Beethoven and Impossible Odds

Beethoven might be the most famous musician that has ever existed… yes,  even more so than Kanye West, or Madonna. When you hear Beethoven’s name you instantly associate his name with a caliber of music that transcends normalcy. Even if you don’t appreciate classical music, you can respect him, from how much he is revered by music lovers. It is quite a feat to write a piece of music some two hundred and fifty years ago, and have it still be around today. It will be interesting to see how much music from our time even makes it through the next twenty years. More over Beethoven had one major setback- he was deaf. This would have crippled anybody else, and rightfully so, but Beethoven had one of those innate talents that couldn’t be suppressed.


Beethoven’s Childhood

Beethoven was born on December 16th, 1770. He had two younger brothers, a caring mother and an alcoholic father. Sometime in his early years his father began to teach Beethoven music and neighbors recounted a young boy weeping, as he sat at the clavier; his father beating him for any mistake or hesitation. He was generally flogged and deprived of sleep during his youth. He learned to play violin and clavier, while also studying with different organist around town. Beethoven was a mediocre student but excelled in all things music. By the time he was in his early teens he was being paid to be the court organist. Beethoven would work his way through the ranks of Europe’s music scene, being recognized as a virtuoso pianist. His compositions also awarded him financial success and fame.


The Onset of Deafness

However, while Beethoven was winning the hearts of Europe with his scores and piano playing, he was also simultaneously trying to conceal a terrible secret: he was going deaf. By 1801 Beethoven refused to attend social functions because he couldn’t make out the words that people were saying to him. The genius composer experienced extreme depression and bitterness in coming to grips with his ailment.


Defying Musical Accomplishments

Despite the crippling odds Beethoven composed at a furious rate. From 1802 to 1812 he wrote an opera, 6 symphonies, 4 solo concerti, 5 string quartets, 6 string sonatas, 7 piano sonatas, 5 sets of piano variations, 4 overtures, 4 trios, 2 sextets and seventy two songs. However, Beethoven’s hearing was fading rapidly. Beethoven actually sawed the legs off of his piano, and had it flat on the ground, in order to feel the vibrations. Beethoven would continue to write music until the end of his life, largely depressed, but a genius nonetheless.


Beethoven’s Significance

Beethoven is one of the most respected musicians in all of history, such that it would be an anomaly to find music lessons today that didn’t incorporate his contributions.  He was a renowned pianist and composer. Beethoven is a testament to the power of music, and learning to play music. Without music, Beethoven is a merely a cranky old gentlemen, that couldn’t hear, but give the man a piano and he could move an entire auditorium to tears.

Having recently graduated with a Communications related B.A., Ben understands the value of good research and quality content.  He has the pleasure of supporting organizations like Play by Hear with his writing efforts in California.  


  1. Rob Williams

    July 5, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Thank you for sharing this. We often get lost in the temporary-ness of today’s music, but someone like Beethoven is too incredible to not share.

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