Robert Estrin - piano expert

How to play Fur Elise

Interesting insights to approach one of the most famous piano pieces

In this video, Robert tackles Beethoven's famous "Fur Elise" by synthesizing two basic tips that you can also apply and extend to other repertoire.

Released on September 4, 2013

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome. I'm Robert Estrin with and Today's show, tips for approaching Beethoven Fur Elise. Now, many of you know Beethoven's Fur Elise is a very famous piece. And you know, a lot of people will start playing it, and everything sounds fine until they get to the middle section. And then suddenly, they're going way slower because what happens is the notes get much faster later. Now Beethoven, in all his wisdom, marked the tempo "con moto," with motion, but not fast, not allegro. So you want to have a relaxed tempo of Fur Elise so that the change to the middle section, you can accomplish. So here is a more appropriate tempo for you for Fur Elise. That way, when you get to the middle section, it's not so hair-raising.

So it all fits together seamlessly. So the mistake you don't want to make is starting the piece too fast and then having to sound labored and slower in the middle section. Those will make a big difference. Now, another thing I really want to suggest to you is to count. This piece is in three-eight time. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people play it when they play it the wrong number of . . . You really have to count to know how many repetitions of the D-sharps to Es there are. Go through your score and count it out. Use the metronome so you can match tempos with the first section and the faster middle section, and you should do great with Fur Elise.

Thank you for joining me, Robert Estrin here at and Until next time.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Richard on September 3, 2021 @9:35 am PST
Hi Robert. Enjoy your insights. I have been at this piece for awhile, i first watched a video of some prodigy-type playing at breakneck speed. So i swore off watching anymore kids! Then i viewed an adult, also very fast. Then, at last a video that spoke to me and my own style (i also play guitar, organ, voice), pretty much as you describe here. I still have not conquered the middle, but at least my interpretation was validated! Btw, yes i counted out all those D#-E's at first, and actually i still think there are too many! But i am not the composer Smiley Face). Keep up the good work. Richard
Robert - host, on September 3, 2021 @11:24 am PST
Funny! I am thinking about making a paid video series covering,
"How to Play Fur Elise". I'm wondering how much that would be worth to someone like you.
Richard on September 16, 2021 @5:11 pm PST
Hi Robert
Sorry for the long delay, we have been travelling.
To directly answer your question, I personally would probably not pay for such a video: I have been around music my entire life, know what I like, know how I like to interpret music. Beyond that, I am interested in others interpretations, but it ends there.

That being said, I feel you might have a very good market for such a video, esp among parents of young students interested in their advancement.

My best wishes for your effort!
H on October 6, 2020 @4:51 am PST
Thanks for this post. I am so annoyed. I have one copy of the piece which the timing as 6/8 (maybe thatbis the easier version with eighth notes) and another Copy with the full version which has the timing as 4/8. Luckily I have not started work on that. How on earth would I have counted that. Now I see the timing *is* 3/8 With sixteenth notes and not eighth notes. I have been counting it 123456 instead of 1&2&3&. I will change immediately. I have downloaded the virtual sheet music version. Thank you. Very much for all your videos. Regards.
Robert - host, on October 6, 2020 @11:10 am PST
You will be well served with the Virtual Sheet Music edition!
Dorinda on May 22, 2015 @1:15 pm PST
I just received the link to this the other day, and what great timing! I have a student who has been working on it and wants to play it for our recital next week but isn't ready. I passed this video on to her for some food for thought. Thank you.
justin jay on September 14, 2013 @8:40 pm PST
how to play mordent ?
Robert Estrin - host, on September 16, 2013 @12:14 pm PST
This is a good topic for a future video. Please watch for it!
Guy-Robert Porter * VSM MEMBER * on September 4, 2013 @4:04 pm PST
I would enjoy a discussion of the third part of the Pathetique, where the melody moves down the keyboard. And also... all of your videos are truly superb. Great lessons, wonderful tips. Keep 'em coming.
Robert - host, on September 5, 2013 @1:34 pm PST
There is a Pathetique tutorial video in the works which you may be hearing about.
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