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Ludwig van Beethoven:
Roll Over Beethoven

For some reason, Beethoven has been the butt of many musical jokes over the years. You can find Beethoven references everywhere from disco, to the Beatles, to the Broadway musical.

Music heard in this episode:
Electric Light Orchestra: Roll Over Beethoven
Walter Murphy: A Fifth of Beethoven
Beethoven: Symphony #5
The Beatles: Help! / Symphony #9
Beethoven: Minuet in G
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Other shows about Ludwig van Beethoven:
About Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven the Pianist
Beethoven's Symphonies
Music that Imitates Inanimate Objects

Download this month's activity sheet

About Ludwig van Beethoven
12/16/1770 - 3/26/1827
Born in Germany

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. His father, who was a singer, was his first teacher. After a while, even though he was still only a boy, Ludwig became a traveling performer, and soon, he was supporting his family.

In his early twenties, Beethoven moved to Vienna, where he spent the rest of his life. Beethoven was one of the first composers to make a living without being employed by the church or a member of the nobility. At first, he was known as a brilliant pianist. But when he was around 30 years old, Beethoven started going deaf. Even though he could no longer hear well enough to play the piano, Beethoven composed some of his best music after he was deaf!

Beethoven is considered one of the greatest musical geniuses who ever lived. He may be most famous for his nine symphonies, but he also wrote many other kinds of music: chamber and choral music, piano music and string quartets, and an opera.

See other composers born in Germany


This Week's Quiz:

1. Which of Beethoven's symphonies was used in several pieces of popular music?





2.During World War II, British public radio started all news bulletins with the first four notes of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5



3. Which popular cartoon strip features a small piano player who loves Beethoven?

Hi and Lois


Lil Abner

Dennis the Menace


Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 8

Composed in 1812
Performed by Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia
Bela Drahos, conductor

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