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Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the great musicians and composers during the transition from the Classical to the Romantic periods in Western music.
He was first recognized as an outstanding instrumentalist, playing both piano and violin in the homes of wealthy patrons and, on the piano, on the concert stage. His repetoire quickly expanded to include his own compositions as well as music featuring his improvisations based on works by others, such as Bach and Mozart.
By 1800, Beethoven was widely known as a composer of great ability. His "melodies, musical development, use of modulation and texture, and characterization of emotion" introduced new methods of presenting and developing musical themes. His musical innovations continued throughout his career, including his expansion of the format of the symphony.
Beethoven set new standards for conveying emotion and passion through his music, created intricate melodies and harmonies that continue to challenge and delight musicians today, and showed himself to be a master of composition for many instruments and musical formats.
A deaf composer of some of the most popular and respected musical compositions in human history can boast as his most famous accomplishment a body of work the envy of millions of inferior composers. Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony Number Nine, "the Choral," is one of the most beautiful compositions and arrangements in the history of music, and remains a staple of major orchestral presentations around the world, as do his Symphony Number Five and Piano Concerto Number Five. It is difficult for most of us to conceptualize the ability to compose and arrange music of any genre, let alone major orchestral compositions, but for a deaf child to do so is beyond description. His most important achievement: his life.
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