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Is there a "PROPER" way to play Fuer Elise?

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Anonymous, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Hi, this is my first time posting and I'm only an intermediate level player (age 62--hey it's never too late!). However, I've been a fan of classical music all my life. I like to play Fuer Elise in a romantic, passionate manner with lots of ebb and flow in both volume and tempo, rather than in the rigid, mechanical style that most people tend to play it (including the recordings on this site). My piano teacher says, "Oh no, you can't do that...it may sound nice but that's not what Beethoven was all about...blah, blah, blah."

    I'm looking for some opinions on that. I feel that Beethoven was definitely a cross-over figure from Classicism to Romaticism and that he would not have had any problem with a Romantic interpretation of the piece...not to mention that he wrote it for a young lady...so we know he was defintely feeling romantic :lol:

    Thanks in advance for any helpful feedback I get on this. And thanks also for making this such a great website.
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    When I am at my former piano teacher's student recitals, there are usually two or three kids who play this piece. I never heard it as fast as Kopp's recording on this site, usually it is more at an "Adagio" pace, especially the 32nd notes, that slows down to between a lento and adagio. So their peformances last between 5-6 minutes. Even at that pace, it is still good music, although "cliche" (aka over played).

    Point being. I believe that whatever pace you play at, as long as you enjoy it and it makes you happy or relaxes you, then that is the correct pace. Never listen to scholarly people, they spend their lives studying about nothing. :wink: Listen to your heart or sould or mind or...

    I hope this helps.

    Welcome to the site. I think you will like it and sooner or later become addicted to it. The two gentlemen who run this site are full of knowledge, and are quite helpful. They also do a good job at maintaining this place. Can't thank them enough. 8)


    I hope you will have some recordings to share with us.

    Best,
    -the juuf
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello asf62,
    You're probably going to get a lot of different responses to this. My opinion - I like romantically played pieces, but not to the point of being too 'schmultzy". However, it depends on the mood you're in when you play it. A piece will sound a certain way if you are happy and different again when you are sad. I notice this in myself a lot, as my mood greatly affects my playing. Maybe you can record yourself playing Fur Elise so we can tell how much 'romanticizing' you do?
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm going to get yelled at for saying this.. but I have never been able to understand what everybody likes so much about Fur Elise. A daft tune if there ever was one... IMO not worthy of the great Beethoven and I would not be surprised if perhaps he wrote it only as joke, or present, and scorned on it himself. But then, it's not always so that the most popular piece is also the best. For the novice pianist there are also the two Sonatinas which are so much better than Fur Elise.
     
  5. Chaotica

    Chaotica New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Is this an answer to his question? :roll:

    @ asf62

    I'm on juufa's side in this case. I guess you play the piano mostly for your own enjoyment and not to make money with or whatever. So do it the way you want it to be.

    This piece has a lot of repetitions. Hence I wouldn't play it too slow because it might become boring for listeners. In this respect, it might be good to play with more rubato and expression than in other Beethoven pieces, just like you do.
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Clearly not :D Just an opinionated, one-sided and single-minded rant. Is what forums are for, too.
     
  7. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    But that's an opinion :lol: :x
     
  8. chopinman0901

    chopinman0901 New Member

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    Don't worry techneut, I agree with you - Fur Elise isn't that great, but it's probably the only classical piece the average person can name. Kind of like Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp Minor, only more people know it. The only reason that I can think that it's so popular is because it's kind of catchy. I guess most people think that E-D#-E-D#-E is really easy to remember because their brains can't remember any more. :wink: Just kidding.

    As for asf62, as everyone has said how you play a piece depends on how you're feeling at the moment. But if you don't know what I mean, just follow the tempo and dynamic markings :lol: . It's great that you're playing the piano and that you've decided to play an over-played piece with a lot of enthusiasm and passion!! Beethoven probably wanted it to be that way since he was feeling so many things when he was in love with Elise(?).
     
