Image Credit: Flickr User dumbledad, via CC

A person who plays musical instruments is known as a musician. Musicians who know how to create new music pieces are called composers. All composers are musicians but all musicians are not composers. Think :)

Listen to this.

One of the greatest musicians and composers of all times – Beethoven, composed this masterpiece called ‘Ode to Joy’. Beethoven was born as Ludwig Van Beethoven in 1770 in Bonn, Germany. That’s  244 years ago!

Can you believe that as a child Beethoven hated playing piano?

Ludwig was born into the family of musicians. In those times, it was an honour to play for a king in his court. Beethoven’s father and grandfather were both musicians in the court. Beethoven learned music from a very young age. His father was his first teacher and was very strict. He made him practice a lot. Sometimes, he pulled Beethoven out of bed, late at the night to make him practice. Little Beethoven immersed his head in cold water to be awake. Though Beethoven’s love and talent for music was god gifted, it is probably his father’s strictness that made him hate piano as a kid.

Image Credit: Flickr User ecastro, via CC

By 7, Beethoven was playing piano and violin flawlessly and was giving public performances. Wow! What a child prodigy he was! But Beethoven was not proud of himself. Instead, Beethoven was shy because he thought he was ugly. An illness, in early childhood, had left his face pockmarked.

Beethoven played piano in Electors orchestra. When he was 17, his teacher requested the Elector(the prince) to send him to Vienna to learn music from big composers like Mozart. Beethoven’s trip was short lived, and he hurried back to see his dying mother. Nobody knows if Beethoven ever met Mozart.

In 1792, at age 22, the Elector sent Beethoven to Vienna again. Beethoven again couldn’t meet and learn from Mozart as he had only just then passed away. Beethoven found other teachers like famous musician Joseph Haydn. They taught him to play and compose advanced music.

By the very end of 1700’s, Beethoven started becoming very famous. It is during this time he came up with musical masterpieces like his most famous piano sonata: “Moonlight”. He became an important and well known person in Vienna. He decided to stay in Vienna forever.

Soon Beethoven became known as one of the great composers. He performed at palaces for royals which was in those times a great honour. He was only beginning to enjoy his success when a sad thing happened. He realised that he was losing his hearing.

By 1814, Beethoven reached the height of his fame but lost his hearing completely. He stopped performing but continued to compose. His ninth symphony ‘Ode to joy’ is a message to people about living in peace and harmony. Currently, it is the National Anthem for European Union. It is said that when Ode to joy was played for the first time in 1824 at a concert, people could not stop clapping, but Beethoven could not hear the applause. One of the singers had to turn him for him to see that people were clapping. Beethoven wept and wept.

On March 26, 1827 Beethoven passed away. He had a grand funeral. Thousands of people attended the famous musician’s funeral.

Till date, his music is read and played by budding musicians. Did you know that music can be written? Yes, in the language of notes. Take a look.

Image Credit: Flickr User infomatique, via CC


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One response to “Beethoven”

  1. Naomi Schwartz Avatar
    Naomi Schwartz

    Wow that’s crazy! I didn’t know that about him. It’s cool to learn about all the famous musicians. :)

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