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"Für Elise" (German for For Elise) is the common name of the "Bagatelle in A minor", written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1810. The song was written for a lady called Therese (nicknamed Elise) that Beethoven wanted to marry in 1810. Therese did not want to marry him.
Some say that she was in fact his student who was very mediocre and he, therefore, wanted to compose something which was simple, yet profound. In the midst of composing it, she refused to marry him and he therefore made the subsequent verses so difficult that she could never play it.
The piece of music, which was written for the piano, was not published until 1865, a long time after Beethoven’s death. It is one of the most well-known pieces of piano music in the world. Many young pianists want to learn to play it.
The piece is in rondo form. There is a main section (A) which appears three times. Between these three sections there are two other sections (B and C), so the form of the piece can be described as: A B A C A.
The main section has a time signature of 3/8. It is based on arpeggios which flow from one hand to the other. This is the section that many beginner pianists want to play. The two middle sections are harder to play at the correct speed. They have fast scales, arpeggios and left hand demisemiquavers (32nd notes).
- Für Elise - and other Beethoven resources (includes the free sheet music)