This Beethoven piano alarm clock is charming, perplexing and annoying

3 December 2019, 16:00 | Updated: 4 December 2019, 17:44

By Kyle Macdonald

‘Für Elise’ on a charming miniature piano clock – and there’s a lot going on...

A video of this piano alarm clock has been doing the rounds on social media. It features a baby grand piano playing Ludwig van Beethoven’s most famous piano miniature, his Bagatelle in A minor, Für Elise.

If we were waking up to this at 6.50am every morning we’d have a few thoughts...

Just what’s happening on the keyboard?!

The notation and music says Bagatelle in A Minor, but the keyboard movement speaks of some phased minimalism, more akin to John Adams (and by the way, if there was a miniature piano alarm clock that played Phrygian Gates, we’d also buy it).

We did our best to notate what was happening on the keyboard. Here’s what we got:

Clock transcription
Clock transcription. Picture: Our fair hand

The music engraving is (comparatively) strong

Notation is often a weak point of household musical kitch. But this one seems to be surprisingly accurate for the righthand engraving. No left hand, so incomplete broken chords. Some points here.

Where are the pedals on this instrument?

Beethoven is explicit. A big oversight.

The ‘piano’ sound

Great that you’re going to be serenaded by 88 keys every morning, but his piano sounds as if it’s a piano doing an impression of a 1989 video game a bonus stage, while underwater. There’s also an inexplicable accelerando in the B section. But that’s enough about timbre and interpretation...

One final thought

We’ve had fun, but, you know, we all grew up with wonderful analog things. And it’s that Beethoven Bagatelle that will instantly transport you back to when you first hear it. It kind of reminds you of childhood. And that music box at your grandparents’ house. Oh, we’ve got something in our eye...

Verdict? Flawed yes, but we're in love. Can we please wake up next to Für Elise clock forever?