Fur Elise Sheet Music, Part I and now Part II!

At the end of the school year, I like to give my music students songs to have fun with over the summer, if they will be taking a break.  One of the pieces I've received requests for this spring is Für Elise. "But... is there an easier version?" spoken with wide eyes. 

Yes, I've transcribed all of Für Elise with quarter notes! Students are excited to know they can gradually work into the original piece without battling the sixteenth notes.

There are two versions of this six-page transcription.  One is very plain, with no phrase marks, fingerings, or dynamic markings, and the other has all those things.  Take a look at pages 1, 2, and 5... this transcription is so easy to read, but has every note from Beethoven's original.

Fur Elise in 6/4 time

Page 2 shows the plain version, free of extra markings.  Very easy to read:

Fur Elise with easy-to-read quarter notes

Note the nicely legible shift to left hand treble clef at the bottom of page 2, and the tidy ornamental notes in measure 32.

Page 5 of Fur Elise with quarter notes

The full arrangement of Fur Elise is six pages long.  It is for sale for $5.00 US.  The purchase includes 12 pages - the plain copy and the copy with phrase marks, fingering and dynamics.

Buy Für Elise with quarter notes, 2 versions, $5.00

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With your one-time purchase of Für Elise with quarter notes comes my permission to make unlimited copies for your students.

Some notes & tips on Für Elise:

Note stem directions are likely to puzzle your students.  The rules are fairly flexible for those notes in the middle of the staff, of course; they will want to go the same direction as the majority of their companion notes if they are beamed together.  When there are no beams (as is the case with most of this quarter-note version of Für Elise), then they tend to follow the rule of "head above the middle line, stems down" and "head below the middle line, stems up." 

In Für Elise, however, there are several passages where the left hand jumps up into treble clef territory, and even competes for some of the same notes that the right hand is playing: in those places, I have flipped the stem directions so that LH (left hand) is always down, and RH (right hand) is always up:

One of the tricky rhythmic sections that comes close to the end of Für Elise starts at measure 80.  The pulse becomes triplets - 9 quarter notes per measure instead of 6 - and when you come OFF of that pattern in measure 85 it is easy to continue with the feeling of triplets! I believe it is best to prepare students (or oneself!) for this shift by thinking of 6/4 = 3/2... 3 beats per measure, as Beethoven actually wrote it.  In measure 84, I am counting "one-is-a, two-is-a, three-is-a" and as I go into measure 85 I count "one-AND, two-and, three-and"!

Triplets in Fur Elise

A handy trick for making this obvious to your student is tapping; left hand is tapping 3  long beats, "ONE, TWO, THREE..." and right hand joins in, first by matching ("ONE, TWO, THREE,"), and then by beating 2 taps for every one tap of left hand ("ONE-and, TWO-and, THREE-and), and finally, tapping 3 times for every left hand tap ("ONE-is-a, TWO-is-a, THREE-is-a...").  I like to alternate back and forth between the type of taps.  Even with this kind of coaching, it may still take time for this rhythm shift to feel natural to your student.

Some suggested fingering is given.  With the long descending chromatic scale at the end, I have given just a few "1-3-1-3-2-1" fingerings; it is better to teach your student the technique of a chromatic scale to apply here than try to dictate each individual finger.  They OUGHT to memorize their fingering and duplicate it exactly each time, but it is harder to look at the page than at their fast-moving fingers.  That is why I wrote "etc." on page 5.

No pedal marks in this music - you must help your student decide.

Buy Für Elise with quarter notes, 2 versions, $5.00

Buy Now

With your one-time purchase of Für Elise with quarter notes comes my permission to make unlimited copies for your students.

Part 1, below, is still free.  

Für Elise sheet music, part 1, is the perfect classical music for students who've just mastered coordination of right hand melody against left hand broken chords.  The Beethoven Für Elise sheet music is also well-recognized and loved, sometimes even by kids who don't know any other classical music!

Fur Elise sheet music for kids, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Of course, the student needs to be capable of reaching an octave, and they need to understand -- or be very familiar with -- basic chord structure. They also need to be able to read notes from below the bass staff to the top of the treble staff. But if they are comfortable with these things, then there are some features about Fur Elise, even in the original version, that make PART ONE easy to play.  

First, the hands take turns! The RH begins its sinuous melody, and on the last note of the phrase, the LH chimes in and takes over. Right hand, then left hand. Then right hand again.

Second, the patterns of the LH are repeatable and predictable. The i and V chords of Am in an octave stretch, then an octave plus a third, back to an octave stretch. Repeat. On page 2, move briefly to the key of C I and V chords using the same octave stretch and octave plus a third, then back to the i and V chords of Am again. Easy.

Third, this is a very familiar piece of classical music, one your student has almost surely heard before, and they will likely be very excited to learn it.

easy piano songs for kids Fur Elise part 1, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Download Fur Elise sheet music

Does the music look funny? Well, of course -- I changed the 3/8 timing to 3/4. 6/4, really. I'm not going to apologize. It sounds exactly right, because mathematically it IS right, and guess what? My younger students can count it! No guesswork, and no having to rely on a recording. Later on, when they're ready for Part 2 and beyond, they'll read the Beethoven Fur Elise sheet music the way he wrote it, with sixteenth notes.

If your students aren't ready for the big-hand stuff yet, they might be interested in the version below, which features the melody, shared between both hands. No chords. (This could be turned into a duet, with them on melody, and you playing the missing chords.)

Easy version of Fur Elise, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Easy Fur Elise Beethoven music page 2, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Download free classical sheet music Fur Elise easy melody 

Because the hands are in an unusual position, some kids will struggle making their left hand "obey." Shake them out of their routine! This is a good way to gradually transition from the Middle C Fur Elise sheet music version to the real thing, especially for kids who love Fur Elise! A lot of them do, and won't mind playing 3 different versions in 3 years.

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