Beethoven Accomplishments

What were some of Beethoven's greatest achievements?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany and died on March 26, 1827 in Vienna, Austria. He is regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of western music.

His first achievement was leading the transition from the classical style of his predecessors such as Mozart and Hadyn to the more expressive, Romantic style of his successors. He is generally considered a master of the art of expressing emotion in pure instrumental music. He contributed to several technical innovations in the sonata, symphony, concerto, and quartet. His Ninth Symphony was innovative in the way it blended vocal and instrumental music within the symphonic form. 

Although Beethoven did major work in many genres, his symphonies are among his greatest achievements. Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op.55 'Eroica' is particular appreciated for its sweeping breadth, grandeur, and emotional amplitude. His Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is perhaps his best known work, and innovative in being a choral symphony, incorporating Schiller's poem, the "Ode to Joy". This choral segment has become the anthem of the European Union and is one of the world's most recognizable pieces of classical music. His Symphony No. 5 in C minor may have the most famous and recognizable opening of classical symphonies, with a dramatic short-short-short-long pattern.


stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.


kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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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