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Ludwig van Beethoven

Born in 1770 - Died in 1827

Ludwig van Beethoven<BR>
Ludwig van Beethoven (LOOD vig von BAY toh vun) was one of the world's greatest composers. He wrote many symphonies,* overtures,* and pieces for piano and other instruments.

He started studying the piano and violin when he was 4 years old. His father, a singer, was his first teacher. But he was not a good teacher. He beat his son and locked him in a basement to make him practice.

Sometimes when his father came home late after becoming drunk, he would awaken Ludwig and make him practice until morning.

When he was 10 years old, he started taking lessons from Christian Neefe. His new teacher was very patient with him and he began to do well. He wrote his first composition* (song) when he was 11. When he was 12, his teacher let him direct the orchestra part of the time.

When he was 22, he moved to Vienna and studied with Joseph Haydn (HI dn). Haydn insisted his student write "pupil of Haydn" at the top of each song he wrote. Beethoven became tired of giving Haydn credit for his songs and quit studying with him.

Most composers at this time were hired by people to write music, and they were told what kind of music to write. Beethoven, however, was treated as a friend, not an employee. He wrote the kind of music he wanted to write.

He knew he could play the piano very well and began to play at parties and to give concerts around Europe. When he needed an orchestra, he used a big orchestra. He would even use some of the instruments in the orchestra to sound like birds in the forest.

He liked taking long walks during the day. During these walks he planned his music. He would make notes in a notebook. Then in the evening after dinner, he would write music from about 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. He followed the same routine every day. If he was dining out and didn't have his notebook with him, he would write on the back of a menu. Once he even wrote on a window shade.

He would work on a composition until it was just right. Sometimes it took years, but it would be perfect when he finished it.

Beethoven began to lose his hearing when he was in his 20's. He became very suspicious* of people and hard to get along with. But he was still able to hear the songs in his mind and write them down.

He did not get along with his two brothers. When his brother Karl died, Beethoven took his 9 year-old son to raise. It was an unhappy time for the child and his uncle. The boy rebelled against him and caused him a lot of grief.

In 1826 he caught a cold. It developed into pneumonia* and he died. The world lost a great composer, but his music lives on today. You will enjoy listening to themes from some of his works.

This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2001.

Listen to music by Ludwig van Beethoven at Classical Connect

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From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster

(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by ə)

Pronunciation: 'sim(p)-fə-nE
Function: noun
a usually long musical composition for a full orchestra

Pronunciation: 'O-və(r)-'chu(ə)r, -chər
Function: noun
a musical composition played by the orchestra as the introduction to an opera or musical play

Pronunciation: 'kahm-pə-'zish-ən
Function: noun
a literary, musical, or artistic production

Pronunciation: sə-'spish-əs
Function: adjective
1 : likely to arouse suspicion, questionable as suspicious behavior 2 : likely to suspect or distrust Example: She was suspicious of strangers. 3 : showing suspicion as in giving a suspicious glance

Pronunciation: 'n(y)u-'mO-nyə
Function: noun
a disease of the lungs marked by inflammation and congestion and caused by infection or irritants

Research Links

Ludwig van Beethoven
The Magnificent Master

Ludwig van Beethoven
Favorite Classical Composers

Guide to Beethoven Symphonies
listen to themes from some of the symphonies

Beethoven Piano Sonatas
listen to themes from Beethoven sonatas

Sculptures of Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven
It's Fun to Read at

online book George Alexander Fischer

At search for Beethoven.
Scroll the panel for the "Video & Audio Results".

The Tone Masters - Beethoven
online book Charles Barnard

great resource page available in four languages

at BBC


Press "Go" to search for books about Beethoven.


Order the following books from Amazon.

The Life of Beethoven
by David Wyn Jones (selected pages) Order here

by William Kinderman (full view) Order here

Beethoven: the emergence and evolution of Beethoven's heroic style
by Michael Broyles (selected pages) Order here

by Richard Wagner, Arthur Schopenhauer (full view) Free Google eBook

by Barry Cooper (selected pages) Google eBook $14.72

by John South Shedlock (Public domain 1903 full view) Free Google eBook

Beethoven, the man and the artist: as revealed in his own words
(Public domain 1905 full view) Order here

by Frederick James Crowest (Public domain 1903 full view) Free Google eBook

Beethoven's symphonies: a guided tour
by John Bell Young (introduction only) Order here

Simply Beethoven: The Music of Ludwig Van Beethoven - 27 of His Timeless Masterpieces
Easy piano (selected pages)

Beethoven, the Music and the Life
by Lewis Lockwood (selected pages)

Beethoven, the Universal Composer
by Edmund Morris (selected pages)

Beethoven: impressions by his contemporaries
by Oscar George Theodore Sonneck (selected pages)

Beethoven Sonatas (full view)

Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved
by Russell Martin (selected pages)

Complete Piano Sonatas
(selected pages)

Complete piano concertos: in full score
(selected pages)

Credits and Solutions

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Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
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