Talk:Ludwig van Beethoven/Archive 3

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 7

Moonlight Sonata media file

The current Moonlight_sonata.ogg is inferior to another file on Wikipedia: Moonlight.ogg. I'm learning the piece myself (beginning pianist) and I wanted to hear a good example. In my opinion, the current one is void of any emotion whatsoever. Propose to replace

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, 1st movement


Piano Sonata No. 14, 1st movement (Adagio sostenuto)

--Puddyglum 20:24, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Agree - the existing one seems to be produced by a midi sequencer, with no tempo variation at all. The other is an actual performance, and quite a nice one. --Stephen Burnett 21:09, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Made the change. This is my first edit! yeah!... Puddyglum 21:35, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Romanticism template

Is there a reason that there is a romantic box but no classical box at the bottom of this article? I have no problem with the romanticism template staying in place, but to try and pigeonhole Beethoven as a "Romantic composer," while partly true, is a gross oversimplification, as he was as much classical as romantic. I'm not familiar enough with Wikipedia to edit this myself, but I think it would be wise to include a Classical box along with the existing romantic box. Pianoguy 01:15, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you that Beethoven was both Classical and Romantic. There is no more pivotal figure. It seems, though, that there is not an equivalent Template:Classicism, since that template is quite different; and I don't see a template on either Mozart or Haydn, for example. (Are these templates helpful? What do other people think? I thought it was nice to be able see links to Romanticism and its followers in the other arts, but isn't it necessarily POV to pick which names go on the template?) Antandrus (talk) 01:48, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
I didn't realize there wasn't a Classicism template. Perhaps there should be one... I have no idea how that process works. I think the template is helpful, especially for people that aren't familiar with music history; it provides a quick overview. I don't think it's POV so long as the names on the template are widely agreed-upon; I don't think anyone is going to cry POV when somebody says that Schumann is a Romantic composer. Pianoguy 03:29, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
What I'm more concerned about is that the presence of the chart seems to deny the classical implications in Beethoven's music, and I forsee a generation of highschoolers writing reports with this article and saying, "Beethoven was a Romantic composer" which doesn't capture the entire truth. Anyways, I think we can both agree that this article is quite bad in general, while most of the glaring inaccuracies have been removed, there just isn't much information in it that is useful. This is distressing to me; it seems that the Wikipedia Beethoven article should be one of the most important in the encyclopedia. Some day I'll try to get around to a rewrite... Pianoguy 03:29, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Several interesting issues here, some of which should properly be discussed elsewhere -- such as "who goes on the template". While no one will seriously claim that Schumann was not a romantic composer, the problem arises with "why not Clara Schumann? Why not Bruckner? Why not ..." But that's a discussion for the template page. Regarding the romanticism vs. classicism templates: it's misleading not to have both, but there is not an equivalent classicism template (the one we have is jarringly different). Regarding the article: it's been bugging me for three years. We need a greater depth of coverage, with a well-cited and thorough survey of critical approaches to Beethoven over the last two hundred years, and it's not an easy job to do this. I think for most people it's ... easier to argue about infoboxes and templates, than get a pile of Beethoven biographies and critical works, and start writing. The meta-issue is that it is becoming harder in general to write Wikipedia as the articles become more and more mature and stable, even when they're not very good. Have you looked at the Schubert article recently? It's still full of the original 1911 Britannica prose, even after all these years of editing. Antandrus (talk) 03:46, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Many good points. I agree with the statment that it's easier to argue about templates than rewrite the article, and I hold myself guilty in that regard. Honestly, my years as a wiki editor have rather disillusioned me to the entire process- one has to wonder what is the point of writing a wiki on Beethoven when there is already so much quality information out there that is easily accessible- Groves, Solomon, etc. This is stuff written by paid people who are much more learned than we are, so it is silly to suppose that our work can ever match theirs, unless we copy it word for word, which is plagarism. Plus, they don't have to deal with vandalism, or people with agendas, or idiots in general. My goal as a wiki editor, I think, is just to police the articles and make sure there is an effort at fairness and no blatant inaccuracies.
That said, maybe I will try sometime this summer to sit down with a stack of biographies as you suggested and do a major rewrite. The last bio I read was by David Wyn Jones, it doesn't seem widely known. I found it well-written and very compact, if a little dry. It's been a while since I've read the Solomon, I'll definitely have to look over that again. Is the Thayer still used or is it considered outdated now? The one I am most excited about, though, is the forthcoming one by Jan Swafford, who wrote really thick biographies of Brahms and Ives. He has a really unique style which I really enjoy, but the publisher hasn't said how long it will be until that book comes out but assures me he is hard at work on it. If you have any other suggestions that I should look at I'd love to hear them. Pianoguy 21:01, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

