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#1118951 - 09/20/04 10:42 AM Need help on second section of Fur Elise
NoTV Mike Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 18
Loc: Seattle, WA
I take piano lessons every week and have been for about 18 months so far.

I have been working on Fur Elise for about 4 weeks and it is starting to smooth out, but have been having problems with multiple voices as in the second section.

Can anyone recommend a piece with more of this (more than 4 measures) that I can practice?

Any Bach pieces in particular?

I really want to focus on maintaining tempo with this section I have the fingerings and placement down but tempo is really missing.

Thanks
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#1118952 - 09/20/04 11:24 AM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
I'm struggling with the 'B' section also. Why do you want to practice on another piece of music? In my opinion, four weeks on the 'B' section is nothing. It isn't beginner music.

I've been on this incredibly beautiful solo for a year and can play the first section to the metronome at MM=80, about 8 less than full speed, according to my teacher. I never tire of practicing it. It's like eating some fantasticly sweet dessert but without getting filled up.

The 'B' section, however, is frustrating at times because I'm having a hard time increasing the speed, especially when it shifts to the 32 notes. My routine has been to go through this section 30-50 times every other day, with and without the metronome. I can play the 32 notes at around 66 but increasing the speed is a slow process for me. One trick I discovered one day after 60 repetitions on the 32 notes is not to reach with the fingers but rather hold the fingers in place just above the keys and rotate the wrist only. Do not stiffen the fingers but keep them as relaxed as you can and still strike the notes. To my amazement, this doubled the speed almost immediately but it takes a while to get control due to the sudden increase in speed. It's like shifting to ball bearings. I am now practicing slowing down the wrist rotation although the slower it gets the more of a tendency to reach for the keys, thus slowing the tempo. I think that over time this will allow me to reach full speed on the 32 notes.

Have you tried the triplets in the 'C' section? Those too are taking me a lot of practice but I see improvement after 30-40 repetitions every other day.

Good luck and don't give on this piece. There is no more beautiful piano solo around.
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#1118953 - 09/20/04 12:04 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
NoTV Mike Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 18
Loc: Seattle, WA
I understand the love for this piece, I really don't tire of playing it but I thought I may need more practice in this area. I will take your advice for the fingers for this section.

The C section doesn't appear to be to much work other than the fingering for the second measure for this (I think my hands are large enough to accomodate a wider fingering)

The triplets are not that bad, my thumb seems to be able to get under without rotating too much to get up the scale, the chromatic decent isn't that difficult once you learn to use the third finger for the accidentals and one for the natruals with two on the half interval between.

It really is nice piece and I belive there is a lot to learn from all of it and I don't plan on giving up on it.
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#1118954 - 09/20/04 02:29 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
nan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/04
Posts: 140
Loc: San Francisco
NoTV, I also worked on this piece for a long time and it was very challenging. The version I worked on was in Alfred Level 3 book. My teacher was satisfied but I still did not play it well. I think that as a beginner moving into intermediate it just takes time to get to the point where it sounds really good. My teacher likes me to move onto new pieces and I like to do that too. I am now working on George Handel's Saraband which also has multiple voices in the second portion. I am finding this piece much easier than Fur Elise. I am learning a great deal because it is less complicated so I can focus on certain parts and learn them well and move on. This is from the "Essential Keyboard Repertoire" Volume 2 which has 75 intermediate selections and a CD. (I think this intermediate book is actually easier than the very hard pieces at the end of Alfred's Level 3 book for adults.) I know I am improving but it just seems like I have quite a way to go to be any good at the piano!

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#1118955 - 09/20/04 04:44 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
I'm learning Fur Elise also, but I'm still on the "A" section trying to get it up to tempo.

I have two recordings of Fur Elise and they're both quite fast. One is 2:34 for the entire piece and the other is 3:28. The A section for the slower recording is at about 112 (in 8th notes) on the metronome and it's about 160 for the faster recording. My goal is to get it somewhere north of 100.

You guys are way past this, but I just wanted to mention for those who are down at my level that I'm trying to get the hand movements down without having to look at the keyboard. Especially in the second part of the A section where the left hand goes from C to G to A and then E. I'm focussing on geting my thumb to naturally move down a 4th while keeping my hand stretching an octave. If I can lick that, then that whole section will be good.

