Ludwig Van Beethoven is one of the most famous and influential musicians/composers of the Classical and Romantic era. He was born in Bonn, which is the capital of Cologne (Germany) on December 17th 1770.
He had a very diligent melodious career with the help of his father, Johann Van Beethoven, who started teaching him music at a very early age. Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for the piano and 1 for the violin, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets to represent his entire career. There is probably no one in the developing world that doesn’t recognize a piece or two that was written by Ludwig. His music was dramatic and fierce and lives on to this day.
A lot of historical information can be found about Beethoven, but there are some exceptional facts about him that you may never have known:
Does Age Really Matter?
On paper Ludwig Van Beethoven was born on 1770. However, for many years the composer thought he was born in 1772. The exact year of birth was never officially definite. Historians believe that Beethoven’s father intentionally created this deception by altering his age so that he could present a much younger musical virtuoso. Remember, around the same time period Mozart was already quite established, and most likely, Beethoven’s biggest musical rival! His father didn’t want his son to be out-done by a fellow young originator.
Student Turned Piano Teacher
Beethoven was forced into the practice of music by an early age and music became his existence. It became his identity and he was very successful. One would assume that his passion for music would be something that he would love to share with those who wanted to learn. Beethoven was known to show utter disdain for piano teaching unless he was able to teach exceptionally gifted students, and, it has been noted, that if the student was a beautiful woman, it didn’t matter if she couldn’t tap her fingers to chop-sticks let alone play the piano.
Sounds of Silence for Ludwig
The worst fate that could ever befall a musician is loss of hearing. That is exactly what happened to Beethoven. His hearing loss was gradual, but by 1819, in his 30’s, he was clinically and completely deaf. According to correspondences written by Ludwig, he considered his hearing loss a “demon”, which haunted him everywhere he went. There were moments in this phase of his life where he contemplated suicide, but the love of music and his career held that action at bay. After the deafness set in, he was still able to complete thirty-two piano sonatas, seventeen string quartets, nine symphonies, one of which would be the Fifth Symphony – one of the most commonly recognized pieces he ever wrote.
Twelve Times Thirty
Music and math have always been complimentary disciplines. According to the American Mathematical Society, counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, patterns, symbols, harmonies, time signatures, overtone, and pitch are ALL notations made my composers that are directly connected to mathematics. With that being said, Beethoven was not very gifted, to say the least, when it came to basic math. Due to family obligations, he had to leave school at the early age of 11 to help support his family.
Beethoven’s Struggle For Health
Throughout Beethoven’s childhood, middle years and up to his death, he was never blessed with a healthy life. In addition to his hearing loss, which was attributed to typhus, he also suffered from colitis, rheumatism, rheumatic fever, skin disorder, to list a few. His death was eventually caused by cirrhosis, which lead to liver failure.
Whatever strange behavior or physical infirmities Beethoven struggled with, there is no denying that he will forever remain one of the greatest composers of all time.