Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)

How to say the name:

‘Beethoven’ is said like Bay-toe-van. ‘Ludwig’ is said like ‘Lood-vig’ (and ‘van’ is easy to say!).


In Bonn, Germany, probably on 16th December 1770 (he was baptised on the 17th).

Beethoven’s grave in Vienna


26th March 1827 in Vienna, Austria.


Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) in Vienna.

Type of Music:

Classical music from the end of the classical period, to the beginning of the romantic period.

Some famous pieces:
  • Für Elise (a popular piano piece to learn).
  • ‘Moonlight’ Sonata (for the piano).
  • Symphony No. 5. (See below for a video.)
  • ‘Ode to Joy’ from Symphony No. 9. (See The Great Composers page for a video.)
Some (very!) great pieces:
  • Symphonies Nos. 3–9. (See below for videos of No. 3 and No. 5. See also The Great Composers page for a video of No. 9.)
  • Late String Quartets (Op. 127, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135). (See below for a video example.)
  • Piano Concerto No. 5
  • Plus many, many more great pieces!!
Some interesting facts:
  • He was one of the greatest composers of classical music ever!
  • In later life he became totally deaf (so he couldn’t even hear his own music :cry:)!!
  • When he was little, his father forced him to practice the keyboard for hours and hours. His father wanted Beethoven to be like Mozart.
  • He demanded that people listen to his music and would stop playing if people started talking.
  • He was often quite grumpy and scruffy!
  • His music was so original that he started a whole new type of music (called romantic).
  • The first piece of music of this new type was the Symphony No. 3 (see below for a video). It was so different from anything before that the first audience was shocked!
  • His symphonies are so great that later composers were nervous about composing their own symphonies.
  • His late string quartets are very deep, serious and personal. They are the last major pieces completed by Beethoven. They also started a tradition with other composers of writing their most serious music for string quartets.

Here is a video of the beginning of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 with its famous ‘da-da-da-daaa’ sound.

First movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

And here is a video of the beginning of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (the Eroica Symhphony). Many people say this was the first piece of romantic music.

The first part of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3

Finally, here is a video of Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue (Great Fugue). This is one of the Late String Quartets. This is very serious music. It is music to think about.

The beginning of Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue Op. 133.

There are other videos of music by Beethoven on the following pages:

as well as the following news page:

There is also another picture of Beethoven on the following page:

Picture credits:
  1. Ludwig van Beethoven. This is a painting by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller from 1823. The image is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
  2. Beethoven’s grave. This photo was taken by Heinz Albers,, in 2004. The image may be used freely providing one credits the photographer. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
Video credits:
  1. Beethoven 5 First Movement. Achim Holub conducts a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 with Kammerphilharmonie Graz, an orchestra specialized in historically informed performances of 18th and 19th century music (with natural horns and trumpets).
  2. Volker Hartung conducts Beethoven Symphony No.3 Eroica 1. Allegro con brio – Part 1. The ‘Eroica-Symphony’ is performed by the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Orchestra conducted by Volker Hartung. Live from Lee Foundation Hall in Singapore
    more at:
  3. QUARTET CASALS. Beethoven op.133. 6-Grosse Fuge (1st part). QUARTET CASALS in Malaga playing Beethoven op.133. 6-Grosse Fuge.