and which one gives you a better tone. It doesn't matter what fingerings you use as long as the music sounds fine.
Personally I use 2 for the Bb in bar 47 and 542 for the F-G-Bb chord in bar 48.
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lagin
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2005, 02:33:46 AM »

Are you serious about composers adding harder sections because they were upset with the ones they were in love with? 
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stormx
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2005, 01:41:43 PM »

Hi!!

I will reuse this topic to ask 2 more questions about "Fur Elise", in order to not irritate the haters of this piece  Wink Wink

I am still struggling with the 2° interruption, but making good progress  Shocked

Here are my new questions:

1) I am playing it at MM=100 for the 1/8 note, and like it this way.
The score i own indicates MM=140, a tempo i find very fast. Besides being an impossible tempo for me at the moment, i think it ruins the piece.
So, at what tempo do you like "Fur Elise" to be played?
(please, do not answer NONE, just imagine you like it and think about its tempo) Wink Wink

2) I am reading some elementary music theory.
What Key is "Fur Elise"?
I you look at the score, you might say C Major, but it is full of accidentals...so, how does it fit into the standard theory?

Thanks in advance !!
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xvimbi
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2005, 03:55:10 PM »

You know, I just recently looked at Fuer Elise for the first time. I think it is a lovely piece, but I can see that (some) teachers hate it, because they have to teach it to every little kid, who then most likely proceeds to butcher the piece terribly Grin Anyway, it is also not as easy as most people would think it is. Anybody who says they can play Fuer Elise after only two months should be greeted with much suspicion. There are a lot of technical challenges in this piece that make it worthwhile for any early intermediate to learn, but clearly, the emphasis must be: to learn it right!

Now to your question about the tempo: whatever tempo you choose, you must be consistent throughout the piece. Take the fastest passage (the B section) and learn to play it well at the fastest tempo you can manage. Everything else must then be adapted to this tempo. For a beginner, it must be hard to play that passage anywhere near the tempo it is intended to be played in. If the tempo is too slow, the A section (and repeats of it) will be terribly slow. Remember, you can't play the first section faster than the rest. Well, in my opinion, you can, provided you are playing for your own or your friends' pleasure, but if you want to do a good job, or you are playing for judges, you must play correctly.

Regarding the key: Without giving away the answer, start to think about the following aspects: how does the piece sound to you (major or minor)? What are the most prominent chords in the piece and what role do they play in the candidate keys? What are the candidate keys in the first place? Finally, look at the notes in the last measure. The last measure often gives clues about the key a piece is in, because nice composers often resolve their pieces to the tonic Cheesy
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stormx
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2005, 04:19:18 PM »

Thanks Xvimvi !!

According to your guidance, i guess the key is A Minor (that i seem to remember is the only scale, besides C major, without "black keys" notes). Right?

Regarding the tempo, i beleive opinions may differ (i agree with you that, once a tempo is chosen, you have to be consistent trough the whole piece, of course).

I have 2 recorded versions:

The one i like the most, from Anatol Ugorski, last around 3:50...(really like his delicate and romantic touch).

The other one, from an unknown pianist (can you beleive it is on a cheap CD where the pianist is not mentionned?  Shocked Shocked), lasts around 2:50...(i do not like this rush over the piece).

1 minute difference, in a short piece like this, is a LOT !!!

I wonder what tempo had Beethoven in mind for this bagatelle, tough we would never know (seems that Beethoven did not intend to publish it). The score says POCO MOTO, i beleive...

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allthumbs
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2005, 08:26:33 PM »

Greetings

In the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) syllabus, Fur Elise was listed in the Grade 6 repertoire and recently has been elevated to the Grade 7 level (in a system of Grades 1 to 10 following an Introductory Level culminating in an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music Diploma (ARCT).

Cheers Smiley

PS - RCM is based in Toronto CANADA

http://www.rcmusic.ca/flash/Intro/playintro.html
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