Summary of the Life of Beethoven

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On December 17, 1770, a life began in Bonn, Germany that would change the change of music for an era. Ludwig van Beethoven was born into a family of musicians. His grandfather, whom he was named after, was a bass singer and Kapellmeister at the electorate of Cologne. Beethoven's father, Johann, was a court tenor and music teacher. His mother, Maria Magdalena Leym, came from a family of wealthy landowners and senators. When Beethoven was only three years of age his grandfather passed away, leaving an inheritance of cash, unpaid loans and property to his son Johann. But through poor management of the new found wealth, his family would, once again, be bound to a moderate family income. Most of the mismanagement was due to Johann's love for alcohol. At about the age of four or five, Beethoven began his instruction in music. Johann began Ludwig's teachings on the clavier and violin and later moved him to the piano. Ludwig's musical education was described as "brutal and willfull."1 His father would come in from a late night of drinking and use threats of violence to force Ludwig into practicing. Though he constantly referred to his mother as an "honest and good-hearted woman,"1 Ludwig would, unsuccessfully, attempt to seek solace from her. This caused him to look upon his deceased grandfather as a source pride and emulation. Although he had friends, he remained withdrawn from them throughout his childhood. He did not do well in school, especially mathematics; this was due to his poor study habits. Instead, he would spend all of his time playing on the piano and developing his skills. His physical appearance was also known to be less than admirable. He suppressed all negative thought of his parents and, after his fathers death, even entertained the idea that he was the illegitimate child of French Royalty. For the next two decades, Beethoven would have great teachers that would shape his talents and he would write some of his most memorable...
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