Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor for solo piano, commonly known as “Für Elise” or “Fuer Elise”, commonly written without German diacritical marks as “Fur Elise”, is one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most popular compositions. It is usually classified as a bagatelle, but it is also sometimes referred to as an Albumblatt.
The score was not published until 1867, 40 years after the composer’s death in 1827. The discoverer of the piece, Ludwig Nohl, affirmed that the original autographed manuscript, now lost, was dated April 27, 1810.
The version of “Für Elise” we hear today is an earlier version that was transcribed by Ludwig Nohl. There is a later version, with drastic changes to the accompaniment which was transcribed from a later manuscript by Barry Cooper. The most notable difference is in the first theme, the left-hand arpeggios are delayed by a 16th note beat. There are a few extra bars in the transitional section into the B section; and finally, the rising A minor arpeggio figure is moved later into the piece. The tempo marking Poco moto is believed to have been on the manuscript that Ludwig Nohl transcribed (now lost). The later version includes the marking Molto grazioso. It is believed that Beethoven intended to add the piece to a cycle of bagatelles.