The secret to this song’s enduring appeal may lie in how it brings together popular and classical styles. The main theme of Fur Elise (aka Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14) is much like a standard nursery rhyme.
The playful simplicity of its melody belies its status as one of classical music’s most challenging technical feats.
What Grade is Fur Elise?
Fur Elise is a relatively easy and popular piano piece, not as hard as complex pieces of music like Claire de lune. It has been transcribed and arranged for most instruments and is often used as a beginner song by people learning to play the piano.
Many students who understand this song often sing it, too, as there are numerous lyrics written for this melody.
The difficulty of Fur Elise depends on which version you’re playing or singing. The original version composed by Beethoven was only eight bars long – that’s just one page.
It wasn’t until 1867, when Ludwig Nohl discovered this composition, that it became more widely known as we know it today. Nohl published his 32-bar arrangement and named it “Elise.”
This significantly impacted how the world perceived the song. Elise became a woman’s name, and people heard love themes in the piece.
A tricky aspect of playing Fur Elise is that it is written with no bar lines. This can be unclear, especially for beginners who are just learning to read music and count beats and bars.
It takes time to develop this skill, but Fur Elise will feel like a more accessible piece to play after you get it down because your brain won’t have to work as hard when counting.
One last factor in Fur Elise’s difficulty is tempo – how fast or slow you choose to play the song.
Fur Elise has been played at many different speeds, from Beethoven’s original rendition, which was double the speed of today’s arrangements, to much slower, romantic versions, which can easily double the length of Fur Elise. The choice is yours.
Fur Elise is an easy and fun piece to learn It’s such a popular song that there are countless ways to arrange it and play it.
You’ll never get bored with learning your favorite melody. Keep practicing, and maybe one day you’ll be able to perform this well-known song for friends and family.
Am I Ready To Play ‘fur Elise’?
If you want to know if you’re ready to play ‘Fur Elise,’ then take a look at the score and see how many mistakes there are in it. You can find a free score of ‘Fur Elise’ on Musopen.org here.
Knowing if you are ready really depends on where you want to play. It is much easier to learn something to play in your home than to learn pieces to play at a restaurant.
Above is Rousseau playing Fur Elise on his piano.
Playing an easy piece won’t make your fingers strong. But practicing difficult pieces will make them stronger.
Your goal should be to “play as perfectly as possible.” So instead of focusing on whether or not you can play a particular piece, focus on playing each note as perfectly as possible.
After some time practicing this way, you will notice that ‘difficult’ pieces gradually become more accessible and eventually only look difficult but become easy to play.
The most important thing in piano playing is: “listening.” If you properly listen and fix your mistakes over and over again, day after day, month after month, piece after piece, then eventually, the hard pieces will be easy for you.
Also, if you practice slowly but perfectly (and with feeling), then all of them will gradually become easier to play. So believe in yourself and don’t give up.
What Is The Hard Part of Für Elise?
The most challenging part of the song “Für Elise” is not one section in particular but rather the transition between sections.
The main difficulty lies in how it feels to switch from playing legato (the smooth, connected way of playing where each finger slides along multiple keys) to staccato (where there are five separate notes per finger) and back again.
Learning that you do not always need to use your wrist when moving fingers on the keyboard can be challenging. This is why this song has been known to give new students headaches.
When playing “Fur Elise,” some people may also have trouble with hitting some notes lightly while others are meant to be played forte (meaning very loud). Sometimes even experienced musicians will have difficulty with this part of the song.
Is Für Elise supposed to be played fast or slow?
The piece is without tempo indication, but in most sheet music editions is marked as “Andante.” I think this means that it can be played at any speed you like.
However, when Ludwig van Beethoven composed the melody, he intended it to be played in the key of D-flat major (there are no sharps or flats in the key signature).
If you play it faster, some notes will probably sound wrong when they shouldn’t. So please keep an eye out for this if you want to play it well. A good player knows precisely what note fits best in each place of a song.
If you want to play the piece more quickly than Andante, you should increase the tempo a bit. You can also make a metronome and play a fixed number of beats per measure instead of estimating the speed manually.
If you want to play it more slowly than Andante, this is fine too, as long as it sounds right for your instrument’s range.
If you have an extremely high or low voice, then maybe Elise would sound better played faster again. Most people will be able to sing along with either version at whatever tempo they like best.
You could also look up the “Original Version” from 1840 on YouTube and compare that with Beethoven’s own 1830 version, where he changed some notes after getting advice from his friend Carl Czerny.
This is still playable on most instruments, but you might want to use a piano if your instrument is very high or low pitched.
The earliest version of Für Elise that I have seen was published in 1867 by Henri Herz and had very different notes from Beethoven’s composition.
It would only be playable on flute or violin since it’s written for the left hand and looks exceptionally awkward to play on other instruments.
This version has no Czerny involved and probably did not include any advice from anyone else. This is either because that was very rare back then (at least for unknown compositions). There was nobody who could play such an unusual piece anyway.
You should avoid these later versions unless you’re playing in a period-instrument ensemble and playing on an instrument that matches what they would have used back in the 1800s.
There has been a lot of debate about what grade is “fur elise” gifted. Some argue it’s upper-intermediate, while others swear it’s advanced. This is because of how fast the runs are and other aspects such as the key signature, use of accidentals, and dynamics.
Fur Elise does make use of some more advanced techniques, but there are beginner songs that also make use of those same techniques. Fur Elise is most likely an upper-beginner piece or just beginning intermediate.