"But in 1804 , when Napoleon's imperial ambitions became clear, Beethoven crossed out Napoleon's name on the title page."

I think he actually tore out and crumpled up the title page. You might want to quote what he said about Napoleon, too, having given way to the seduction of power and betrayed the ideals for which he had supposedly stood. Letumbillon 01:10, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

What about the ideals of the Enlightenment in Eroica? I think this piece is the best example.

He actually crossed out Napoleon's name so severely that it wore through the page I believe (I think this is what M. Solomon writes anyway--can't give you a reference right now, though). W.M. O'Quinlan 23:30, 29 October 2007 (UTC)


I'm not sure if the statement "was one of the first composers to work freelance" is a good idea. It is mostly true, but Mozart was probably the very first freelance composer. Rewrite maybe? Pianoguy 16:17, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Typo to correct

In the "His Music" section under item #1, the word "sonatas" is misspelled as "sonats." Can someone more experienced with editing correct this? Ddunkman 18:40, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I went to do this, but couldn't find that misspelling anywhere - has it already been corrected? TMaster 18:23, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Scarlatti as well.


Beethoven's work should not be reffered to as 'songs' as they so often are in the analysis of the Piano Sonatas...which are obviously not songs.Piano sonatas are clearly not songs.

Can you point out where you see this happening? I do not see it in the article. Antandrus (talk) 21:00, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

The new infobox

I'd like to make a case for deleting the recently installed infobox.

  • It makes the portrait of Beethoven small and difficult to see.
  • It doesn't contain any information that isn't already in the first two lines of the article.

User:EldKatt has, in various talk pages, wisely pointed out that a reader of an article should be expected to read the article. If we put straightforward information like life dates in the first line of the text, that's sufficient to make it prominent. Cheers, Opus33 23:27, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the infobox should be removed. I believe it detracts from the article, rather than enhancing it. Mak (talk) 23:41, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I also agree with Opus33. I have just removed it again. The template was worryingly given the background colour corresponding to "non_performing_personel", and equally disconcertingly has blank places for "label" and "associated acts". Even the clearest bits of Beethoven's biography (such as his occupation and date of birth) require somewhat nuanced presentation, and no template can provide for that. --RobertGtalk 12:37, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I have modified the infobox to display some of the nuances described by RobertG. If anyone has further suggestions as to something that needs clarification in the infobox, please say so here or in the other discussion below on dates and places of birth and death. - cgilbert(talk|contribs) 06:38, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
If you change the infobox, you'll have to do the same with all the other composers! --pizza1512 Talk Autograph 04:57, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Cause of death

There is heavy speculation on what killed LvB, but PMID 17214130 suggests he had cirrhosis. JFW | T@lk 15:20, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

More specifically, I've heard that he had cirrhosis of the liver. Ittan 14:52, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

From the autopsy report, quoted in Thayer: "The liver appeared shrunk up to half its proper volume, of a leathery consistence and greenish-blue color, and was beset with knots, the size of a bean, on its tuberculated surface, as well as in its substance; all its vessels were very much narrowed and bloodless." Dr Joseph Wagner, 1827. That seems to support the liver cirrhosis. On the other hand his kidneys were in poor shape too: "every one of their calices was occupied by a calcareous concretion of a wart-like shape and as large as a split pea." This seems to suggest kidney stones. --Stephen Burnett 15:32, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Kidney stones aren't generally fatal though. bibliomaniac15 01:52, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Depends. Kidney stones lists several famous people who did, mostly when surgery was still in a fairly primitive state. --Stephen Burnett 22:20, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

