If you are interested in finding answers to the question, what instruments did Beethoven play? You will surely get facts about Beethoven’s instruments in this article.
Ludwig Van Beethoven is widely known to have played the piano. Although he was known to be a great song composer, he was also skilled in the mastery of the piano.
You will also find it interesting to know that he was not just good at piano alone, Beethoven was also good at a few other instruments. He was a good player of viola, organ and violin. However, his skill level in these other instruments is average.
Who is Beethoven?
Ludwig Van Beethoven is a German composer and pianist. He is widely admired during his lifetime and after his death on March 26, 1827. His baptismal age carries December 17, 1770. And he started out his career at a very early age.
However, his work became renowned when he was in his twenties. He is renowned for the forgery of his own craft. And also the development of his own style from Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart style. His virtuosity broke history and has remained relevant till today.
What Instruments Did Beethoven Play – Piano
In the early years of Beethoven, he played the pianos obtained from his friend Böhm Stein. The majority of his pianos were obtained from Vienna, where he lived. The first personal piano he started his career with was the Stein piano. It was coined from the name of his piano manufacturer friend, Böhm Stein.
The piano had a quick and responsive playing capability. Stein family, alongside his daughter that took over the business after Böhm’s death, supplied the majority of Beethoven’s piano.
He proceeded to try pianos from other brands. He used brands like the Walter piano that produces a clearer and richer sound. Streicher and Grat pianos that like a build up on one another also came in handy.
A special one amidst the pianos he used was the Érard piano. The piano was capable of five and a half octaves. It also had a 3-way stringing, a split bridge for the bass, and four pedals. This made it produce a richer sound than most piano Beethoven used previously. The piano had an exceptional resonance. It is believed to have aided Beethoven’s early achievements.
His experience with the Erard piano did not last. He lost his hearing in 1814 and could no longer perform publicly. He then ordered a new Broadwood fortepiano from London. Soon enough, the piano became his most cherished piano and accomplice.
Beethoven became focused on finding a way out of his predicament. And with this piano, he expounded his dynamics, technique and rhythm. The piano was capable of playing 6 octaves and sounded almost like the grand piano we have now.
Graf noticed Beethoven’s preference for the Broadwood piano that was brought from London. He then decided to copy the same soundboard, which would be capable of giving his piano a more English sound. Graf was the first to make massive production of pianos at the time.
He produced about 100 of the piano in a year and lent Beethoven one of them to test the effectiveness. It was a routine for great piano manufacturers of their time to bring their pianos to Beethoven for review.
Beethoven did not stick to a particular piano all through his career. He used several pianos mentioned above to improve his song composing and performance. He was known to have a good taste for pianos with the best sounds.
In all, he used a few pianos from manufacturers like Stein, Streicher, Walter, Érard and Grat. His Broadwood and Fritz piano are inclusive.
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What Instruments Did Beethoven Play? Here are all the instruments he played.
Although Beethoven is renowned for his piano virtuosity, he was also an expert in viola, which he performed professionally in an orchestra in his teenage years. Aside from these, he also has skills in instruments such as the organ and violin. Facts have it that he learned piano, violin and organ as a child. He made a little cash from them by playing the viola in the court orchestra. Get the full details below:
The first person known to have taught Beethoven how to play the piano was his father, Johanna Van Ludwig. He was a musician during their time. The entire Ludwig family was known for music, but Beethoven’s father was not as good as the rest of them.
His grandfather was a highly skilled pianist, and so was Beethoven’s son. Music is all evident in their lineage. This is probably because they start out at an early age. In the case of Beethoven, he started learning piano at the age of 5. It was under the supervision of his strict father, who at times would drag him out of bed in the middle of the night to practice. He wanted him to become the second Mozart.
This is another instrument that Beethoven composed some of the best violin sonatas and concertos in history. He learned violin from Hayd but not specifically to play professionally. He learned so as to better understand the compositions of the likes of Mozart.
Beethoven learned organ as a teenager from Gottlob Neefe. He became professional and at some point could represent his teacher in public events when he is not available. However, the organ is not a major instrument Beethoven play, he only learned it as a young boy.
His viola skill is also not as renowned as his piano skills. However, he also played the violin as a teenager in the court orchestra. He became good enough to be added to the Bonn theatrical orchestra membership.
Facts About Beethoven
Aside from facts about the instruments Beethoven played, here are other facts about him.
- Music composer: Being a composer was the second major career of Beethoven. And he composed more than 200 works which include his symphonies, string quartets, piano concertos, and opera singer.
- He taught the piano: It is interesting to know that Beethoven was not all about his career alone. He also taught a few others how to play the piano for a fee. One of his close students was Helene Von Breuning.
- He created 9 symphonies: Amidst other great accomplishments, Beethoven is renowned for the 9 symphonies he wrote. He wrote six of them when he was sick. It astonishes people how a person that is deaf to sound could come up with such compositions.
- He aided the development of the CD: The ninth symphony of Beethoven served as a template for several other widely recognized pop hits. The 70-minute Beethoven symphony influenced the 80-minutes standard CDs that came later in the 90s.
- Beethoven started learning piano at the age of 5: It is worthy of note that the world-famous Beethoven started the journey of many miles from age 5 under his father’s strict order. From here, he gained mastery and loved the piano till death.
- He was determined: Beethoven was determined to the end to be as good as Mozart. This determination enabled him to never give up even when he was losing his hearing.
- He died of illness: Beethoven died of illness following his suffering with severe pain and deafness. Various treatments were administered, but they could not help. This finally led to his death.
- His birthdate is unknown: Apparently, Beethoven’s birth certificate does not reflect the date he was born. It only reflects the baptismal date.
Why Did Beethoven Stop Playing Music?
In 1811, Beethoven stopped playing music in public because he could not hear music again. At this point, doctors could not accurately diagnose or treat his condition. Occasionally, Beethoven suffered from not hearing the sound of the piano.
He would request high-sounding pianos, but none of them could help him. So, he was forced to quit performing publicly. However, this was not the end of music for him. He continued privately till he died a few years after.
How Many Symphonies Did Beethoven Write?
Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies in total. Six of his symphonies were written after he lost his hearing, while the first was written when he was 29 years old. He was simply a creative genius. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest composers in the Western classical tradition. His compositions encompass 722 works, 9 symphonies, 35 piano sonatas and 16 string quartets.
His songs are enormous, he wrote many overtures. He wrote them for his only opera, titled Fidelio. Similarly, he wore many types of concertos which are recorded. Some of them are five piano concertos, a triple concerto for violin, cello songs, violin concerto and songs for the piano.
If you asked earlier, what instruments did Beethoven play? I am certain you do not only know about the famous Beethoven now, but you also know about the instruments he played. If any part of his career story has taught you anything, do drop it in the comment section.
However, the major point is that Beethoven played the piano as his major instrument. And he played other instruments like violin, viola and organ as subordinates.