39 votes
Accepted

Why does Brahms stand next to Bach and Beethoven?

First, a history lesson: Peter Cornelius originally claimed that these "Three Bs" were Bach, Beethoven, and Berlioz. It was Hans von Bülow that then replaced Berlioz with Brahms, and Bülow did it ...
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  • 79.3k
29 votes

What makes a piece sound like Beethoven?

I don't think I can improve on Dudley Moore's "answer" one bit: Although it is obviously a parody, and a very funny one, if you study carefully all of the ...
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  • 9,016
27 votes
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Why is Debussy's remark brilliant (on going out and smoking, at the start of Beethoven's developments)?

In short, the German musical tradition (largely based upon Beethoven's towering presence) is one that prioritizes thematic development. Beethoven was known, for instances, for sometimes introducing ...
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  • 79.3k
20 votes
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Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3: Last notes played by piano or not?

Edit: Please see phoog's answer below, which I find to be a more complete reading of this issue. For questions of this nature, your best bet is to try and find the original manuscript version of the ...
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  • 79.3k
18 votes

Did Beethoven "invent" ragtime with Piano Sonata No 32 Op 111?

No, I think the similarity to ragtime is coincidental, and I believe the principal evidence is in the way Beethoven notated this passage. Beethoven has notated this section of the piece in 12/32, ...
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  • 6,433
18 votes

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3: Last notes played by piano or not?

It's written without the piano for the final measures: This is very typical of the rondo form that typically ends Classical period concertos--each time the principal theme comes back, the soloist ...
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  • 21.3k
16 votes

Double basses in Beethoven's Eroica

Beethoven wrote those low notes even though he knew they were not playable on the instruments available. The subject of Beethoven's disregard for the range of the bass has been much discussed. Stephen ...
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  • 15.5k
14 votes
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What is the purpose of the first movement in Moonlight Sonata?

The "Moonlight" Sonata is just one of many pieces with the title "Sonata". The title "sonata" is descriptive of how the music is constructed; a basic description can be ...
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12 votes
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Why are some Beethoven works given names like WoO 40 or Hess 238?

Compositions are commonly referred to by what we call opus numbers. A famous sonata by Beethoven is his Opus 53, and—because "opus" is Latin for "work"—this is an identifier that tells us that it is ...
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  • 79.3k
11 votes

Which hands to use for Für Elise by Beethoven?

Fingering suggestions, including handedness, are always just suggestions. You can play it how you like. That said, there are a few reasons to use both hands in this passage: The octaves are much ...
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  • 6,577
11 votes

Did Beethoven really usher in the Romantic Period?

Of course he didn't, and good on you for spotting such an oversimplification. The simple fact is that it's almost never fully correct to say that one individual ushered in a new historical era. The ...
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10 votes
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Ludwig van Beethoven "complete" 722 works in Chronological Order

You're looking for the Biamonti Catalogue. An online version with MIDI versions of some works is available here.
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  • 507
9 votes

Is this really better analyzed in G minor than in Bb?

Using the word "key" is too definite. The music progresses through lots of different tonal centers but most of them don't last long enough to be worth calling "keys". Both of you are wrong about the ...
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  • 91
9 votes
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No connection between two melodies in an opus

There are actually four parts to this symphony (called "movements"). The classical symphony has four movements: An opening movement in sonata form, usually somewhat fast ("allegro") A slow movement A ...
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9 votes

Why is there a key signature change in Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata (2nd movement)?

The key signature change aligns with the Presto, to emphasize that the harmony at that point is still B D F#, because the bare B's aren't enough to show that. His other late sonatas also modulate ...
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9 votes
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Why is there a key signature change in Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata (2nd movement)?

It seems to me that the purpose of the notation is to show the performer how to interpret what is happening. After the ambiguous passage, we do arrive at the start of what appears to be a new section,...
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  • 106
9 votes
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Double basses in Beethoven's Eroica

I would strongly advise against Solution #2 (tuning the string down). Especially if this is a school/amateur orchestra (as you say), this could wreak absolute havoc. I have enough experience giving, ...
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8 votes
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Moonlight sonata, note lengths inside triplets

You can see WHEN the D# and C# are played. There are no rests in the lower voice, and no overlaps. All you're really being asked to do is 'bring out' the melody A, D#, C#. Maybe easier to see if ...
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8 votes
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What's going on in measures 11 - 16 of Beethoven's Sonata Appasionata?

This is a notoriously difficult sonata to analyze, but I recommend keeping two things in mind when considering mm. 11ff: Most importantly, you're correct that m. 9 begins a dominant prolongation. In ...
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  • 79.3k
8 votes

How should I analyze this passage? As vii°7, V7, or both?

In bars 5 - 7 of your excerpt, an excursion to F minor is implied. But in bar 8 et seq. the Ab and F are re-assigned as the top two notes of G7b9, the dominant of C minor (and Beethoven's favourite ...
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8 votes

What are these diagonal dashes in the Schnabel Ed. Beethoven Sonatas?

Schnabel is indicating that the bass voice here should be given more prominence than "just accompaniment"; rather, it should be played with the quality of a counter melody. He makes a point ...
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  • 58.9k
7 votes

Why did Beethoven include "in the Lydian Mode" in the title of String Quartet, Op.132 - 3?

The Lydian mode was associated with healing. See Lewis Lockwood's biography, Beethoven: The Music and the Life: That he chooses the Lydian mode betokens not only a desire to frame this poignant ...
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  • 121
7 votes

Did Beethoven "invent" ragtime with Piano Sonata No 32 Op 111?

As a single composition, probably not. No more than Beethoven invented the rumba-tango style with the third movement of his Piano Concerto #1. However, Scott Joplin had very good classical music ...
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  • 23.3k
7 votes

What is the purpose of the first movement in Moonlight Sonata?

For an interesting take on the first movement, try Benjamin Zander, for example at (then go back and watch the whole lecture). As you seem to be unimpressed with the ...
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  • 14.1k
6 votes
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Trill measure 29 3rd movement "Moonlight" sonata (Beethoven op. 27 no. 2)

There is a general consensus that the trill should start on the principle note (A#) with finger 4 and consist of 5 total notes, including the trill ending. Beyond that, there is little agreement. ...
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  • 58.9k
6 votes

Which hands to use for Für Elise by Beethoven?

For me, I would use the combination of both hands for two main reasons: The less "jumping around" on the piano, the better. Fewer fast movements (such as going from that upper E to the D# 8vb) ...
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