[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Beethoven__4730.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[IncrediblyLamePun Isn't he a]] [[Creator/AndyWarhol colorful]] [[IncrediblyLamePun character]]?]]

->''"Duh duh duh DUH!"''
-->--'''Excerpt from the "Fifth Symphony", which everyone on Earth knows'''

->[[BadassBoast There are many princes and noblemen. There is only one Beethoven.]]
-->--'''The Man Himself.'''

German Composer (c. 17 December 1770 –- 26 March 1827) of ClassicalMusic, generally considered one of the most talented and influential of all time.

Born in UsefulNotes/{{Bonn}} to a family of Flemish origin (that's why it's ''van'' Beethoven, not ''von'', and he's not a nobleman--Dutch "van" is no indication of nobility), he moved to Vienna in the 1790s, at first attracting attention for his virtuoso piano performances. His earlier compositions were accomplished but derivative pieces (on the surface, at least) in the Classical Era style of Music/JosephHaydn and [[Music/WolfgangAmadeusMozart Mozart]].

Then he started to [[{{Irony}} go deaf]], and everything changed. He began to compose dramatic, emotional works on a scale far larger than anything most musicians had worked on before. These would eventually lay the foundation for the Romantic Era of music.

Beethoven wrote music in a wide variety of genres, including a single {{opera}}, ''Theatre/{{Fidelio}}''. He is most famous, however, for his symphonies. His ''Fifth Symphony'' is filled with [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome spectacular moments]]. His epic and inspirational ''Ninth Symphony'', first performed in 1824 when Beethoven was almost completely deaf, has become one of the world's most famous musical works, eventually becoming the anthem of UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion. Thanks to PopculturalOsmosis you probably know the "OdeToJoy" from the fourth movement even if you've never heard the rest of the symphony.

Throughout the ninteenth century, Beethoven's works were upheld among even the greatest composers as the impossibly-high standard one should always try to strive to match, even if one could never succeed in doing so. Music/FranzSchubert went into a kind of compositional paralysis after he heard a Beethoven symphony, believing much of his own work was no longer worth pursuing when something ''that'' great was out there. Music/RichardWagner, whose ego was nearly as large as Germany itself and who would never hesitate to tell everyone how great he was, could only bring himself to proclaim that he was the ''successor'' to Beethoven, not Beethoven's equal or better.

Beethoven [[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy may have been an alien spy]]. Or possibly [[TimeLord/BeethovenAndOtherAlienSpies a Time Lord]]. Or [[YouWillBeBeethoven maybe even you]]!

!! Tropes present in his work:
* EverythingIsAnInstrument: The overture "Wellington's Victory" calls for groups of muskets and cannons to exchange fire, depicting the battle rather literally.
* HeroWorshipper: The story behind Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 was that he created it with the life of NapoleonBonaparte in mind. The main reason was Beethoven viewed Napoleon as a [[LaResistance rebel hero]] during UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution. When the Frenchman went all AGodAmI and declared himself emperor, Beethoven lost it - he seized the title page of his work and tore it in half before throwing it to the floor - and renamed the symphony "Eroica" instead of "Bonaparte". He re-dedicated it as "[A] Heroic Symphony, written to celebrate the memory of a great man", which might be read as Beethoven declaring that Bonaparte was Dead to him, but when Bonaparte ''actually'' died, Beethoven remarked "I wrote the music for this sad event seventeen years ago", referring to the second movement of the symphony - the Funeral March.
* LetsSeeYOUDoBetter: ''Wellington's Victory'' is typically seen as absolutely horrible, especially by Beethoven's standards. His response to all the criticism was, "What I shit is better than anything you could think up!" He was probably right.
* MusicOfNote: Ask any person on the street to name a great composer; odds are very good that the first name they think of will be "Beethoven." And they'll probably also know that he wrote "Da da da DUM" and the "Ode to Joy" and....
* OutOfGenreExperience: A large set of arrangements of Irish, Scottish, and Welsh folk songs leave some critics scratching their heads, but he took a lot of time and care over them (of course the [[MoneyDearBoy generous commission]] didn't hurt either). In fact, the trope might even be {{inverted}} considering that by the numbers, he wrote more folk song arrangements than any other genre.
* ThePerfectionist: Beethoven's scores and sketches are famously filled with violently scrawled crossings-out and corrections in search of the exact right notes. Naturally, [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome it paid off.]]
* QualityOverQuantity: Unlike his teacher, [[Music/JosephHaydn Haydn]], who wrote more than a hundred symphonies, and the person who he wanted to study under, [[Music/WolfgangAmadeusMozart Mozart]], who wrote a few dozen, good ol' Ludwig only wrote a symphony when he was inspired to, and, in effect, only wrote nine. Most musical historians say that his symphonies were also the pinnacle of western music.
* StandardSnippet:
** There is recent recognition that the introduction to Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" falls under this category.
** His Fifth Symphony. During WorldWarTwo, the first measure was an Allied LeitMotif, its four notes matching the MorseCode for "V" (for Victory). And the irony of using Germany's greatest composer against the Germans.
** ''Moonlight Sonata''. The first movement is probably best known to 8-bit-era gamers as "the ''VideoGame/JetSetWilly'' theme".
** Ode to Joy from the Ninth Symphony is the official anthem of the European Union.
** Für Elise