The next difficulty is the jump from E up an octave to E with the 5th finger. I'm trying to practice by following where the thumb used to be with the 4th finger.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on what I'm doing so far. Maybe by the time I get to the B section Mike will have nailed it and he can help me. \:\)

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#1118956 - 09/20/04 08:41 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
NoTV Mike Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 18
Loc: Seattle, WA
Bob, The E to E is a #5 - #1 stretch with #2 landing on G# after the stretch, not too bad, it is just a few variations to remember after that.

112 sounds right, but my built in song collection plays it at 100 ish also.

The key thing to remember is that the ending note of this sequence should sound at the same time as the complimentary sequence with the right hand. There are only 4 or so patterns here, my problem is I have them memorized and if I get lost I start making it up with the other sequences.

Once it starts to flow with the pedal it really sounds nice and can be made quite expressive and stay with in time.

When does the wood floor go in for your grand? It looks nice, my next wood floor doesn't go in until the kids are gone which is going to be a while.
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#1118957 - 09/20/04 10:25 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
"Bob, The E to E is a #5 - #1 stretch with #2 landing on G# after the stretch"

You're thinking of the first part of the A section. I'm talking about the second part of the A section where there's a long octave run from E to E to E, etc. The first E to E to E is left hand 5,5,1 with the right hand playing 1,5 beginning with the E left off by the left hand.

For a beginner, that jump from E to E with the same little finger is pretty intimidating. Especially at a tempo of 100+.

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#1118958 - 09/21/04 04:20 AM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
Diva Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/04
Posts: 2
Loc: UK
For the E to E octaves in the second part of the A section I use the following fingering.

5 - 1 - 2 in left hand for first three notes in the left hand. I find this easier than trying to do 5 - 5 - 1.

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#1118959 - 09/21/04 05:46 AM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
For my taste, I don't think this piece sounds better faster. I have a fairly slow version and to me it is much more beautiful than the fast versions. I asked my teacher why people play it fast when it sounds better slow and he said they don't want to play it slow for fear of the audience thinking they aren't that good, or don't know it that well. There is a tendency today for pianists to show off their agility rather than their musical ability. To play this at 160 is to me ridiculous.

Bob, I don't see any utility in not looking at the kb when playing those E's. I've played this so many times I have most if it memorized so I don't need the sheet music anyway.
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#1118960 - 09/21/04 08:28 AM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i guess i would be getting back to this piece to finish the whole thing up too. i actually started learning the 2nd part of it no long ago, but never finished it as i moved on to other pieces. i uesd to think that the opening chords (left hand) of the 2nd part were hard, but didn't feel too bad the last time i tried. i just have to finish learning it so that i could say finally that i could play the whole piece!

to get more polyphonic music feel, try Bach's inventions (2-part to start with). no.13 is a good one for technique, which i keep playing regularly and still feel hard to achieve the perfection. it has a lot of fast hand shifting and left hand working out especially, quite a technical exercise.

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#1118961 - 09/21/04 09:42 AM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
NoTV Mike Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 18
Loc: Seattle, WA
"For a beginner, that jump from E to E with the same little finger is pretty intimidating. Especially at a tempo of 100+."

Your right, at 100+ it isn't that easy. I use the 5-5-1 and hand crossing with that section. Don't spend too much time on that section as it will come to you, you will be practicing it a lot more to get the entire piece to fill out. The second part really takes the time.

Thanks for the recommondation signaI have the Inventions right here I will check out #13.
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#1118962 - 09/21/04 06:49 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
David Kirkham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 159
Loc: Provo, Utah
I learned Fur Elise over 20 years ago. I guess I was just stubborn and pounded right through the repeat bars and learned the whole piece. My sisters would have teased me mercilessly if I wouldn't have learned the 2nd part. I am glad I did as most people never learn it.

I too think the piece should be played slower than most people think it should be played. It was a love song, after all. I can play it quite quickly if I want to, but I never do. It just sounds so much better slower--like a love song.

I use the 5-5-1 hand crossing as well, (especially when I have an audience of the family),, but sometimes I mix things up just for fun. I just kept practicing and practicing and one day it just sort of came to me. I have been playing it ever since. When I get really bogged down in a piece I can't get, I always break into Fur Elise to calm back down again. What a wonderful piece of music!