I read in several bios that he died during a thunderstorm and that the friend who was then on watch over him saw Beethoven, who had apparently been sleeping, half-rise convulsively and shake an angry finger at heaven. Some sources even say he alluded to the idea of taking fate by the horns in his last moments. Letumbillon 01:07, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

This recent article speculates that Beethoven was inadvertently poisoned with lead by his physician: [1] --Dar 21:00, 28 August 2007 (UTC)DSteckelberg

How he died=

He died a very sad death, and whenever i think about it, i want to cry. After he came back from his brothers, he had caught pneumonia, because he hitched a ride on the back of a cart (His brother was a REAL cheepskate) He caught pneumonia, because it was soking rain outside, and back then, Pneumonia was more serious (they didn't have medicines, so no doctor could cure him(also, he hated doctors(He hated doctors, because when he was smaller, they couldn't help his hearing))) So when he got back, he was so cold, and his clothes were so soaked, he got even worse. He had to lay in bed for weeks! Here is the part, that for some reason, isn't on the internet. The night he died. I mean, its on the net, but not THESE details. Listen: He was laying in a bed one stormy night, with all of his dearest friends around him(Kristoff, Kristoff's mom, etc.) And he was starting to close his eyes, when he did something that sent a Chill down everybody's spine. There was a crack of thunder, and he shook his fist at it, like he was mad at it,And Quoted:

"I shall hear again!!"

He then took a long, deep breath, and closed his eyes. Sad, but Creepy (in a sad way) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Place of birth & death

He was actually born in the Electorate of Cologne, Holy Roman Empire, and died in the Holy Roman Empire too. Should we put that in the infobox, or put "present-day" Germany & Austria? Biruitorul 00:57, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

You make a good point, and this is yet another reason why I don't think we should have an infobox. The problem with using them on non-contemporary figures is that the box makes an assumption that people are from a "country", or, in the case of Beethoven, that he composed in "genre, classical", which is how CDs may be classified in a record-shop, but which has no place in an encyclopedia. Composers need a more nuanced presentation than is possible in an infobox. Please see the thread above entitled Talk:Ludwig_van_Beethoven#The_new_infobox. However I may be in the minority in my view. Antandrus (talk) 01:27, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. Given that the infobox isn't especially informative, that two pieces of information in it are arguably inaccurate, and that the rather better-developed German version of this article can do without a box, I wouldn't mind seeing it removed. Biruitorul 00:59, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I've deleted it. Salvage any lost information from the history. There was a discussion of this on Chopin's article as well — there was clear consensus that an infobox on composers like them do not present any new information, and sum up a complicated person in too brief a manner. ALTON .ıl 04:22, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
it was i who put the infobox there, and i'm a bit disappointed you unilaterally decided to remove it with the courtesy of message. i further don't see how you consider three people over a span of four months a consensus. --emerson7 | Talk 04:39, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Please consider the reason why an infobox is presented on a page like this. An infobox puts vital information in a concise, easy table for cursory readers to glean. In this case, an infobox is not ideal because the birth date, first of all, is contested, and it does not provide sufficient information about the peculiarities of his actual birth. Moreover, the rest of the information is misleading and confusing to those who are not musicians — Beethoven uniquely straddles both Classical and Romantic eras in music, and putting both there means nothing to those who don't understand his chronological ambiguity. The "Occupations" row is misleading, apparently stating Beethoven's work was part of some job or career. The "Notable Instruments" section still confuses me; is it a list of instruments he owned? Why is that info pertinent in summarizing his life into a small box? Futhermore, I'm not obligated to personally message you about it, because you do not own that edit, although you are perfectly validated in adding it back, and contributing to this new discussion. ALTON .ıl 05:07, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Note: Choose your duke-out location; they've started a discussion on this very topic here. ALTON .ıl
In response to this discussion, I have modified the infobox as to Biruitorul's suggestion in using "present-day" to modify the country locations of birth and death. - cgilbert(talk|contribs) 06:35, 13 April 2007 (UTC)