!! Beethoven in popular culture
* ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'': Schroeder is a massive LoonyFan of the composer. Generations of children grew up reading ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' strips in which character Schroeder was an obsessive LoonyFan of Beethoven, originally as a means for cartoonist Charles Schulz to parody one of the first children's fads, the cult of UsefulNotes/DavyCrockett merchandise in the 1950s. According to the Beethoven Exhibit at the Charles Schulz museum in Santa Rosa, Schulz liked Mozart more, but decided that "Beethoven" was [[{{Rule Of Funny}}inherently funnier]] as a name.
* ''Literature/AClockworkOrange'': In the novel, as well as the film version, Alex adores the music of Beethoven as one of his few passions other than rape and violence. The film version, ''Film/AClockworkOrange'', uses music from the Ninth Symphony on the soundtrack, which causes SoundtrackDissonance due to it actually being composed as an ode to peace.
* A bust of Beethoven can be seen on the album cover of Music/FrankZappa's ''Music/WereOnlyInItForTheMoney''. Actually Zappa wanted a bust of his real hero Music/EdgardVarese, but since they couldn't find any he settled on one of Beethoven instead.
* Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" inspired Music/TheBeatles song "Because" on ''Music/AbbeyRoad'', which supposedly has the "Moonlight Sonata" played backwards on the soundtrack.
* Beethoven's ''Pastorale'' in used in ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' and his Fifth Symphony at the start of ''Disney/{{Fantasia}} 2000''.
* His life story is shown in the {{Biopic}} ''Film/ImmortalBeloved''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TimeSquad'' visits him in a wrong timeline where he became a wrestler and has to be persuaded to become a composer again.
* WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory: Once battled against Music/JustinBieber.
* Music/{{Sparks}} released a ConceptAlbum called ''Music/LilBeethoven'' in 2002. It told the story of how the titular character - a Reclusive Artist and the present day descendent of composer Ludwig van Beethoven - had been approached by the brothers to work on new material with them, the nine songs bearing the fruits of this supposed collaboration.
* Music/TransSiberianOrchestra released a RockOpera named ''Music/BeethovensLastNight'' about his work.
* Despite his name, he does not feature in ''WesternAnimation/BeethovenTheAnimatedSeries''.
* Has nothing to do with [[Film/{{Beethoven}} a Sint Bernard in the movie series that bears his name]].
* He is mentioned as being dead in the song "Decomposing Composers" by Creator/MichaelPalin sang on Creator/MontyPython's ''Audioplay/MontyPythonsContractualObligationAlbum''.
* ChuckBerry titled ''Roll Over Beethoven'' after him, considering he could roll over in his grave if he heard rock and roll.
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