analytical Q Compositions Arrangements Sample MUSIC

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Variations on Beethoven's Für Elise

by Anne Ku

The first tune I heard this morning was Beethoven's Für Elise. It is such a classic. It's always hard to play a familiar piece like this - to get it wrong, I mean. Why not play a variation of it?

My friend Helmut had sent me a variation on Für Elise superimposed with the popular Happy Birthday tune, which I had also earlier re-arranged. This time, I wanted to see where my initution would lead me.

It's as if I didn't get enough of composing - after a fun piece for my cat and a melodic one last week for the newly weds.

The hard part was to select the time - my usual 4/4 or something else. I chose 3/4 and then realised that this variation could easily blend into another piece I wrote, but February Sun was mistakenly casted as 4/4 beat. Perhaps my other tunes should be re-timed? One should never assume that it's automatically 4/4 time.

Later I invited my neighbour to listen to my new pieces. I suppose, my arrangement on Für Elise sounds like I'm making mistakes on the original theme. If it wasn't for my internal self-discipline telling me to stop while I'm ahead, I would continue. How about a jazzy variation or a counterpoint variation? Beethoven arranged a collection of variations on other people's themes. Why shouldn't I?

12 November 2000