Sheet Music: Für Elise

TitleFür Elise
Bagatelle in A minor
Alternate titlesLa Lettre à Élise
Opus numberWoO 59, Bia 515
ComposerLudwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyA minor
Time signature3/8
Tempo144 BPM
Performance time2:40
Difficulty leveladvanced
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (86 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (1.3 MB)
Date added2009-08-20
Last updated2009-08-20
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 10.7 (extremely popular)
Romantic, Rondos


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Thursday 20 August 2009

Tune of the Day: Für Elise

Flute transcription of the Bagatelle in A minor by Ludwig van Beethoven

Among Beethoven's most popular compositions, the Bagatelle in A minor for solo piano, marked poco moto (“little motion”) was composed around 1810, when the composer was 40 years old and already firmly established as one of the greatest composers of all time. The piece is named “Für Elise” (which is German for “For Elise”) because a Beethoven researcher claimed to have seen this dedication on an old manuscript which has been missing since. The name “Elise” has been the cause of some speculation. It's a well known fact that Beethoven didn't have any luck when it came to marriage. At the time the piece was written he was in love with Therese Malfatti, who was one of several women to turn down his marriage proposal. Some scholars have speculated that the title was misread from “Therese” to “Elise” because of Beethoven's terrible handwriting, and that the piece was actually dedicated to Therese, who was studying under the maestro at the time. This is however quite a far stretch, and thus not a definitive answer to the riddle.

A few words about the transcription. While the beginning of the piece is easy to play, the middle section may actually prove very challenging, due to rapid interval jumps. Near the end the piece also features a gorgeous run of triplets that reaches the fourth octave of the flute. A wonderful exercise in flexibility.