Life and Works of Ludwig Van Beethoven

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Many consider Ludwig Van Beethoven as the great musical composer of all time for the humanity of his compositions, in which they told a story about the people he dedicated them to. He was born on December 16, 1770, in the capital of Bonn in the Electorate of Cologne. His grandfather and father being musicians, Beethoven had great expectations from his father to follow the same path. He was taught music with extreme brutality by his father, such that he was beaten for mistakes, locked up in a cellar to practice while being sleep deprived and neighbors accounted his crying while playing the clavier.

This cruel treatment and his father’s inability support his family would affect him for the rest of his life, and perhaps this was the reason for his development of paranoia along with his lost of hearing, uptight personality and why he never married or had children. Although he failed to become a child prodigy, Beethoven would later become a very successful composer.

The composer’s beginnings lie in his full time study with Christian Gottlob Neefe, where he dropped out of school. Two years later, Beethoven published his first composition inspired by a composer named Dressler. With hopes in him, Beethoven was sent to Vienna to further his musical studies, but had to return to Bonn to his ill mother. Despite so, he gained reputation and became a promising young musician. However, the French Revolution was attracting attention, and he had to leave to Vienna as army forces were sweeping by.

During this time, he studied with great composers, such as the piano with Haydn, vocal composition with Salieri and counterpoint with Albrechtsberger. Known for skillful improvisation, Beethoven began receiving patrons from Vienna aristocracy and published a series of piano trios, the Opus 1. Around 1801, he discovered that he was going deaf, but even so, he removed the legs of the piano and relied on the vibrations on the ground and pitches in his mind to compose some of his greatest pieces.

Classical music is greatly inspired by the Greek and Roman empires, particularly the simplicity and symmetry of architecture. Compositions emphasized light elegance with its lighter, clear texture unlike the sophisticated polyphony of the Baroque music. Classical music also had frequent mood, tempo, and dynamics changes, while Baroque music mainted a single mood and tempo. During this era, homophony was introduced, which was the utilization of melody and accompaniment, and chords became a more prevalent feature in music.

An example of a chord pattern commonly used in the Classical Period is the Alberti Bass. This type was often used in early pianoforte music, and used left hand fingering in the pattern of 1,5,3 and 5. Furthermore, variety and contrast was emphasized in Classical pieces by variety of notes, melodies, tempo (rubato) and dynamics (phrasing). The pianoforte, which allowed for different dynamics, came along in the Classical Period and the sonata became the most important type of music.

Beethoven’s most famous piano piece is “Für Elise,” because although the first opening notes are simple, they are elegant and charming. Furthermore, “Für Elise” is composed of a simple right hand melody with a series of broken chords as the accompaniment, which allows for all types of piano players to play. This is crucial, because the social revolutions, such as the French Revolution, brought music to the common people as it fought against the aristocracy. A characteristic of Beethoven’s music resembled is the simple melody, which is well represented in his Symphony No. 1. Most of his music are piano sonatas, but he also published symphonies, operas and piano concertos.

Without doubt, my favorite compositions from Beethoven are the Piano Sonata No. 8 and Piano Sonata No. 14. As for the Piano Sonata No. 8, some of the key elements confirm that this piece belongs to the Classical Period. For instance, the composition had a light, elegant texture, utilized phrasing to change dynamics, and had a variety of notes shown from fast scales. The Piano Sonata No. 14 is Beethoven’s best work in my opinion, because the melody is so simple, yet it was deep and charming. This piece has a light, clear texture and homophony to provide contrast between the melody and accompaniment.

The melody is short and repeats, and at some parts, Beethoven uses phrasing by changing the dynamics to make the melody more dramatic. However, some of his compositions are very confusing due to the difficult technical aspects of playing them. The most distinct example of this is his Piano Sonata No. 29, because for the most part, I do not recognize a melody, other than the fast scales being played throughout. I highly recommend people to listen to Beethoven’s music, because its simplicity is what makes it sound so unique.


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Life and Works of Ludwig Van Beethoven. (2021, Dec 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/life-and-works-of-ludwig-van-beethoven/

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