Beethoven piano music is known to anyone who has ever taken piano lessons. Ludwig von Beethoven changed the world of music with his compositions for orchestra and piano.
Born in 1770, the German composer first learned music from his father, who was exacting and hard.
Rumor has it that sometimes Beethoven’s dad would come home after a long night of drinking with his friend and get Beethoven up, forcing him to practice the piano the rest of the night! (That’s no way to raise kids or learn piano!)
Anyway, Beethoven obviously learned what his dad wanted him to learn, because when he was only 16, he had a chance to play for the famous composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart was one of the first that got to know Beethoven piano music and predicted that the young German would “astonish the world” with his talent.
Mozart was certainly right!
Beethoven really lived a tragic life, though. His hearing began to fail while he was still in his twenties. It must have been heartbreaking to be losing his hearing when he had such an obvious passion for music.
The result was that he became depressed and morose in personality as he grew older, and even contemplated taking his own life.
In order to communicate with people, Beethoven kept books in which he and his acquaintances wrote down their conversations. These records are still used to help musicians get a feel for how the composer intended for his music to be played.
“Ode to Joy”
One piece of Beethoven piano music that has been loved by many down through the years is his “Ode to Joy”. This song is from the final movement of his beautiful ninth symphony.
The tune has been familiar for a century or more as a Christian hymn entitled “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”. The words of the hymn were written by Henry van Dyke.
Then in the peace and love days of the early Seventies, the Spanish singer, Miguel Rios, released a version called “Song of Joy” that spoke of a coming day of harmony and peace among all of mankind. It’s certainly a shame that almost 40 years later, we don’t seem to be much closer to seeing that day. Let the dream live on, though!
The song, “Ode to Joy”, is often included in beginner piano courses, because it is a fairly simple tune.
It’s also useful because it is so familiar. A beginner should know how the tune should sound so they can hear if they are playing it right.
Well known songs need to be included in the lessons, instead of just random notes thrown together for practice purposes. It will make the lessons more enjoyable for the learner, and make you sound like you know what you are doing early in your piano course.
Classical music will never really go out of style. The rhythm and meter of a song like “Ode to Joy” has a timeless beauty and appeal. It truly is one of the most beloved Beethoven piano music compositions of all.