  9. Cydonia

    Cydonia New Member

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    Yep, quite a contradiction that Für Elise remains Beethoven's most popular piano piece, yet so little representative of his style.

    IMHO, the best way to play Für Elise : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOQaK7NHY-4
     
  10. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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  11. Cydonia

    Cydonia New Member

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    Seriously though, when I play that piece I usually keep it between a calm and slightly romantic feel, playing the main part without any expression/tempo exaggeration, then using a few contrasts in the two sub-episodes.

    But that's just me. :wink:
     
  12. Nicole

    Nicole New Member Piano Society Artist

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    This topic should probably be moved to elsewhere on the forum. As a piano teacher, I must comment on this one though, because whether to play a piece "properly" or not, depends on what you are going to just play for your enjoyment or publicly perform it to a group of other trained musicians, whether it be through a recording, a competition or an exam.

    I say, if for your own enjoyment, forget even CARING what is proper. That takes research to find out how the composer TRULY wanted things, by getting yellowed neglected books at the library that come right from source of composer or of his direct students, and not just blindly trusting the popular, and sometimes false, hearsay of what everyone, including educated music professors and examiners, have come to believe from others. If you feel a true obligation to the composer, yes, do get thee to a library and look for books written well before 1930, to get closest to the true source. This comes second-best to resurrecting the actual composer to hear what they have to say about our interpretations of their works. If playing for a competition or exam though, be wary if your research proves there are indeed some huge misconceptions out there about certain composers' styles, that very sadly, many adjudicators hold on to without knowing any better. And so to appease them, you will have to knowingly play the song the more commonly accepted, but sometimes improper way.

    It's a tough game out there when trying to please examiners and music judges. Even us teachers feel the need to draw curtains shut and hide our identities when playing songs for our own enjoyment, just the way we LIKE them to go. But that is what is ultimately most pleasing to the performer, and so if just playing for yourself, or family and friends, let your heart decide what your hands do, without much thought to what is proper or not. What FEELS right to you, will likely give the most enjoyable performance to those listening for pleasure.
     
  13. johnmar78

    johnmar78 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    no offense to any one, when I was a kids, "fur Elise " was played every week from a garbage truck that comes to pick up the rubbish.... You see, this is a common music here for the young generations...; funny thing is the "how on earth" the disposal company choosed this piece......

    By all mean, the best way is to post your recordings and we can help you out from there.
     
  14. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you think it's 'daft', maybe you're not playing it properly. (Now I'll probably get yelled at. :lol: )
     
  15. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Welcome asf (what's your name?), I've always enjoyed this piece, it's just so often played badly. If you wish to play it well, make it sound good. Play it 'in time', play what's written on the page and be patient with yourself. Good luck!

    Pete
     
  16. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Is there a PROPER way to play Fuer Elise

    First, let me say to all of you who responded that I really appreciate your comments and your kind advice. The majority of you seem to agree with me and that makes me feel a whole lot better!

    I apologize for not responding sooner but I couldn't find this posting! I put it in the "Repertoire" forum where I thought it should be, but finally found it in the "Audition" forum. As one of you commented, I don't think it belongs here...but apparently somebody moved it.

    By the way, my name is Al (the "a" in asf62) and I'm pleased to be in such great company. My next question is going to deal with recording equipment. I have NO idea how you do it these days. All I've got is my old cassette recorder from Radio Shack. Don't think it would quite measure up. Anybody know what forum I should put that question on?

    Have a great day everybody!

    Al
     
  17. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Hey thanks Pete! Appreciate the tip. I don't know a thing about these gadgets so I've got some homework to do.

    One question if I may: Do you recommend using an external microphone with this unit or is the internal one good enough?
     
  19. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The internal mic is extremely good. The pocket-sized Edirol is very simple to operate and the sound quality is perfect at the high bit rates.

    I recorded the latter two with my Edirol R-09; the 10/1 was (unfortunately as this is my best performance of it to date) was recorded on one of those tiny, cheap mp3 recorders.

    You get what you pay for.

    Pete
     

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