David \:\) \:\) \:\)
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www.kirkhammotorsports.com
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#1118963 - 09/22/04 01:26 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
last night i spend about an hour to get the fingering for the 2nd part of Fur Elise done, not including those repeated sections of course (as in the 1st part), and practiced HS for a while. surprisingly, i didn't feel it is too hard anymore.

the only question i have is how you use fingering on the LH repeated notes in the middle of the 2nd part? do you use the same finger(s) for those repeated notes or change fingers all over them? i would probably try to use the same finger for each repeated base, but wonder what would be the best fingering you choose?

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#1118964 - 09/22/04 04:59 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
David Kirkham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 159
Loc: Provo, Utah
Signa,

I use 22222222 on the a then jump to 1-5 on the a-d chord.

I then switch to 1-4 on the a-d#

I keep 1-4 on the a-e

I go to 2-4 on the g#-e

1-5 on the a-a

then back to 22222 on the a

It took me a long time to get the timing correct so it didn't sound like a skip.

I don't know if this is right, but it is the only way I could get the tempo to sound right.

David \:\) \:\) \:\)
_________________________
David Kirkham
Kirkham Motorsports
www.kirkhammotorsports.com
I bought my piano from www.pianocraft.net

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#1118965 - 09/22/04 08:33 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
Tocca Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/04
Posts: 56
Loc: Sweden
I can't really see a reason to play the octave E's using 5-5-1?
Why make it more difficult than necessary?

I play it like this: LH 5-1 RH 2-1-5 LH 5-1 RH 1-5.
Or you can use RH 1-1-5, instead of 2-1-5. Doesn't matter as long as it sounds good.

On the repeated notes it really is best if you can alternate the fingers! It's a good practise, in more advance stuff (with higher speed) it will be a must.
It sounds better, and it will be easier with the rytm.
If you play 3-2-1-3-2-1 for example, the right hand chords will naturally be played at the right beat.

LudwigVanBee is on the right track with the wristrotation for that fast righthand section. It takes practise, but it is the way to do it.

Bach Inventions are good pieces to play to up your skill, they are extremely useful exercises and at the same time nice music. Highly recommended, but don't start with them TOO early or you'll be frustrated.
Some of them are decivingly difficult!

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#1118966 - 09/22/04 09:29 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
NoTV Mike Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 18
Loc: Seattle, WA
The nice thing about using the 3-2-1 pattern is, when you do it twice you know you hit all the notes without counting, but my piano teacher thought the 3-2-3-2-3-2 would be better for some of the transitions.

I banged out the second section on Monday to the point of just memorizing it for the most part. Which came in handy at my piano lesson that day as I played it quite well.

But after 5 days of relentless practice, I had to give my fingers a rest. Too much cramming, I need to split my practice into an hour in the morning and a hour at night.
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#1118967 - 09/23/04 03:41 AM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
It is coincidental that I started Invention No 1 in June, right at the time I had started to really bore down on the B section in Fur Elise. My teacher split the Invention into 3 parts. After 3 months and a lot of practice I can play the first three lines with the metronome set at 76, playing it 8th notes. The three trills took a lot of practice to get right with the metronome. It is a thrill to play just the part I've learned. I can see how Gould spent his entire career mainly on Bach. I can't wait to tackle another one of these in the future.

I'm now approaching the next three lines and I'm wondering how any of you do the fingering on measure 11. I found the right and left hands and fingers tended to get tangled if the fingering is straightforward which will cause a lot of problems when the tempo increases. So after a lot of experimenting I came up with this:

RH has 8 8th notes beginning on D. I play it

3 2 1 3 4 1 3 4

I play the 2nd 1-3 because it sets up the 5 to begin the next measure.

LH has 16 16th notes beginning on F. Play it:

4 2 1 2 3 1 3 2 1 2 3 1 4 2 3 1

Ending with 1 sets up the 2 to begin the next measure which also avoids a conflict if the 3 is used. This fingering has several cross overs to the thumb but it keeps the hands separated so when the tempo is increased there is no conflict with the hands on top of or pressed against one another. Does anyone have any problems with this fingering or use a different one?
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#1118968 - 09/23/04 10:37 AM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
thanks, David and Tocca, for suggestions! i definitely will try both ways to see what is the best way for me.

Tocca is right about the inventions. i remember that when i first tried invention no.4 about 2 year ago, i couldn't even get through the 1st page before giving up. it was too difficult for me then. but i finally learned it early this year, and then learned the no.13 and 3-part no.2. with each one learned, things are getting easier with my playing in general. Bach's inventions are definitely something very rewarding on technique.

