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Für Elise (Beethoven) , Part 3

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Hello and welcome. I'm Joseph Hoffman and
today we are going to learn one of the
most famous classical pieces of all time
“Für Elise”. The great Ludwig van Beethoven
composed “Für Elise” a little over 200 years
ago in Vienna, and then dedicated it to a
mysterious woman named Elise. In German
“Für Elise” means for Elise, and who was
this woman Elise. No one knows, but as you
listen to “Für Elise”, you can get some
hints about how Beethoven felt about her.
By the end of this video you're going to
be playing one of the most famous,
beloved classical piano pieces of all
time. By the way this “Für Elise” tutorial
is my intermediate Level Four tutorial,
which is ideal for anyone with about four
or more years experience with piano. In
this tutorial we'll be learning
Beethoven's original version of the “Für Elise”
main theme. To help you master this song,
I highly recommend that you get the
accompanying sheet music for this
tutorial, which is available for purchase
online at the Hoffman Academy store. Or, if
you're a Premium Member of Hoffman Academy, the
sheet music is free included with your
premium membership. If you have less than
three or four years experience, you may
want to check out my easy, Level One
tutorial or my super easy Preparatory
Level tutorial. Finally, if you're a
really experienced pianist with five or six
years of training or more, and you'd like
to learn Beethoven's full, advanced
version of “Für Elise”, which is much
longer and has four additional sections,
then check out my Level Six tutorial. Ok,
let's come to the piano and start
learning. So, first let's check out the
sheet music, and one thing that's
different about my tutorials, is I love
to analyze the music before I start to
learn to play it and you'll find that
that's useful. You'll actually be able to
learn it faster if you understand what
the chords are and how they're working
together to build the music then you'll
be able to learn it and memorize it
faster. So,
you see here in the beginning this
opening, main “Für Elise” theme, but then
starting right here as we get to that A,
now we've got this kind of arpeggio. Not
kind of, it is an arpeggio which actually
is a chord. And then it goes to this
measure, which arpeggiate's through another
chord, which leads to this measure, which
arpeggiate's yet another chord. So, what I'd
like you to do is figure out what are
those chords. Now, if you don't know how
to analyze chords that's okay, just
figure out the letter names of each note.
So I'd like you to pause the video, and
if you have the sheet music, which I
recommend that you download from our
website and there's a link below this
video where you can do that, get the
sheet music for this lesson and write in
the letter names of the notes you see in
these three measures, press pause to
figure out those notes, and if you can't
figure out the chords do that too, and
then press play and I'll go over the
answer with you.
Okay, let's check out this first measure
that I asked you to analyze and here are
all the letter names of those notes, and
you'll notice kind of a pattern. They're
all A's and C's and E's, and they're kind of in
somewhat of a mixed up order, but if you
put those three letters together, that is
the A-minor chord, which is the key of
“Für Elise”, so we could also call that the
i chord, which is written like this in
roman numerals. We use lowercase because
it's minor. Now, going on to this measure,
here are the correct answers for all the
And you'll see again some patterns we've
E E G-sharp E G-sharp B. E G-sharp B is the E-major chord, which we can write like this,
and the roman numeral is V. That is
the V chord, called so because E is a
fifth above A so a is our root or tonic
of the i chord, and E is the root of
the V chord, which is also called the
dominant. So we have tonic, to dominant, and
then in this measure, what do we have?
Here are the letter names for those
notes. Once again you'll see all these
A's and C's and E's. What chord is that? Well
that's our tonic or i chord again. Or A-minor, chords have a lot of names, we could
call that tonic or i or A-minor. We're in
the key of A-minor so that makes it the
i chord. Okay so from the beginning, say
it with me i chord, V chord,
i chord. And then you'll see on this
next line, once again i chord, V chord,
and then these two notes don't really,
well this C doesn't belong in the chord, but
then we go to the B, and then back to the
i chord. Good, now I'd like you to write in
your music those harmonies. Write in both
the roman numeral, the i, again which
stands for tonic, and the A-minor symbol
which is capital A little 'm', and then for
all the V chords write in a capital V,
roman numeral V, and capital E for E-
major. So, press pause, write those chord symbols in your music,
then press play to go on.
Next let's learn how to play the right
hand part. Okay, we start with finger 4 on
E. I'll play through just this first
section once, and then I'll have you
press pause and try it on your own.
First ending,
Good, and from the beginning I
want you to be in the habit of floating
your wrists up at the end of each phrase.
Notice how that will make that last note
gentle. Instead of hammering the last
note of the phrase, use your wrist to
make that really beautiful. Float up, float
up, float up. Now, press pause and work on
that entire section just right hand
alone. Be careful to follow the
fingerings, and use the chords that we
figured out to help you think about and
memorize more quickly the notes that
you're playing. Pause to work on that
section on your own, then press play to
go on.
Now, let's look at the left hand part,
again thinking of the chords and the
harmonies that you're doing will help
you learn these patterns more quickly. We
start with the i chord, but instead of
playing it like this, we're
skipping the third of the chord, which is
the C, and going straight from the root,
to the fifth, root, with a 5 2 1
fingering. 5 2 1, and then going on to
the dominant chord or the V chord, we
come down to this low E, reach up an
octave, and then finger 2 is going to
glide over to that G-sharp. Remember we're
playing an E-major chord here, but we're
skipping over all the notes in between
the first two E's, E E and then G-sharp.
