I’m a fan of Piano. I listen to Piano pieces when I’m in a mood or need to concentrate. I have recently been practicing “Für Elise” — one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most famous compositions, which was discovered 40 years after his death.
There is a question arise: Who is Elise?
Interestingly, after small-size research, I found out that history can not be sure about who Elise was.
Mark Unger suggested that the name was mistranslated since should be Fur Therese — a reference to Therese Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza (1792–1851). She is one of Beethoven’s student and friend, who he supposedly proposed but later turned him down to marry another man.
According to a study of Klaus Martin Kopitz in 2014, there is evidence that the piece was written for Elisabeth Röckel — a 17-year-old singer from German, while in 2014, Rita Steblin suggested Elise Barensfeld should be the one who is the inspiration of “Für Elise.”
The song is a Bagatelle written in A minor, which can be heard as a five-part rondo in the form A-B-A-C-A.
A Bagatelle is a short piece of music, typically for the piano, and usually of a light, mellow character. The name bagatelle literally means “a short unpretentious instrumental composition” to reference the light style. — Wikipedia
The song starts with a soft, gentle movement but then divide into two unpredictable development paths, but then they still come back to the main theme melody. I still can feel the story of the song without words. It is like a man who hesitates to express his love to the woman at first, where the compositions repeatedly. However, he can not embrace his love anymore (because it is too much?), so emotional starting to flow over the music notes.
But, I’m not sure if everybody has the same feeling as me when listening to “Fur Elise,” which is the beauty of unspoken.
Not like other music genres such as Pop or Rock, Classical music is beautiful because people can have different interpretations when listening to the same piece. Same rhythm, same notes, and scales, but not the same feeling. Because there is no lyric, we can have our imagination about the story of the song. In this case, I don’t know who Elise is, but I can have my own Elise in mind, how she looks like, how the man (also in my imagination) talk to her via the music notes.
Same with a popular piece of Yiruma — a Korean famous Pianist — Kiss the rain.
We all know that the title is “Kiss the rain” but who is kissing the rain? In which situation? is he/she happy? Or heartbroken? That depends on our mood and creativity rather than what the artist told us to feel (and in reality, he didn’t).
In Cinematography, there is a term “Show don’t tell” that encourages us to use other methods, such as eyes expression, color, and music… to tell the story rather than convert the story to words, and I see the same tactic with Classical music. Sometimes, things beauty because it didn’t say anything.