Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elise’ but it’s in a jazzy 5/4... so ‘Five Elise’

26 March 2020, 12:22 | Updated: 21 January 2022, 16:47

Beethoven's 'Für Elise' in the style of jazz standard 'Take Five'

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Some genius has arranged a crossover of Beethoven’s Für Elise and the jazz standard, Take Five.

This is how ‘Für Elise’ would have sounded if Beethoven had been into syncopation, piano vamps and 5/4 time.

The brilliant arrangement (watch above) comes from Syd R Duke, who went viral last year with his exquisite reworking of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in the style of Chopin.

His latest opus aligns Beethoven’s Bagatelle in A minor (more commonly known as ‘Für Elise’) with Paul Desmond’s ‘Take Five’, the 1959 jazz standard known for its swung metre and dotted rhythms.

Its name? Five Elise.

“I had the idea for the title first,” Duke says. “Once I worked out a way of fitting the opening theme of Für Elise into a five-four metre everything flowed from there fairly smoothly.

“The combination of the driving rhythmic pattern and Beethoven’s beautiful melodies really helped propel each section into the next, and it always felt fairly obvious what should follow after each phrase.”

If you fancy giving it a try at home, Syd has made the sheet music available here.

Want to learn more about Beethoven’s life and music in his 250th anniversary year? Join John Suchet every Saturday at 9pm for Beethoven – The Man Revealed.