So try that for me now. Let's go back to
the i chord, try this.
A E A, and then E E G-sharp, then back to
A E A. Now press pause and try those three
measures until you're comfortable with
it, then press play to go on.
Okay, now as far as the left hand goes, if you go
on to line two, you'll see we have the
same pattern again. We have A E A, and
then E E G-sharp for the V chord.
Then back to the i chord pattern. Okay, so
we already know that, then when we get to
the second ending, which by the way in
case you forgot, we do the first ending
the first time, then it repeats back to
the beginning. Then when we get here the
second time we skip the first ending and
go straight to the second ending, and now
we have this new theme. The right hand
steps up, and we get a couple of new
chords now. So we're going to analyze
some more chords. I'd like you to press
pause, and figure out the letters for all
the notes in these three measures, but
ignore the note that's shaded out, because
that note actually doesn't belong to the
chord. It's called an appoggiatura. Listen,
see this note right here? That note
isn't part of the chord, it just kind of
creates some feeling by reaching actually
one note above the chord note, which is
this E. That's really beautiful isn't it?
It's called an appoggiatura,
so leave out that note in each measure,
the note that's shaded out, and figure
out the letters for all the other notes
and see if you can figure out what chord
that is too. Press pause to try analyzing
the notes and chords, and then press play
to go on
Okay, so in this measure we have C's
and E's and G's, and what chord does that make if
we put C E and G together?
That's a C-major chord. C plus E plus G put together
in any order always makes a C-major
chord. The order doesn't really matter,
although you'll usually find the root of
the chord, which is C in this case, on the
bottom. That's the most common, otherwise it's an
inversion. So that's the C major chord
and then here we have G's and B's and D's and an F. If you put G plus B
plus D plus F together, that makes a G7
chord. So we have a C major, to G7, back
to, what do we get here? We have A and C
and E. What does that make? That's our i
chord or tonic. Okay, so if we're doing roman
numerals, that C chord could be the III
chord in A-minor, and then this G7
We could call a V7/III which
is really how it's functioning here, or we
could say that temporarily we transposed
or modulated to the key of C. So it's kind
of like a i and V7. Now you could argue
how to analyze the roman numerals. So
let's say just for now that that's a C-major going to a G7, and then that brings
us back to our A-minor, and then here,
look we just have this one B and then a
whole bunch of E's. A whole bunch of
E's. E E E E E E E E E. E's up the piano. Which I would
call a V chord, even though there's no G
sharp, it kind of implies that chord
there. Okay, now press pause and let's go
ahead and write those chord symbols in
your sheet music so you can have that to
reference. And again I think this will
help you memorize and learn this song
faster to know what chord you're playing.
Now let's try to actually play this, so
as we come out of the second ending, our
finger 1 will have to shift up to B,
and then we just step up to E, and
then we've got this beautiful pattern
where we come down to G, then up a seventh,
step down, step down. We go down to F, up a
seventh, step down, step down, then E, up a
seventh, step down, step down. You see that
pattern? In music that's called a
sequence where you have the same pattern
repeating either going down by steps, or
going up by steps, so the pattern first
starts on G, we do the same pattern on F,
up at 7th two step downs, then E up a
seventh, step down, step down. So effective,
isn't that amazingly beautiful how
Beethoven does that?
Such brilliant and simple composing. I
think Beethoven was such a genius at
making things so exquisite and simple at
the same time. Now after you finish that
sequence, the right hand is going to go E
E, then the left hand takes a turn, then
E E, one octave up. Let's go ahead and press
pause and work on that section right
hand alone, then press play to go on.
Okay, let's check out the left hand. Now
for this section we have C G C. So again
we're kind of going through this
arpeggio up a fifth, then up another fourth. Can
you try that? C G C, use fingers 5 2 1, C G
C. Then we go to our G chord so we're
going to go G, up an octave to G, and then
to B. So use finger 5 1, then just glide
finger 2 over. Okay, once again we have C G C, and the right hand plays, then G G B.
Good, then we come back to A E A, and now
here's the trickiest part maybe in this
whole piece, where we go 5 down here
on this low E, E and then quickly but
gracefully we've got to glide finger 2
all the way up to this E. 5 1 2 and
you're going to use pedal here. And I
want you to do this probably, I don't
know, a hundred times until you're just
really comfortable. You're going to have
to eventually be able to do this pretty
quickly, but really delicately and that's
the trick, you know? It's one thing to be able to
play fast and loud, and kind of hammer your
way through it, but it's got to be gentle.
So think of staying flexible in your
wrist and just floating your finger 2
over to that E. 5 1 2 5 1 2
5 1 2.
Now there are other possible fingerings
for this, but as I've experimented with
different ones, this is the one that will
give you the most gentle sound. When I'm
choosing a fingering, I'm always thinking
what is going to give me the sound I'm
looking for, not just what will get the
job done. When you're cooking it's not
just about, how am I going to feed myself,
it's how can I make this delicious? And
so when we're playing this, now we want
it to sound beautiful with the fingering.
