Question about Fur Elise.

Posted by: Mohannad

Question about Fur Elise. - 01/30/13 10:16 PM

I the last section where you play a low A with the left hand and some chords with the right hand, I was wondering if there was any reason for the fancy fingering. I was learning to play that part with a MIDI (I'm too slow at decoding sheets, but I'm working on it), but then when I looked at the score I realized that there was this weird fingering where you hit the same A while switching fingers, is there any reason for that? Does it have a name?

Thanks.
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: Question about Fur Elise. - 01/30/13 11:05 PM

I'm not a teacher.

I recall this when I did Fur Elise very long ago and the finger switching honestly made no sense.

Honestly, it still makes little sense, but with the perspective of years at the piano...

It -might- lend to a more legato sound. If you use the same finger for each note, you may be more inclined to attack the key with a very large lift between repetitions of the note. If you are switching fingers, you'll be more likely to attain a smoother transition between repetitions of the note.

But I bloviate. I dunno if the original version even has these fingering hints and it could be that piano technique pedagogues have imposed rules upon a passage where no such rules were originally in place.

Assuming you're new to Fur Elise, I would simply experiment casually between the different feels of the same finger versus finger switching. Then, turning off all your self-criticism (I MEAN IT! REALLY! NO, REALLY!), go watch Valentina Lisitsa's performance of Fur Elise on YouTube. Make no comparisons between where you are now and where she is: you're just listening to the expressiveness of the piano. Enjoy, and aspire, and don't force it. But look back in umphty-umph years and see how much you've progressed.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Question about Fur Elise. - 01/30/13 11:12 PM

It's a "classical" fingering. There are better experts on it than me, but I believe sometime during the romantic period, this notion started to change.

The only benefit I can think of in this situation is counting time.. much easier to count four beats than multiple notes. As the music gets faster, you'll find examples where you can't strike the note fast enough with one finger, so you switch fingers. But that doesn't happen in Fur Elise. smile
Posted by: jdw

Re: Question about Fur Elise. - 01/31/13 06:43 AM

I used to think that changing fingers on those repeated notes was just a crazy and dogmatic idea of piano teachers to make things harder. Having learned better technique, I now find it feels better to do the switches rather than keep banging away with the same finger. Maybe that's what the piano pedagogues were aiming for. But I think whatever works for you.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Question about Fur Elise. - 01/31/13 09:06 AM

Changing fingers on one note was introduced with the early fortepianos to allow the keys to rise sufficiently before the next note was played. Modern escapements don't need this but experience shows that it's better for control in some cases and it's a handy skill to have. Für Elise doesn't need it but it's easier to conrol the accents using it.

Compare Martha Argerich playing Scarlatti's K. 141 with Aline D'Ambricourt.



Posted by: timmyab

Re: Question about Fur Elise. - 01/31/13 09:17 AM

That's so strange, I was just about to make more or less the same point and post exactly the same Argerich/Scarlatti vid.
Posted by: stumbler

Re: Question about Fur Elise. - 01/31/13 01:32 PM

Nice illustrative video.
I hadn't known that the earlier practice was to use the same finger for the repeated notes.
Seems more difficult than using multiple fingers.