Teach Yourself How to Play Fur Elise. Downloadable Sheet Music is Included. Part 3.
Welcome to the third part of a 3-Part series on How to Play Fur Elise. If you haven't already checked out How to Play Fur Elise: Part 1 then do this before you continue. Part 1 are lessons in ear training and will teach you about...
- Pedalling techniques
NOTE: Part 3 of How to Play Fur Elise would suit intermediate players who are comfortable at sight-reading 3/8 time signatures, practice around 3-4 days per week or are just up for a challenge. The teaching material in Part 3 comes directly from the text, audio and online videos of The Complete Classical Piano Course. Fur Elise music sheet is included. Enjoy!
How to Play Fur Elise: Part 1 focused on the A section of the music, the most popular part. Part 3 will concentrate on the B and C sections, the parts that most people find the hardest to play and avoid. After working through these final lessons you will have the confidence to play Fur Elise all the way through and enjoy one of the world's most famous piano music.
You will learn about :
- Playing Sixths
- Arpeggio Techniques
- Repeated Notes
- Page Turns
- Aural Training
- 3/8 Rhythm
- How to Work with the Metronome
Download the sheet music Für Elise, here.
To download: Mac right-click/download as video, for PC right-click / save audio as.
Let's get started.
POSITION AND MOVEMENT
This section on position and movement will go through each hand separately into particular areas of the music that most students find technically difficult to play.
Let's jump right in...
A. Broken Chord. If you've ever done an ABRSM exam, the scales and arpeggios in Grade 1 had broken chords in them. Just to remind though...
A chord is a group of three notes, in this instance C, E and G, shown below as a first inversion chord shape. A broken chord is simply...broken up.
B. Repeated Notes—Notice the scale run going from G to E into Bar 35 below the repeated G note, and that the E and G form the first two notes of another broken chord in Bar 35.
C. Scale Run
Bars 33 and 35 are also repeated, but observe the change of fingering over notes E and D.
NOTE: These videos from The Complete Classical Piano Course will show you how to play the notes correctly with good fingering and technique. Look for the way the hand is positioned and how the fingers move, checking your hand position to make sure that you are playing each part technically correct.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Für Elise Bars 30-37 R.H.'
A sixth is an interval. An interval is a distance between one note to another using any scale. For example, C to A in a C major scale is a sixth. There are two types of interval. Harmonic and melodic. Bars 68-69 are harmonic intervals.
To play with legato, i.e., to play smoothly, without using the sustain pedal, hold the top note of each sixth a little longer than the lower note. This will make the sixth sound smooth.
Pay close attention to each top finger played in the video below and how the lower notes are lifted off just before the next sixth is played.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Technique Programme B—Sixths'
If you never practice your scales, broken chords and arpeggios, then you're missing out on your technique, big time. Scales, broken chords and arpeggios are everywhere in music.
The brackets below are showing you that these are all A minor arpeggios, played over two octaves. The notes under this sign, mean that you should play these notes one octave higher.
Watch the video below to see how to play these arpeggios are played with the correct technique and how the thumb tucks under when moving to the second octave.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Technique Programme A—A Minor Arpeggios'
Bars 82–84 below, show a descending chromatic scale run. A chromatic scale is a scale that's played on every note, ascending and descending. To keep the triplet feel, give a slight accent to the first note in every triplet. This triplet is played within one quaver beat.
Watch the video below learn how to play a chromatic scale with good technique. Notice the position of the fingers when playing the black keys.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Technique Programme A—Exercise 5”
This part of Fur Elise can be tricky.
The two notes indicated by the arrows are the same note, i.e., the first E above Middle C. R.H. means to play with the right hand on that note only then go back to playing with the left hand. The second note E after the treble clef is played by the left hand. Make sure that when the thumb–finger 1 is played that it doesn't play too loudly.
If you're still not sure how to play it...just watch the video! Later on, there is a section on playing this part hands together.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Für Elise Bars 12-15 L.H.'
Repeated notes are used extensively in the left hand in the C section. In Bars 61–65 and Bars 69–76 play all the repeated notes with nice even tone, apart from a slight accent on the first beat of each bar, giving it a 3/8 feel.
Repeated notes are popular in classical music, so it's a good idea to learn the following technique.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Technique Programme B—Repeated Notes'
There are two ways to do a page turn...
