I am very excited today, because we’re going to work on a snippet of that piece you’ve always wanted to learn on piano – how to play Fur Elise! Now, this isn’t the full version, as it’s quite difficult (at a Grade 7 level, in fact), but the first page is doable for a relative beginner, so why wait? Definitely check out the full version below, though, if you’ve never heard past the famous first two minutes of the piece!
Full performance of Fur Elise
Sheet music for Fur Elise (short version)
Music for the full version (advanced)
And here are some other related videos if you’d like to delve deeper into Beethoven/Fur Elise/etc!
The Life and Times of Beethoven – A brief, fast-paced biography
How to tell Major and Minor Keys Apart – Mandatory theory!
Introduction to the Damper Pedal – just some pedalling basics.
How to play Fur Elise – Backstory
“Fur Elise” is German for “For Elise”, and was written by Ludwig van Beethoven. It wasn’t even published until 1867, 40 years after Beethoven’s death, so it obviously wasn’t super popular in his day. It’s also worth noting that the part that we’re all familiar with is only the first page of the piece, and there’s actually quite a bit more to it, and it gets quite difficult. But today we’ll just look at that first part, which is doable for. relative beginner.
Definitely listen to a full version of the piece though, because the parts most people aren’t familiar with are awesome.
A note on the arrangement
The sheet music above is my arrangement of it – all the notes are true to the original, and the rhythm is the same – the only difference is this version uses 8th notes instead of 16th notes (which we haven’t learned yet), and I switched the time signature to ¾ to accommodate that.
Details on how to play Fur Elise
Key Signature: The key signature has no sharps or flats, which either means C major, or it’s evil twin, A minor. Check out the video on how to tell major and minor keys apart if you’re unsure.
Since the first left hand notes begin outlining an A minor chord (followed by the right hand doing the same), we can safely assume this piece is in the key of A minor.
Poco moto – poco means ‘a little’, and moto means ‘motion’, so ‘a little motion’ or movement. You don’t want to play this with a rock-solid tempo – it should be a little fluid, and have a little movement.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to play Fur Elise by Beethoven – definitely check out today’s video for even more details on how to play it, as well as to hear it performed.