Piano songs playing tips - Fur Elise

Applying the weight of the arms to play piano songs without strain results in smooth and clear rendition freeing up oneself to explore one's creativity in articulation and expressiveness

Ebb and flow of piano songs

...<<< from previous page...

It opens doors to a myriad of other opportunities to explore your talents, such as articulation. When I began learning to play the piano I was content with just being able to know how to play.  

Being an adult student who also needed to keep a job, my expectations were very low.  

To my surprise I was able to absorb the lessons with ease, so I began to have higher expectations. One aim was being able to articulate the piano songs as beautiful as I could – a bona fide musician. 

Articulation calls for a good understanding of the structure of music and its ebb and flow. For instance let’s take a look at the first bar of the excerpt below, Image 2 taken from Fur Elise.


In the bass clef the note E appears three times. Twice at a higher octave compared to the previous one. The melody then continues in the same pattern.


  • What? - Eliminate strain

  • Why? - Clear articulation
  • How? - Weight playing

A wide length of space separates the notes, causing the need to open your hands wide and stretch the fingers to reach them.

The strain afflicted on the muscles in the fingers and arms disturb the evenness in the ebb and flow of the musical phrase.

Thus wreaking havoc on the tone you wished to produce and ruining the articulation.

To reduce strain, the shoulders, forearms, wrists, hands and fingers have to be in a state of relaxation. The term ‘relax’ is confusing when it comes to talking about learning how to play the piano. How can you accomplish anything if you are relaxing? To answer that exact question its definition has to be redefined. ‘Relax’ does not mean to take a rest from doing something. It means not having to use excessive strenuous force to play a certain note or land a finger on a specific key. 

The solution is weight playing. Using the weight of the arms distributed to the fingers to play is a technique effective in reducing strain. Keep your wrists loose, hands close to the keyboard – instead of clumsily attempting to poke at the keys, coax the notes out of the piano with the weight of the arms, letting gravity do the work.

Lucid rendition of piano songs

The pianist is left to be tasked with controlling the flow of the tempo, keeping it moving in a smooth continuous stream. Stumbling midway disrupts its smoothness, a proactive action that can be taken is to count the beats, i.e 1 beat-count for a crotchet, 2 for a minim.

It inculcates the sense of timing in executing the notes precisely. As a consequence, evenly smoothening the flow of the tempo in the musical phrase.

“There are not more than 5 musical notes yet the combination of these 5 give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard” – The Art Of War, by Sun Tzu (544 – 496 B.C)

Although they are nothing more than the ordinary 7 notes, the first 2 bars of the LH accompaniment and RH melody in Image 3 taken from Fur Elise is a beautiful example of making use the full range of musical notes found in an octave, brilliantly arranged by Beethoven to create a unique listening experience.


What a shame it would be if such a gem of a musical phrase were to be squandered? Render it with clarity by coordinating the movements of the RH and LH well. Good coordination can be accomplished by playing the melody with the RH and ‘shadow’ it with the LH.


  • What? - Left and right hand ccordination
  • Why? - Smooth flow of notes
  • How? - Shadow playing

Meaning to say, go through the motions of playing the accompaniment in the LH without actually touching the keys. As a result hand coordination between both hands are practiced, but you are able to evaluate the clarity of the sound production in the melody being played with the RH, thus able to make corrections accordingly.

Once you are satisfied with the outcome switch roles, play the accompaniment with the LH and ‘shadow’ it with the RH. A lucid rendition clear as crystal consequently follows, when melody and accompaniment are played together.

continue reading next page >>>

Return from 'Piano songs playing tips - Fur Elise' to all-piano-online Home

You may also like...

How to play demanding passages with ease

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” - Abraham Lincoln.

...The time that I have to practise the piano is limited. Every practise session is precious to me, so I jealously guard the time that I have for practising. I switch off my phone to deny distractions, fight the temptation to make visits to the refrigerator every 15 minutes and eat enough food to give me strength to practise continuously for two hours - small things that have had a huge impact on the effectiveness of my practise sessions...learn more about playing piano songs continue reading the full article >>>

3 essential steps towards piano learning success

Find a good teacher, know your theory and practise everyday. These three steps will help an aspiring pianist lay the foundation towards musical success.

...as you learn new songs you will develop a taste for a certain style or have a small number of favourite composers that you love, a piano teacher has a duty to let you grow into a pianist with an open mind. By promoting individuality in her students ...learn more about playing the piano songs, read the full article >>>

Develop a better sense for when
to press on the sustaining pedal

...tools are available that make the music created on the piano that much more beautiful. One of which is the sustaining pedal. The role of the sustaining pedal is to connect notes together for a smoother sounding playing style. The flip of the pedal releases previously held notes and begins holding new notes. When pressed with the foot, the pedal mechanism lifts the damping mechanism off the strings inside the belly of the piano. Not pressed, it stops the strings of un-played notes from vibrating...learn more about playing piano songs, read the full article>>>