Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Derrick. Derrick Wonders, “Who is Ludwig van Beethoven?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Derrick!
Do you have a favorite song? Would you rather listen to pop music, country, or rap? Maybe you'd pick jazz or alternative rock!
Whatever your favorite genre is, music is everywhere today. Each switch of the station brings you a new song. However, music lovers didn't always have it so easy. Two hundred years ago, people couldn't listen to music at home. They had to go to a theater to hear their favorite music.
Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the most popular musicians during this time. People packed theaters to hear him play the piano. Are you WONDERing what was so special about Beethoven?
Beethoven was so talented on the piano that people called him a prodigy. When he was a child, his father made him practice music day and night. Sometimes, he punished Beethoven when he made a mistake. Still, Beethoven loved music.
As a young man, Beethoven moved to Vienna, Austria. There, he wanted to study with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. However, his plans fell through. Just a few months later, Beethoven had to return to Germany because his mother passed away.
A few years later, Beethoven went back to Vienna. This time, he studied with a man named Joseph Haydn. Mozart and Haydn are both seen as great influences on Beethoven's music.
In his late twenties, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. He was deaf by the age of 46. However, deafness did not stop Beethoven from writing music. In fact, Beethoven wrote his masterpieces in the last ten years of his life. That means he wasn't able to listen to his own best music!
People who knew Beethoven said he wasn't easy to get along with. His friends and family described him as short-tempered and suspicious of others. Regardless, the music he wrote was some of the most popular of the 19th Century. To this day, Beethoven's music is used in countless movies and television shows.
Beethoven left a great legacy when he died in 1827. By adding vocals to the symphonies he wrote, Beethoven completely changed the symphony genre. Most experts today call Beethoven the greatest pianist and composer of all time.