So try 5 1 2. Press pause and just
do that till you feel like you can do it
in your sleep, and gently and delicately
again gliding over, and then press play to
go on.
Now after your left hand does that, then
it comes up here into treble clef. Notice
that treble clef symbol, and that means
you're coming up here and you play two
more E's. And then the right hand plays it's
really high E's.
Okay, so now let's put this whole section
together just left hand. We have C G C, and then
G G B, then A E A, and then the E's, E E E then
right hand's turn. Good now, press
pause and put all of that left-hand part
together. Then press play to go on.
Now, hands together that's going to work
like this.
Right hand, left hand. And then we get to this
part where the hands take turns on D-sharp E D-sharp E D-sharp E. Left
hand, right hand, left hand, playing the exact
same two notes, but you switch hands just
to kind of make it look fancy.
Who knows what Beethoven was thinking. I
mean you could have just put that all in
one hand, but that would get boring. So he's
going left hand, right hand, and I like to slow
down a little bit there like you're kind
of searching a little bit for something,
and then it brings you back to the main
theme. And here we go again.
Then it repeats back.
Slowing down a little bit.
Now here is one of the changes to a
Note that D, a lot of students neglect
that. Got to be careful of little changes
that happen. That D goes up to C and then
the song finishes with this A-minor
chord. Now, you should know that this is
just the A section of Beethoven's
original “Für Elise”, which actually has
two more full complete sections, which
put together, you know, it makes a much longer song.
This is the main theme only of “Für Elise”
but it's not Beethoven's
original. It's just the first section.
It's the original form of the main theme,
but in the full version, which you can
get in another one of my tutorials,
you'll learn how to play the full piece,
which has you know this section, which
doesn't even sound like “Für Elise”,
but it's actually part of “Für Elise”. And
then it has this other cool section.
So, if you want a real challenge, it's
harder, those two other sections are
probably harder than what you just
learned today, but when you're ready for
that challenge that will be waiting for
you. By the way, the full version “Für Elise”
is a Level Six tutorial. Just so
you're ready for that. Last thing I want
to talk about before I turn you loose to
learn this and work on it, is how to
pedal “Für Elise”. One of the common
mistakes I hear students make in “Für Elise”
is too much pedal. You know, I'll hear
know, just this bleeding pedal. Beethoven
in a lot of regards, was a classical
composer. You know, he kind of bridged the
Classical period and the Romantic, and by
the Romantic period we're using lots of
pedal, but in the Classical period
stylistically, using very little petal is
usually best, and so in this piece I
encourage you to not over pedal. I would
encourage you to only pedal the first
three notes that the left hand plays and
lift the pedal as the right hand begins
to play. So these notes of the melody can
be really clean and clear. Pedal, lift, pedal,
pedal, lift, pedal, and definitely don't pedal
through this part, or it'll just, you know, hearing
that E and the D-sharp in the same pedal
is just atrocious if you ask me. Okay, because
we're hearing that clash, you know so
clean through here, pedal down, pedal up, down, up, down.
Down, up, down. okay, so with your pedaling, just be
careful about that. When you get to all
these E's, I would pedal through the
whole thing, you know, so you just
continue to hear that low E, even as you
get to the high E. And then lift as you
get to the D-sharp. Last thing I want to
talk about is dynamics and expression.
“Für Elise” is marked pianissimo at the
beginning and it never even gets to a
forte. At the highest we get to a mezzo
forte here, but then it immediately
starts diminuendo-ing here. I would
never get very loud. You're going to have
some phrasing where it's going to swell
a little bit in the middle of the phrase,
but then come back down.
It needs to be played with a lot of
tenderness and sensitivity. Now let's put
all of that together and hear of full
performance of this main theme of “Für Elise”
Great job learning how to play the main
theme for Beethoven's “Für Elise”. Happy
practicing and see you next time.
Hey would you two like to hear an interesting story about “Für Elise”? You
bet ya! Sure! Okay, well “Für Elise” has become so
famous over the years that I imagine
there are very few people on the entire
planet who haven't heard it. In fact, when
I lived on the other side of the Pacific
Ocean in Korea for a couple of years, and
this is a true story, I found out that
they had invented a very special way to
let you know that it was time to take
out your trash. The garbage truck had a
loudspeaker that would play music. Oh,
like on an ice-cream truck?
Yes, like an ice-cream truck, except you
wouldn't want to eat anything out of
this truck. Ew! Yuck, gross! Well, as the garbage truck
drove around every week, guess what
melody it would play over and over as a
drove around picking up your trash? What?
“Für Elise”! What? you mean that beautiful
song was like, the trash anthem? Yeah, I
don't know how Beethoven would feel
about his piece being used as the theme
for taking out your garbage! Indeed! So
it'd be like singing ♫Truck is coming
please take out your trash!♫ ♫Take out your
trash!♫ ♫Take out your trash!♫
Did I just hear my favorite song?
What? Hey, trash can appreciate true
musical beauty too you know.