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Beethoven’s Musical Reality

Satisfactory Essays
Dating back to the Renaissance, the arts have been reconceived as a ways of exploring the universe, complementary to the sciences. Beethoven was perhaps the “first composer for whom an exploratory function of music took precedence over every other: pleasure, instruction, and even, at times, expression” (Rosen). This approach to the composition and theory of music is one of the many early aspects of Beethoven’s talent that sets him apart from any other artist of the time.
As aforementioned, Beethoven had some severe social issues—some authors consider him to have a very defined ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ relationship with himself. “The really important thing about Beethoven—his music—is largely purely Jekyll” (Schauffler). Unfortunately, early in 1798 the young master suffered a shock that nearly shut down his career at the onset; with a rapidly growing concern, Beethoven noticed that something was terribly wrong with his hearing. The “novelty and poignancy of the tragic note now suddenly sounded in his music makes it reasonable to suppose that this note was caused by his loss of hearing and the consequent fight with himself” (Schauffler). Immediately after this discovery Beethoven wrote some of the most sublimely heartbreaking music the world had ever heard: the Largo e mesto of his D major piano sonata (Op. 10, No. 3), the first movement of the Sonate Pathétique (Op. 13), and the Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato of his first string quartet (Op. 18), which he notably associated with the tomb scene from Romeo and Juliet (Newman, W). That well-known association is indeed “music eternally fit for the tragic parting of lovers—the parting of the music maker from his noblest sense” (Schlauffer). While it is now clear that Beethoven conveys his...

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