1. Find an area of the music that shows a lot of rests before you have to turn the page. Whichever hand is not playing, use this hand to turn the page.
2. If there's no area to turn the page, you'll have to learn part of the music off by heart on the next page until a long rest appears, then use the free hand to turn the page.
For Fur Elise...
Turn up the bottom right-hand corner of the first page, where it's marked Page Turn.
For the first page turn, turn the page with your left hand after note A is played in bar 19 in the bass clef.
For the second page turn, although it is possible to turn the page with your left hand, it's better to use your right hand here. As the left-hand moves towards the low A, turn the page with your right hand. Don't forget to practise with the metronome.
Now let's work on playing both hands at the same time, what you practised earlier on in the left hand.
1. Play the first two notes with your left hand. Change to your right hand R.H. and play E above middle C with finger 1 twice, and then one octave higher.
2. Move your right hand out of the way and play the same last two E's again, but with your left hand.
3. Play the last E again with your right-hand finger 1, and then play another E one octave higher with finger 5.
4. With your left hand, play D♯ (second one above Middle C) with finger 2, then E with finger 1. Play the same notes with your right hand with fingers 2 and 3, then your left hand with finger 2 and 1, and then your right hand again with finger 4 and 5; then carry on as normal.
If you're still unsure, just watch the video below. Again, paying attention to how the notes are played using the correct technique.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Für Elise Bars 11-17 H.T.'
Ornaments are used extensively in the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th eras. They are used to add an embellishment to the music. Think of them like adding icing onto a cake. Fur Elise has one Appoggiatura and one Grace note.
This Appoggiatura is usually played on the beat, making the rhythm look like what’s written below. However, it can take the pulse of the music feel like it’s slowing down.
Because the music introduces demisemiquavers in the next section, you may prefer to play them before the beat. Whichever way you decide, practise first without the ornament and then introduce it.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Für Elise Bars 22-28 R.H.'
This Grace note is always played before the beat.
Play the notes without the ornament first to get the feel of where the main beat lies and then put in the ornament. The first one is played twice without the ornamented then with the Grace note, played twice.
MEMBERS VIDEOS: 'Für Elise Bars 28-32 R.H.'
Now that you've worked on the technical parts, now let's work on understanding just how 3/8 time signature works.
Poco moto: Slight motion.
The example below shows the main rhythms in Für Elise and the way to write out the beats should you need to. Practice clapping along to these rhythms and get the feel for how each note and beat flows.
The track plays three times at different tempos —70, 90 and 100. There will be a pause followed by a three-beat count in for each exercise.
To Practise: Count along and clap each rhythm until it's easy. Finish on a downbeat after the last bar.
When working out a difficult section of any music, it's always good to imagine the notes simplified by doubling them up. Therefore; imagine every note and rest doubled. This will make it easier to read and to count the rhythms with the metronome. The entire piece will be “imagined” in 3/4, not 3/8.
Quavers become crotchets.
Semiquavers become quavers.
Dotted quavers become dotted crotchets.
Dotted semiquavers become dotted quavers.
Semiquaver triplets become quaver triplets.
Demisemiquavers become semiquavers.
Before attempting to play each part hands together it's always a good idea to practice patting the notes hands together. This will help with coordination.
To Practice: Pat on your lap and repeat each of these rhythms hands together—right-hand treble clef and left-hand bass clef.
WORKING WITH THE METRONOME
The lines indicate where the click will be. So if you imagined the click as a crotchet, then all the notes below would be imagined as quavers. The metronome would be set at 100.
For the second section: Imagine all of the demisemiquavers to be semiquavers and divide every click into four.
If you feel that your demisemiquavers are not even enough, then double up the click so that each one feels and acts like a quaver. Slowly work up to the tempo of 200, then switch back to a quaver beat at 100.
For the third section: Think semiquaver triplets like quaver triplets.
Just for fun...
These tracks allow you to play along with either hand. If you want to practice your left hand then click on the right-hand track. If you want to practice your right hand then click on the left-hand audio track. There will be a 4-beat click to start.Für Elise: Right Hand (to download: Mac right-click / download as video)
Für Elise: Left Hand (for PC right-click/save audio as)
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