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  • His Alcoholic Father Abused And Berated Him In An Attempt To Make Him The Next Mozart on Random Grim Facts About Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid

    (#1) His Alcoholic Father Abused And Berated Him In An Attempt To Make Him The Next Mozart

    Beethoven was born on December 16, 1770 in Bonn, present day Germany.  His grandfather, also named Ludwig van Beethoven, was a kapellmeister (conductor) and Bonn's most respected musician. Unfortunately, Beethoven's father, Johann, was an abusive alcoholic intent on turning his son into a musical prodigy akin to Mozart.  

    Legend has it, as a very small child, Beethoven was forced to stand on a stool so he could reach the piano keyboard. His father routinely beat and whipped him for mistakes or lack of attentiveness. Johann arranged a public recital for his son on March 26, 1778, billing him as six years old when Ludwig was seven. Though a competent musician, Beethoven never received the same early acclaim as Mozart, which frustrated his father to no end.   

  • The Love Of His Life Died Alone After Refusing Marriage For Class-Based Reasons on Random Grim Facts About Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid

    (#9) The Love Of His Life Died Alone After Refusing Marriage For Class-Based Reasons

    Despite his clumsiness and failure with women, Beethoven was a man of occasional grand gestures. When he died in 1827, a remarkable love letter was found in his personal papers. It must have been very important to him, as it was written in July 1812 and was still with him 15 years later, despite his habit of changing homes constantly. The letter contains such phrases as "remain my true and only treasure, my all, as I to you." and the famous phrase: "Even in bed my ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us."  

    The letter was discovered by Beethoven's secretary and first biographer Anton Schindler, who willed it to his sister, who in turn sold it to the Berlin State Library, where it resides today. The most likely candidate for the "Immortal Beloved" is Countess Josephine Brunsvik, a married woman who was involved with Beethoven but rejected marriage that would have cost her custody of her children. She died tragically in 1821, abandoned by her family. In the year of her death, Beethoven composed his last piano sonatas, Op. 110 and Op. 111, believed by some to be requiems for Brunsvick. 

  • He Was Dyslexic, Never Learned To Multiply Or Divide, And Had Difficulty With Music Theory on Random Grim Facts About Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid

    (#3) He Was Dyslexic, Never Learned To Multiply Or Divide, And Had Difficulty With Music Theory

    Beethoven had serious learning disabilities. Even as an adult, he couldn't multiply or divide simple sums. If he had to figure out 12 x 2, for example, he wrote down twelve twos and added manually. Because he dropped out of traditional school at 10, Beethoven never learned the fundamentals of mathematics and, even in his last days, couldn't handle fundamental tasks involving words and numbers (spelling was also difficult for him.). Aware of this inability, he commented, "Music comes to me more readily than words."  

    Despite these issues, Beethoven never gave up on tasks he wanted to pursue or things he felt compelled to understand. According to biographer JR Ruciman, the composer had great difficulty understanding counterpoint in music, but refused to give up pursuing it, and eventually came to master it. Unlike Mozart or Handel, Beethoven was a very slow thinker, but once he came to understand something, he understood it completely, and would never budge on the conclusions he drew, no matter how profound an argument was made against him. Even composing was laborious for Beethoven, but he never gave up.

  • His Father's Alcoholism Forced Beethoven To Support Himself In His Early Teens on Random Grim Facts About Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid

    (#4) His Father's Alcoholism Forced Beethoven To Support Himself In His Early Teens

    Beethoven's father was a tenor and musician employed in the court orchestra at Bonn. He was competent and punctual until drinking harmed his voice and ruined his reputation. In the early 1780s, his standing, already in decline, was further tarnished when he was caught in a forgery scandal. Although he wasn't prosecuted, his music career deteriorated completely and he became a notorious, undesirable figure.

    At least once, Ludwig had to intercede with police to prevent his father's arrest for public intoxication. Beethoven understood from a young age he would have to earn a living for himself, as he couldn't rely on his father. In 1784, at age 14, he was appointed Elector of Cologne's Assistant Official Court Organist, and received a modest salary. Beethoven's mother died in 1787. His father got a salary as an act of charity and, in 1789, Beethoven obtained court permission to directly receive half his father's salary for household expenses, as he was essentially now supporting the family (he had two younger brothers, the only of his seven siblings to survive infancy).   

    At some point, the court officially banished Johann von Beethoven from Bonn, although this demand was never enforced.  Ludwig left his hometown in late 1792 for Vienna. His father died a month afterwards on December 18, 1792.     

  • He Used, Among Other Methods, A Vibrating Pencil To Help Compose While Deaf on Random Grim Facts About Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid

    (#13) He Used, Among Other Methods, A Vibrating Pencil To Help Compose While Deaf

    Beethoven started to have issues with his hearing in 1800, at the age of 30. Although there are many theories as to what caused this disability, not even his autopsy disclosed the source of Beethoven's hearing loss. His condition began with a buzzing, ringing sound that only got steadily worse. He was able to continue composing music because his deafness was a slow deterioration, not a sudden occurrence.  

    But how did he do it? Beethoven's servants observed him at the piano with one end of a pencil in his mouth. The other end of the pencil, resting on the piano's soundboard, sent vibrations from the instrument to the composer, which helped him discern notes. Beethoven's deafness influenced the music he composed; his late work is dominated by low notes, which he could still hear clearly. However, high notes chime in his final compositions as well, though he could only hear them in his imagination. 

  • Most Of His Close Friendships Were Mired By His Inability To Understand Human Behavior on Random Grim Facts About Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid

    (#7) Most Of His Close Friendships Were Mired By His Inability To Understand Human Behavior

    According to Grove Music Online, a digital resource of Oxford University Press, Beethoven was incredibly impatient and mistrustful. These qualities, combined with a pronounced inability to discern motive, put tremendous strain on many of the composer's personal relationships. Compounded misunderstandings, exacerbated by Beethoven's temper, led to serious, long-lasting arguments and, in some cases, fist fights. 

    A look at Beethoven's pattern of friendship shows the effect his mistrust and skepticism. His two closest friends - Franz Gerhard Wegeler, a physician Beethoven knew since childhood, and theologian Carl Amenda - lived in different countries for most of their adult lives. Stephan von Breuning was his closest friend in Vienna, and he and Beethoven went through years of not talking to one another due to tension in their relationship. 

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Beethoven has been away for more than 200 years, almost everyone in the world knows his name and music. All the modern musicians are still fascinated by his beautiful music and touching melody, but few people know how tragic his life has been. Beethoven spent his childhood under the strict and demanding education of his father, which created his stubborn, sensitive personality. When his music career began to develop, he was hit by fate again, he was deaf.

He has almost never heard of his own work. After his deafness, he tried his best to avoid any social activities. If a musician cannot hear his own work, what could be more cruel torture? The random tool shares 18 sad facts about the miserable life of Beethoven.

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