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#2116969 - 07/13/13 12:37 PM How do you play 'Für Elise'?
Lindacharlotte Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/13
Posts: 13
I am practicing 'Für Elise' nowadays, but I find it not easy to play the second and fourth phases, I wonder how you guys practice it? I wonder how pianists can play it that fast? Is it all about practicing?
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#2116974 - 07/13/13 12:52 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17837
Loc: Victoria, BC
Lc:

It's sort of a vague question when you ask "how" one practices the second and fourth "phases."

I think you need to be specific about what difficulties you are having before people will know how to respond.

Learning every piece well is "all about practicing," isn't it? But that means knowing what the difficulties are and how to reasonably go about solving them in meaningful and efficient practice sessions.

Regards,
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#2116979 - 07/13/13 12:57 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 265
My kid played this a couple years ago. He got very fast. The technique his teacher recommends is starting it at a painfully slow speed with a metronome where you can hit every note. Slowly increase the speed with the metronome from there. Only up the speed when you can play that passage without error and with good voicing/phrasing. If you're honest with this system, it works great for building speed here.
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#2117018 - 07/13/13 02:01 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
Joyce_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 191
Loc: Chicago
Couple things. You need to do a search on analysis. They often say that Fur Elise should start off like it's appearing from nowhere, suddenly there. I picture a woman coming up over a hill, suddenly there she is. Follow the crescendos, descresdendos carefully. Again I think of it as up and down a hill. Steady counting 1 and 2 and 3 and 1 and 2 and 3. Expression, quietly. For additional sections, follow articulation, practice trills/apoggiaturas carefully. Get it correct at a slower speed first. Always practice at the speed you need for the most difficult part. Then slowly increase speed as others have mentioned. Let us know how it goes. You are listening to it? Not everyone plays it fast. It's fallen open to interpretation just by it's popularity. Good luck.

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#2117020 - 07/13/13 02:04 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
jdw Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 945
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I would suggest trying to identify the specific spots that give you trouble. Where exactly do you stumble when you try to play faster?

My teacher advises looking for transitions between particular notes that are causing you trouble. Then focus in on those spots to get them working. The more specifically you can identify what's holding you back, the more efficiently you can practice. (Of course, a good teacher is a huge help, both in identifying the problems and in solving them!)

Then when you put the piece back together, you may notice other spots as the speed increases. If so, I'd stop and work on those. You can move back and forth between checking your progress with the metronome and working out trouble spots, if you like.

_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2117048 - 07/13/13 03:13 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
Lindacharlotte Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/13
Posts: 13
Hi, thanks for the instructions! I checked the pieces that are not easy for me are:

Piece 1 , Piece 2 ,
Piece 3



Edited by Lindacharlotte (07/13/13 03:14 PM)
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#2117059 - 07/13/13 03:29 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17837
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Lindacharlotte
Hi, thanks for the instructions! I checked the pieces that are not easy for me are:

Piece 1 , Piece 2 ,
Piece 3



The images are not very helpful. You have included images of 37 measures of the music in three sections - which means one-third of the entire work - but you don't say what, specifically, is difficult for you.

That might be part of the problem; if you can't specifically articulate the problem, people can't offer solutions. You have to be able to pinpoint what techniques exactly are difficult for you (scale passages - evenness and fingering; repeated notes, Alberti bass accompaniment) before anyone can attempt to offer practice solutions.

Regards,
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#2117062 - 07/13/13 03:39 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
jdw Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 945
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Like BruceD, but I was thinking of a more specific sort of specific.

For instance, in your first example above, people would give different advice depending on where and what your problem is. If the third measure, it's probably an issue of two-hand coordination. Third measure of the second line, you need rapid rotation in the right hand.

Within each section, see which measures are ok for you and which you have problems with. Then see which particular notes. See if it's a problem playing either hand alone, or only when you put them together.

Work really slowly on the bits you find difficult, to get them comfortable before you worry about speed. But I think you need a teacher to help you.

BTW I haven't looked, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are other forum threads about this piece, since it's so widely played. You might want to try doing a search.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2117110 - 07/13/13 05:30 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Lindacharlotte
I am practicing 'Für Elise' nowadays, but I find it not easy to play the second and fourth phases, I wonder how you guys practice it? I wonder how pianists can play it that fast? Is it all about practicing?

What note or group of notes is giving you trouble?
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2117239 - 07/13/13 10:38 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Get a teacher.
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"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#2117256 - 07/13/13 11:04 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1198
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Linda Dear,

The section(s) you posted are the most difficult textures to play in that piece. They're very hard to do if your tempo is too fast. This is most likely the case.

The overall tempo of this piece is quite slow, slower than most of the garbage you hear on Youtube by 3-year-olds trying to make their super-competitive teachers happy. Pay no attention to them.

Having said that, about the tempo I mean, you should be practicing these new sections even slower than you will play them at the suitably slow, lyrical tempo. Until you can do them slowly, you should not try them faster.

