There are few maestros in musical history that hold as much repute as Ludwig Van Beethoven. Born in Germany on the 16th of December 1770, Beethoven was a classical and early Romantic composer and pianist with genius musical ability. His talent showed as a child and he even wrote his first piece as early as the age of 13. He started having ear problems in 1802 which deteriorated to total deafness by 1816. Despite this disability, he was credited with 9 symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, 17 string quartets and 7 concertos among other works.


Beethoven has singlehandedly been credited with changing the course of music from the Classical Period to the Romantic period. Not only did he lead the charge into the Romantic era, but Beethoven was also the earliest composer to break the century-old rules of classical music by writing music in his own unique way. His musical experiments and symphonies changed the Sonata form drastically and he was regarded as the pioneer of a new music era.


Before Beethoven, a sonata for violin and piano or the piano and cello was governed by the piano. Beethoven pioneered the solo sonata format that has remained till today. Instead of the cello part of sonatas simply being a copy of the pianist’s left hand, it had its own part and stood its own ground in Beethoven’s sonatas.  Also, in 1805, his composition of the Eroica symphony marked another major milestone in musical history. The Eroica symphony was two times longer than any other symphony that had been done before it and the beginning of the 19th century of music.


Another thing with Beethoven’s symphonies was that they were totally unique in melody and structure. The Fifth Symphony was one of the most beautiful musical pieces ever composed. It had a never-seen-before structure that was based on just four hammer blow notes. The fact that Beethoven was also mostly hearing-impaired for most of his career was also impressive in the amount of artistry and intellectual complexity that these symphonies had.


The emotional range, extended orchestration and the length of his works were the foundations of the Romantic era. Beethoven changed the standards for what was accepted as good music. His symphonies had a wide range of emotional expression that was totally different from what was obtainable in the Classical Period, paving the way for the works of other masters of the Romantic period like Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, and Chopin.


By the end of Beethoven’s career in 1827, he had successfully taken the best parts of the Baroque and Classical era and introduced the more dynamic, instrumental and expressive extremes that would characterize the Romantic period of music in the 19th Century. Beethoven was always be remembered as a man who pioneered previously uncharted boundaries of music and influenced a whole new generation with his prodigious talents despite his disability.


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