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Beethoven's Fur Elise

Fur Elise, one of classical music's most famous compositions wasn't published for more than half a century. The piano piece, written by Ludwig van Beethoven, on April 27, 1810, was published in 1867, long after the composer died. The original manuscript was lost, but a copy was published.

Long a favorite of piano students, Fur Elise is a classic piano piece that begins with a recognizable theme, repeats it, goes through a more-difficult-to-play section, and then returns to the main theme to finish off the piece. Fur Elise is set in A minor and incorporates E major, C major, G major, and F major before returning to A minor at the end.

Many scholars think that Beethoven wrote the piece for Theresa Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza, a friend and student of the composer. Beethoven proposed marriage to Theresa in 1810, but she turned him down, ending up as the wife of Wilhelm von Drossdik, an Austrian nobleman. The theory is that the person who discovered the composition wrote Elise instead of Therese.

Another theory is that Elise was Elisabeth Rockel, another friend of Beethoven. Even less evidence exists to prove that theory. The simple fact is that no one knows for sure to whom Beethoven dedicated his piano piece.

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