Let us know how that works.
_________________________
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1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2117336 - 07/14/13 02:13 AM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
Lindacharlotte Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/13
Posts: 13
Hi, Laguna,

Sounds like you understand me exactly, I guess that's the case, it's not any easy to play those textures. Even with right hand it won't be easy, additionally using the left hand along, it's just not working naturally. And sometimes I can't find the correct place for left hand. I guess I shall practice those textures slowly. When I listen to the pianists' mp3, they are always quite fast, so I thought it should be played in fast tempo. I guess it's not for me at the moment.
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#2117505 - 07/14/13 01:34 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
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#2117540 - 07/14/13 02:58 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
OllyB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/10/13
Posts: 14
Loc: UK
If your having issues at the start don't learn the rest. The middle of the piece is quite fast and complex for a beginner.

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#2117597 - 07/14/13 05:00 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
Lindacharlotte Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/13
Posts: 13
Hmm, that sounds right. Could you please recommend some easy and simple piano music sheets, I just can play C major at the moment, hehe. Thanks.
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#2117654 - 07/14/13 06:54 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6219
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
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#2117814 - 07/14/13 11:21 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: carey]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1198
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Carey,

Actually all the Kabalevsky pieces would be suitable from that opus.

Also, you could look at my favorite set for advancing intermediates, the Alexander Tansman "Pour les Enfants" in four graded books.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2117836 - 07/15/13 12:39 AM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: laguna_greg]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6219
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Actually all the Kabalevsky pieces would be suitable from that opus.


Good point !! grin
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#2117864 - 07/15/13 03:49 AM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
More than two-thirds (70%) of the dreaded Fur Elise plods along at a slow gait ... thank goodness Ye Olde Beethoven
threw in a few gallops to prevent us from falling asleep.

Pardon the frivolity chaps ... but when as Piano Teacher,
we hear the umteenth crass student ham the jolly little ditty,something needs to be said of the structure of the piece, where the likes of the mighty Vladimir Ashkenazy,
provide a guiding hand to slacken the pace to a crawl,
so as to add sparkle to the fast bits.

1. From m45-57 (12 measures) ... zippy duet climaxing at m49-50 repeat
2. From m82-99 (16 measures) ... blocky chords over a drumming rhythmic bass
3. From m100-106 (6 measures) ... arpeggiated triple ascent/chromatic descent
So get the above quick measures sorted out and Fur Elise is a piece of cake.

Hope you like cake chaps,
regards, btb

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#2118003 - 07/15/13 12:39 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
Lindacharlotte Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/13
Posts: 13
@Carey, Thank you for the recommendation, they sound nice. However, do you have any recommendation for C major? Like easy simple music at the moment?

@Laguna, what are your favorite sets?

@btb, sorry I have no idea what you are talking about? I didn't learn piano in English, maybe that's why I don't understand you?


Edited by Lindacharlotte (07/15/13 12:39 PM)
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#2118028 - 07/15/13 01:16 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17837
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Lindacharlotte
[...]
@btb, sorry I have no idea what you are talking about? I didn't learn piano in English, maybe that's why I don't understand you?


Do not be too concerned. Many of us who believe - completely - that we have been taught (good) English as our native tongue do not always understand the English that comes in btb's posts.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#2118030 - 07/15/13 01:18 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6219
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Lindacharlotte
@Carey, Thank you for the recommendation, they sound nice. However, do you have any recommendation for C major? Like easy simple music at the moment?



Here are a couple of works in C Major from Schumann's Album for the Young, Opus 68.

http://youtu.be/-_zWKSUpkK0

http://youtu.be/R3fK0swapj0





Edited by carey (07/15/13 01:18 PM)
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#2118034 - 07/15/13 01:21 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17837
Loc: Victoria, BC
Lc :

Have you thought about posting some of your questions in the Adult Beginners' Forum?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2118384 - 07/16/13 03:41 AM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
The gallant whooping BruceD must come of Redskin stock to say

“Do not be too concerned.
Many of us who believe - completely - that we have been taught (good) English as our NATIVE tongue
do not always understand the English that comes in btb's posts.”

Can any of you peasants play Fur Elise (proper!)
like wot it’s supposed to be played? ... wish I could.

Kind regards, btb

PS My apologies to the OP for proving incomprehensible ... perhaps a good dictionary in the relative tongues could help
solve the problem.


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#2119932 - 07/18/13 11:45 PM Re: How do you play 'Für Elise'? [Re: Lindacharlotte]
BettyMock Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/06/13
Posts: 9
Loc: philadelphia PA area
Hi Lindacharlotte,

Here's something you can try in Fur Elise or anywhere else. See if you can identify just two notes in the passage where you are having difficulty getting from one to the next. Then figure out why it is difficult. It may be that it requires awkward fingering, or it is a leap, or whatever. See if you can get those two notes running smoothly.

Once the 2 note difficuly is cleared up, try playing the entire measure and see if that solved the problem. Or is there another set of two notes that you have to work on? Working on very small sections can be very effective.

Here are some other things to try with the difficult spots:

  • practice with distorted accents. For example, put the accent on the second beat, then on the 3rd, etc. You can do this with 16th note runs by accenting the second of each 4, then the 3rd of each 4 then the 4th.
  • practice the passage staccato. And then play each note twice staccato.

I don't know why those things works, but they are powerhouses.

That said, I agree with the idea of finding the right teacher. You probably need help using your hands and arms in a good way, as well as many other things. Playing the piano is hard and there is a lot to know. Why should you figure it all out for yourself when various geniuses have already figured it out for you; and figured out more than you ever can

Betty

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