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#1118969 - 09/23/04 07:48 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
Tocca Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/04
Posts: 56
Loc: Sweden
 Quote:
Originally posted by LudwigVanBee:


RH has 8 8th notes beginning on D. I play it

3 2 1 3 4 1 3 4

I play the 2nd 1-3 because it sets up the 5 to begin the next measure.

LH has 16 16th notes beginning on F. Play it:

4 2 1 2 3 1 3 2 1 2 3 1 4 2 3 1

Ending with 1 sets up the 2 to begin the next measure which also avoids a conflict if the 3 is used. This fingering has several cross overs to the thumb but it keeps the hands separated so when the tempo is increased there is no conflict with the hands on top of or pressed against one another. Does anyone have any problems with this fingering or use a different one? [/b]
I went and had a look, and this is how i played it:
RH: 3 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 (and starting the next measure on 5 on D)
LH: 4 2 1 2 3 1 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 3 4 2 (then going 3 1 at the start of the next measure).

Fingering is a personal thing, so it's hard to recommend really. In my view, you're making unnecessary "thumbs under" where it's not really needed.
Like the RH: 3 2 1 3 at the start. Or the 1 2 3 1 4 2 3 1 at the end in LH. Why not 1 2 3 4 5 3 4 2?
But if it works, feels comfortable, is easy to get up to speed and sounds good... You've find a good fingering.

Sometimes it's easier to rearange fingerings to avoid playing with finger 4 and 5, because one is faster with 1 - 3.
That's a bad idea in my view. The only time i might think this is a good idea is if you're supposed to play something in public and it sounds better not using 4 and 5.
Otherwise, use thoose 4 and 5! They REALLY need the practise!

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#1118970 - 09/24/04 02:03 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
Thanks Tocca. The a.m. I posted this i had a lesson that p.m. and proposed it to my teacher. He shot it down, saying I was making more work than necessary as you pointe out. He said the tight squeeze in one or 2 places wouldn't impede speed later. This is what he suggested and I'm now adopting:

RH: 3 2 3 4 5 1 3 4

Doing 1 3 4 at the end is slightly easier I think than 1 2 3 because there is less of a reach to the 5.

LH: 4 2 3 4 5 3 4 2 3 1 2 3 4 2 3 1

I think there is only one cross under here to the thumb. He said this better because 1) it keeps most of he LH in a five finger pattern which is best anytime you can do it, and 2) it follows a similar pattern as the LH in the next measure which means it will be learned quicker.

btw, there is a lot of discussion here about the need for a good teacher, or any teacher at all. I've heard many times here people are going to do it on their own. One reason for me is to get good fingering. There are times when I am at a total loss to figure it out. I take it to the teacher and they can do it in a flash. THis is one of those times when the teacher is indispensable in my opinion.
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#1118971 - 09/25/04 04:19 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
David Kirkham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 159
Loc: Provo, Utah
Tocca,

I just went and tried the 321 321 and WOW was that hard. I guess bad habits die hard.

You are right; I never thought about it, but the 22222...will severely limit me on how fast I can play another piece.

I can play Fur Elise quite easily at 120 but I think it sounds TERRIBLE. (Well, maybe it is just me who sounds terrible!) I like it more in the 90-100 range.

I did go into a piano store today to keep up my search for a piano and a girl was playing it at around 140 and hitting all sorts of wrong notes with timing worse than passing gas in a job interview.

I just shook my head...Why? Why not slow down to take the turns without running off the road? I wonder if some of the salesmen have to take Tums every day at lunch just to keep it down.

I will keep trying the 321, though. This is a great forum. Maybe one day I will learn to play.

Bob,

Did you see I signed up for Fur Elise on the CD project? I can't believe I did it. I am already nervous and I don't even have to record it for over a month!

David \:\) \:\) \:\)
_________________________
David Kirkham
Kirkham Motorsports
www.kirkhammotorsports.com
I bought my piano from www.pianocraft.net

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#1118972 - 09/25/04 05:27 PM Re: Need help on second section of Fur Elise
NoTV Mike Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 18
Loc: Seattle, WA
David,

I don't think my piano teacher would let me get away with a 2222... Try 321 or 32 both seem to work fine, but 32 may be easier on the flats.

I did ask my piano teacher about reviewing some Bach to get over the hump but she insisted that this was the part I needed to learn. And have thanks to a nice little method I found.

Bob Muir posted a web link to a piano practice method pdf that appears to be helping with the memorization and speed issues.

Mike
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