I've deleted the title "conductor" from both the infobox and the lede:

  1. To call him a "celebrated...conductor" is dubious at best. A glance at the index of my copy of Maynard Solomon's bio yields 5 total mentions of him conducting, two of which are negative (one mention of his deafness leading to disaster while trying to lead Fidelio (p. 268); one comment that conducting was "...a role for which he had never been well suited." (p. 250)). Certainly to imply that Beethoven's fame during his lifetime owed as much to conducting as to piano playing is really just flat wrong.
  2. I don't recall ever hearing evidence, in Solomon or elsewhere, of Beethoven "conducting" any music but his own. I've seen other composers called "conductors" on WP, I think erroneously. I think to avoid sowing confusion a distinction must be made between genuine composer-conductors like Mahler, Bernstein, or Boulez, and composers who occasionally conduct(ed) their own stuff, like Stravinsky or Copland.
  3. The title is also anachronistic: All the scholarship I've seen on the issue indicates that the role of "conductor" as we understand it was, in Beethoven's time, in an embryonic stage, if it existed at all. Indeed, Beethoven's music was in part responsible for its development as a specialty. Conducting touches on this, if regrettably briefly.

In short I believe the term is, in Beethoven's case, an innacurate, misleading anachronism. —Turangalila talk 03:32, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Remove it, but for sure add that info somewhere (that he was an atrocious conductor)! ALTON .ıl 06:36, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Media box broken

The scroll box in Ludwig_van_Beethoven#Media hides information in the Printable version. As the information is part of the article it should be printable. Should it be replaced with the usual list format? (SEWilco 04:13, 16 April 2007 (UTC))

Infobox problem

Ludwig van Beethoven
Background information
GenresClassical, Romantic
Occupation(s)Composer, pianist
Years active17951826

IMO this infobox detracts from the article in a simplistic and unhelpful way. Can we have a discussion about this? Thank you. - Kleinzach 23:10, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

  • IMO, the article looks quite simplistic without it. Cricket02 23:17, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Was it really necessary to kill the picture along with it? Something about babies and bathwater...
Only the infobox was moved to this discussion. If you know how to put the picture up by itself that's fine by me. Displaying portraits of composers is a good idea. --Kleinzach 02:49, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I actually think the absence of the infobox & pic only heightens the impression of this page as a set of exemplary reflist, external links, & sound samples, tacked onto an article proper that is, considering the towering subject and huge extant literature, frankly borderline-stubby. I think this debate just distracts from making the actual article better.
I think the infobox as currently "trimmed" & updated is a (small) net plus. As I said over at the WPComposers debate, what's so wrong with providing an "At-a-glance" intro for the novice, supplemental to a good article? —Turangalila talk 01:00, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

