The early years of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life are not usually emphasized as much as his later days writing symphonies, but they were critical in his development towards musical virtuosity. In fact, it was those years growing up under an unstable household with an alcoholic musician for a father that led Beethoven to form his characteristically dynamic mannerisms, which, in turn, revolutionized his musical career. His early years can be traced according to the various developments made in his musical education. Initially taught by his tyrannical father, Ludwig underwent physical abuse in order to learn correct fingerings and scales. Although his authoritarian style of teaching was not ideal, the situational environment it created was conducive for Beethoven’s early sense of rebellion towards authority—both social and musical. His aversion to musical authority was manifested in his early works including expanded sonatas and an array of quartets often involving two, sometimes three, different instruments. More characteristically, his wide use of tonal material significantly surpassed that of his musical contemporaries. Further along his journey to musical prowess, Beethoven suffers the impending loss of his hearing. Beethoven discovers in himself a will power to carry him through the dark days of his progressive hearing loss and in so doing, sets the stage for an entirely new era of music to begin.

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