Learn Beethoven's Fur Elise on Piano
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Learn Beethoven's Fur Elise on Piano

Learn the Beethoven classic by ear on piano in 15 minutes!
4.3 (12 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,749 students enrolled
Created by Ozie Cargile
Last updated 9/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
5 hours left at this price!
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  • 27 mins on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • How to play Für Elise on piano
  • How to play the A minor scale and chords
View Curriculum
  • A piano
  • Basic knowledge of the instrument
  • 15 minutes!

Beethoven’s Für Elise is a piano favorite not only for its magnificence in composition, but also for its accessibility to beginner and intermediate piano students. You can learn to play this piece, and this video tutorial will show you how!

Keep in mind, this course presumes that you have a basic knowledge of piano. However, reference videos for the piano basics that you need to know are included. This course also includes an easy-piano download of the sheet music.

If you enjoy this piano lesson, be sure to sign-up for the complete Quicklessons Piano Course taught by award-winning composer/pianist Ozie Cargile at udemy.com/quicklessons.

Who is the target audience?
  • Beginner and intermediate piano students
  • Piano and music teachers looking for reference materials
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Curriculum For This Course
How to play Für Elise
2 Lectures 14:28

The score was not published until 1867, 40 years after the composer's death in 1827. The discoverer of the piece, Ludwig Nohl, affirmed that the original autographed manuscript, now lost, was dated 27 April 1810.

The version of "Für Elise" we hear today is an earlier version that was transcribed by Ludwig Nohl. There is a later version, with drastic changes to the accompaniment which was transcribed from a later manuscript by Barry Cooper. The most notable difference is in the first theme, the left-hand arpeggios are delayed by a 16th note beat. There are a few extra bars in the transitional section into the B section; and finally, the rising A minor arpeggio figure is moved later into the piece. The tempo marking Poco moto is believed to have been on the manuscript that Ludwig Nohl transcribed (now lost). The later version includes the marking Molto grazioso. It is believed that Beethoven intended to add the piece to a cycle of bagatelles

Therese Malfatti, widely believed to be the dedicatee of "Für Elise"

The pianist and musicologist Luca Chiantore (es) argued in his thesis and his 2010 book Beethoven al piano that Beethoven might not have been the person who gave the piece the form that we know today. Chiantore suggested that the original signed manuscript, upon which Ludwig Nohl claimed to base his transcription, may never have existed. On the other hand, the musicologist Barry Cooper stated, in a 1984 essay in The Musical Times, that one of two surviving sketches closely resembles the published version

It is not certain who "Elise" was. Max Unger suggested that Ludwig Nohl may have transcribed the title incorrectly and the original work may have been named "Für Therese", a reference to Therese Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza (1792–1851). She was a friend and student of Beethoven's to whom he proposed in 1810, though she turned him down to marry the Austrian nobleman and state official Wilhelm von Droßdik in 1816.

According to a 2010 study by Klaus Martin Kopitz (de), there is evidence that the piece was written for the German soprano singer Elisabeth Röckel (1793–1883), later the wife of Johann Nepomuk Hummel. "Elise", as she was called by a parish priest (she called herself "Betty" too), had been a friend of Beethoven's since 1808. In the meantime, the Austrian musicologist Michael Lorenz has shown that Rudolf Schachner, who in 1851 inherited Therese von Droßdik's musical scores, was the illegitimate son of Babette Bredl (who in 1865 let Nohl copy the autograph in her possession). Thus the autograph must have come to Babette Bredl from Therese von Droßdik's estate and Kopitz's hypothesis is refuted.

In 2012, the Canadian musicologist Rita Steblin suggested that Juliane Katharine Elisabet Barensfeld (de), who used "Elise" as a variant first name, might be the dedicatee. Born in Regensburg and treated for a while as child prodigy, she first travelled on concert tours with Beethoven's friend Johann Nepomuk Mälzel, also from Regensburg, and then lived with him for some time in Vienna where she received singing lessons from Antonio Salieri. Steblin argues that Beethoven dedicated this work to the 13-year-old Elise Barensfeld as a favour to Therese Malfatti who lived opposite Mälzel's and Barensfeld's residence and who might have given her piano lessons. Steblin admits that question marks remain for her hypothesis.


Preview 14:28

Für Elise Sheet Music
2 pages
Reference Videos
3 Lectures 07:39

Almost every modern piano has 52 white keys and 36 black keys for a total of 88 keys (seven octaves plus a minor third, from A0 to C8). Many older pianos only have 85 keys (seven octaves from A0 to A7). The highest-quality piano manufacturers extend the range further in one or both directions.


Names of piano keys

A minor (abbreviated Am) is a minor scale based on A, consisting of the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The harmonic minor scale raises the G to G♯. Its key signature has no flats or sharps (see below: Scales and keys). Its relative major is C major, and its parallel major is A major.


A minor scale

in this video you will learn the A minor triads

A minor triads
Quicklessons Piano Course Preview
1 Lecture 04:35

Sign-up for the complete Quicklessons Piano Course taught by Ozie Cargile at udemy.com/quicklessons.

Preview 04:35
About the Instructor
Ozie Cargile
4.6 Average rating
284 Reviews
8,713 Students
2 Courses

Ozie Cargile is a composer from Detroit, Michigan. At eleven, his music teacher sparked his interest in music whereupon he taught himself to play the piano. Greatly inspired by the pieces of John Williams (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park...) and other legendary composers, Cargile decided to advance his studies in composition and orchestration at the University of Michigan School of Music. Clearly following the simple yet powerful advice once given to him by the late Jerry Goldsmith (“Study.”), he earned a Bachelor of Music Composition with a principle degree in piano performance.

In 2011, his choral orchestral work Song for Humanity was premiered by the Boulder Symphony of Boulder, Colorado in collaboration with the 150-voice Boulder Chorale as a precursor to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In the same year, he joined the open, collaborative production company HitRECord, founded by actor/director Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Since then, Cargile has written a notable number of records for different projects on HitRECord and frequently does collaborations with fellow “HitRECorders”. For example, Cargile scored Strawberry Bootlaces, which premiered at Sundance 2012, and a number of animated shorts for the Emmy Award winning HitRECord on TV, which airs on Pivot Cable Television.

Renowned Orchestras such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York have performed several of his other works. He also serves as the composer-in-residence for the Tribute to Black Pioneers in Music Performance, an operatic concert series produced by Fredrick Peterbark in collaboration with universities and symphonies across the country.

Throughout the years, Cargile has studied with several distinguished composers including Michael Daugherty, Erik Santos, Susan Botti and Bright Sheng. Recently, he successfully completed the “Hollywood Music Workshop” in Austria, where he took classes in orchestration and arranging with Conrad Pope and Nan Schwartz.

Cargile sees it as a musician’s duty to raise consciousness about important issues concerning humanity and is convinced that this can only be done through strategic promotion and social networking. While partaking in various different projects, he constantly works on improving himself, on getting more knowledgeable and on meeting new people.