The great German composer Beethoven, born 1770, died 1827 was world renowned for his provocative style which laid the groundwork for the romanticism. One thing that certainly had a great if not the primary inspiration for his style was his own experiences in life. Beethoven had a miserable
childhood. Beethoven has endured a difficult frusturating often cruel childhood. . He was painstakingly trained into the musical profession, despite his natural talents, he was still subject to harsh regimental cruelty by an alcoholic abusive father. His father was a cold distant man. His father was said to be a violent and intemperate man, who returned home late at night much worse for drink and dragged young Ludwig from his bed in order to “beat” music lessons into the boy’s sleepy head. There are also stories of his father forcing him to play his violin for the amusement of his drinking cronies. Despite these and other abuses – which might well have persuaded as lesser person to loathe the subject – the young Beethoven developed a sensitivity and vision for music. He was often the subject of his intense ridicule and torment. Beethoven remained strained with his father throughout his life. Beethoven, because of his natural talents felt convicted to put them to use. He traveled to Vienna in 1787 but this trip was cut short by his Mothers death. His career was marked by a certain . His earlier works were characterized by He begin to lose his hearing. Eventually going deaf. This, combined with a social repulsion and a custody battle over his nephew, his later years were certainly embittering ones.
His deafness had a significant impact on the style of his music. As the affliction was gradual, so it correlated with the shift in direction of his music over time. As his deafness progressed, his music lost the simplicity of his earlier composing period, and became more complex and passionate. His “Middle” period of composing began soon after his deafness started. His music of this period tended towards large-scale works expressing heroism and struggle, and included six symphonies, starting with the “Eroica” (3rd symphony), and including the intense Fifth Symphony which clearly illustrates a struggle and ultimate victory.
The “Late” period of Beethoven’s career covered the last eleven years of his life, and his compositions reflected his personal expression in their depth and intensity. They were among his most passionate and experimental styles, very much in the Romantic style. This period included his final symphony, the “Choral”, which employed the use of voice as a scored instrument for the first time. nd life naturally became more self-contained, hermetic, and isolated. Wagner. To him, Beethoven’s deafness wasn’t a negative thing, it was a positive thing. It permitted him to enter this strange, transcendent realm where he was able to compose this music, cut off from the conventions that constrained composers who could hear. The experts looked at the first violin part in the first movement of each quartet, counting the number of notes above G6, which corresponds to 1,568 Hertz.
Use of higher notes decreased as the deafness progressed, they found.
To compensate, Beethoven used more middle- and low-frequency notes, which he could hear better when music was performed.
But in the late quartets — written by the time he was totally deaf — the higher notes returned.
“When he came to rely compl
Far overshadowing these general conditions were the two particular personal problems that beset Beethoven, especially in later life: his deafness and his obsessive relationship with his nephew Karl. Beethoven began to suffer from deafness during his early years in Vienna, and his condition gradually grew worse, despite remissions. So severe was the problem as early as 1802 that he actually seems to have contemplated suicide, as can be inferred from the so-called Heiligenstadt Testament, a private document written that year. It shows clear evidence of his deep conflict over his sense of artistic mission and his fear of inability to hear normally, to use the sense that should have been his most effective and reliable one. The turning points in his deafness actually came only later: first, about 1815, when he was compelled to give up all hope of performing publicly as a pianist (his Fifth Piano Concerto was written in 1809, an unfinished concerto in 1815); and after 1818, when he was no longer able to converse with visitors, who were thus forced to use writing pads to communicate (the famous “Conversation Books”).
The works of Beethoven’s middle years form an extraordinary procession of major compositions, entirely departing from the traditional proportions and, to some extent, the methods of earlier tonal music. The earlier “facile” level of composition is abandoned, and occasional regressions to earlier types of movement structure are suppressed (for example, the substitution of a conventional slow movement by a tightly compressed slow introduction to the finale in the Waldstein Piano Sonata, Op. 53). Even the most superficial view of Beethoven’s new scheme of musical design must include the following observations. He works now with the intensive elaboration of single ideas, to an extent never previously attempted in classical instrumental music (for example, the first movement of the Fifth Symphony). He extends the time scale of the three-or four-movement formal scheme to a high degree (for example, the Eroica Symphony, the unusual length of which was noted by the composer on his autograph manuscript). He replaces the old third movement of the symphony and the quartet (minuet or other medium-tempo dance form) with a dynamic and rapid movement, always called scherzo (this had already been done in early works). He brings about the dramatization of instrumental effects and musical components to an unprecedented degree, partly through the juxtaposition of strongly dissimilar musical ideas, partly through the ingenious use of means of establishing expectations of a particular kind and then either delaying them or turning in an unexpected direction (for example, the first movement of the Appassionata Sonata, Op. 57, in which no full resolution of a cadence on to the tonic is permitted until the end of the movement; the opening of the RasumovskyQuartet, Op. 59, No. 3; and the dramatic use of silence, as in the opening of the Coriolanus Overture, Op. 62).