Beethoven S Musical Education Essay

Beethoven Essay

Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was, and remains today, an influential figure in the history of classical music. Perhaps no other composer in history wrote music of such inspiring power and expressiveness. His influence on the last 150 years of music is unequalled.
Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770. His father, a music enthusiast, dreamed of molding his son into the next Mozart. Beethoven never showed the impressive characteristics of Mozart, but he was unusually talented, learning the piano, organ and violin at a very early age. At 14, he was already skilled enough on the organ to receive a professional appointment (Beethoven). He held positions as an assistant organist in the electoral chapel where he obtained his first lessons in composition from the court organist. His family life was chaotic; his father was an alcoholic, and his mother died suddenly when he was only 17. After that tragedy, his family situation declined even more, and this caused him to leave home in 1790 and travel to Vienna to study composition.

In Vienna, Beethoven first studied with Franz Joseph Haydn, but eventually became frustrated with the great composer's teaching methods and he moved on to study with other composers. He performed often in wealthy salons but interestingly enough, he did not perform in public until he was 25 years old (Beethoven).

Beethoven impressed many of his fellow composers including Mozart and while he was in Vienna, he had a chance to play for him. After Beethoven improvised brilliantly at the piano on a theme Mozart had given to him, the 30year-old Mozart ran excitedly into the next room and prophetically told his friends, "Watch that fellow - someday he'll really make a name for himself!" (Grunfeld 76).

The early piano sonatas of Beethoven deserve special mention. Although his first published examples of concertos and trios and the first two symphonies are beneath the masterpieces of Mozart and Haydn, the piano sonatas bear an unmistakably Beethovian stamp: grandiose in scope and length, and innovative in their range of expression. The sonatas were able to move expression from terrible rage to peals of laughter to deep depression so suddenly. Capturing this unpredictable style in his music, a new freedom of expression which broke the bounds of Classical ideals, was to position Beethoven as a disturbed man in the minds of some of his contemporaries. Furthermore, he was to be seen as the father of Romanticism and the single most important innovator of music in the minds of those after him. (Bookspan 27).

Before Beethoven struck the new note of romance in music, songwriters generally used one of two patterns for their songs: (1) the simple folk-song pattern in which the same melody...

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Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Germany in 1770 and died in 1827 at the age of 56. It was obvious that he was a naturally talented musician, because by the age of 12 he has several compositions published. His first teacher was his father, Johann. It is said that his father was a very demanding instructor, and that after long nights of drinking, Beethoven's father would sometimes drag his son out of bed to practice the piano or play for guests.

Beethoven was sent to Vienna at age 17 to meet Mozart and to further his musical education. Vienna was the capital city in terms of culture and music. It is not known whether he was able to meet or study with Mozart. However, Beethoven did make numerous acquaintances in Vienna. Everybody in the musical and aristocratic world was in awe of his musical talent.

By nature, Beethoven was impatient, impulsive, unreasonable and intolerant. Many believe that his deafness played a major role in his unpleasant mannerisms. Beethoven began to loose his hearing around 1796, and became completely deaf by 1814. However this did not stop him from pursuing his passion. He continued to compose and conduct even after he had experienced complete loss of hearing. Interestingly, he used a special rod attached to the soundboard on a piano that he could bite; the vibrations would then transfer from the piano to his jaw to increase his perception of sound. It has been said that at the end of the premier of his Ninth Symphony Beethoven could not hear the thunderous applause from the audience. When someone turned him around so that he could see the crowd’s response, he was so moved that he wept.

Also as a result of Beethoven’s deafness, he and his friends would keep conversation books in order to communicate. Today they provide a unique historical record of how he felt his music should be performed.

Beethoven’s music bridged the classical and romantic eras. He used mostly classical forms and techniques. However, he gives them new power and intensity by increasing the range of pitch and dynamics. Most of Beethoven’s works are instrumental, but he was the first to introduce the combination of voices and instrumentation in the fourth movement of his ninth symphony.

Friedrich von Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy" was the inspiration for the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. The poem’s text...

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