Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’ plays a surprising role in this upcoming superhero movie

4 January 2022, 16:59 | Updated: 4 January 2022, 17:05

Watch the official trailer for Morbius

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Enigmatic antihero, Michael Morbius, becomes the latest individual to enter the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel characters. But what does the music tell us about his upcoming film...

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The long-awaited upcoming 2022 film Morbius, a Sony Pictures production in association with Marvel, tells the story of Dr Michael Morbius, a biochemist who is searching for a cure to his rare blood disorder.

However, when a dangerous cure infects Morbius with a form of ‘vampirism’ – which gives him with pseudo-vampiric superhuman abilities and physical traits – a darkness inside him is unleashed.

The first trailer for the film underscores these events to the soundtrack of one of classical music’s most famous composers: Ludwig van Beethoven.

But why this piece, and what significance could it hold?

Read more: Spider-Man: No Way Home – who wrote the soundtrack, and what famous songs feature?

Lang Lang 'Für Elise' (live at The Global Awards 2019)

Beethoven’s Für Elise in Morbius

Composed in 1810 by Ludwig van Beethoven, Für Elise is undoubtedly one of the composer’s most famous works.

Its recognisable theme is a popular choice in films and TV shows, with series such as You (Netflix), and films such as The Gentlemen and Rosemary's Baby using the work.

However, the Morbius trailer music is entirely based around the 200-year-old piano work, and the arrangement, which includes strings, brass, glockenspiel, and dramatic percussion, adds an eerie and thrilling undertone to the less than three-minute-long teaser.

The trailer music is composed by Jamie Stevens and Vikram Gudi Publisher, and produced by Elephant Music, and the film’s soundtrack is being written by Jon Ekstrand (Life, 2017).

Read more: Fresh Prince cast ‘went silent’ as Will Smith played Beethoven in improvised scene

Jared Leto stars in Morbius
Jared Leto stars in Morbius. Picture: Alamy

What’s the significance of Beethoven’s piece?

You could argue that Sony Pictures’ choice of trailer music could be down to the fact that Beethoven’s famed work is in the public domain.

However, some fans have argued that the choice of Für Elise is actually a reference to how the Morbius storyline will develop.

Für Elise starts off as a beginner tune on the piano, with the tune mostly sticking to a melody which passes between both hands on the piano. However, in its entirety, the piece becomes much more complex, with a much faster right hand line, and the need to move between chords quickly.

Fans have associated this increasing difficulty with the plot of the upcoming film, suggesting that while Morbius’ cure might have seemed simple at first, the effects get more difficult to handle as time goes on – similarly to the way the bagatelle gets increasingly difficult to play.

Fans were also quick to point out that at the beginning of the trailer, Jared Leto, who plays Morbius in the upcoming film, hums the opening line of Für Elise, thus cementing its significance to the film beyond just the trailer music.

Morbius is out in cinemas on 1 April 2022.