reset marginI "trimmed" the box a bit more to remove the redundant "Birth Name" and suggest a simple compromise on the birthday issue--another solution would be "c. December 17...". The footnote explains the baptism stuff fine w/o extra text above. —Turangalila talk 01:07, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I have re-added the portrait to the top of the article as it was placed originally before the addition of the infobox. - cgilbert(talk|contribs) 03:51, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. That looks good. --Kleinzach 04:54, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Well now the article is targeted by the "Article Improvement Drive." I'd expect much more conflict about this topic. ALTON .ıl 22:55, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, instead of discussion, somebody (not me) just added a new one, filled with anachronistic flags and misinformation about "birthday" "beethoven the 'conductor' " (see above), etc. Sadly, so far the "collaboration drive" doesn't seem to have produced much other than seemingly increased vandalism and just bad edits...oy. I thought at least someone would come & slap some {{fact}} tags around, which would have been helpful...
Anyway, the better part of valor even for you anti-infobox crusaders may be to leave one there that's stripped of crap, so as to discourage eager wikipedians from disastrously "improving" the top of the article. For now I replaced the "bad" infobox in the lead with the model from here, which I consider at least benign; we'll see if that too gets "improved" In the meantime feel free to revert to nothing if you feel you must, but be prepared to fight a sustained rearguard action.—Turangalila talk 06:34, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Infoboxes are horribly BITEY: the newbie entering the edit window for the first time is immediately confronted by something they can't edit. What is more, an infobox is not helpful for Beethoven, where matters are quite nuanced. Proper writing in the usual way will work better. Moreschi Talk 15:22, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Infoboxes are a standard for almost all wikipedia articles of merit. Don't like it? Change the guidelines of a start-class article at WikiProject:Biography. WP:BITE is not an excuse to skip learning wikicoding. The infobox is correct, factual, and a good piece of layout. Use it now. ClaudeReigns 20:10, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
That's utter rubbish. There is no policy or guideline that says we need infoboxes, especially not when they're misleading, as has been the case on many composer articles. Plenty of excellent articles do not have them, Josquin des Prez for one. WP:WPBIO guidelines do not rule the world. And no, it is not correct, it is confusing. Genre: Classical, Romantic? How does that help anyone? It doesn't, it just confuses. Please don't people to "Use it now". That's very poor tone to take with good-faith contributors. There are many sections of Wikipedia where infoboxes are considered either useless, redundant, or detrimental. This particular box is confusing and is redundant to the text, which explains the subtleties of Beethoven's music far better than the box ever will. It's just absurd to try to reduce thousands of analyses of Beethoven's style and genre to the farcical phrase, "Classical, Romantic". Moreschi Talk 14:16, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
User:Moreschi, an infobox is a standard for biographical articles. If you are unhappy with Template:Infobox musical artist you may of course author Template:Infobox Beethoven to present pertinent facts to the novice. You've not pointed out with any specificity at all which points are "inappropriate" or 'oversimplified'. You've not attempted a minor edit to correct any particular statement you might disagree with. This is not the place to challenge the notion of infoboxes as a thing in themselves. At the risk of sounding like I'm accusing you of disrupting Wikipedia to prove a point, please knock it off. Blocking my attempt to conform to Wikipedia's standards of excellence with a simple piece of summary layout with non-specific complaints does not show an effort at consensus. I will continue to revert until you present a rational and specific defense of your actions. ClaudeReigns 13:08, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
What the devil is this? Kindly assume good faith and take a slightly less condescending term towards the regulars. You've got to be joking. Infoboxes are standard for biography articles? This is rubbish. I've written tons of bios and I've never used an infobox, nor needed one. So have others. For starters, you could see the discussions and consensus and sections at The Composers Project and the Opera one. Infoboxes are not part of our standards of excellence. Accurate information is. I've removed the infoboxes per perfectly rational consensus for this set of articles, and per Wikipedia's standards of excellence to remove inaccurate, misleading, and confusing information. There is no reason why I have to listen to anything WP:WPBIO says, ever, when writing a biography. Moreschi Talk 14:16, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
And please do a little research on the people you accuse of POINT violations. Adminstrators who have been here at Wikipedia for well over a year are unlikely to do such things. Moreschi Talk 14:16, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Infoboxes are definitely not obligatory for biographical articles (with good reason). The Biography Project doesn't own this encyclopaedia and states as much in its own guidelines here [2]. Infoboxes are at best redundant, at their all too frequent worst they are disastrous [3]. --Folantin 15:45, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
That Paderewski save is just a bad piece of layout. A good piece of layout using all the information without redundancy in a single box is completely doable. Nobody in opposition cares to make any suggestions about what a GOOD, appropriate and nuanced infobox would look like. There's a reason for that. ClaudeReigns 09:09, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
No it isn't. It's because human beings like Paderewski fail to fit into neat little boxes. The onus is on the people who want boxes - which are completely redundant and no more than prettification on articles like this - to sort out the problems they create. --Folantin 09:29, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Straw poll anyone? JoshHolloway 17:27, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, I don't see how a straw poll will fix the problems inherent in these boxes. --Folantin 18:15, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

The Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography/Infoboxes page explains: Certain biography articles have opposition camps on infoboxes. . . . if you are tagging a scientist, academic, or "classical" composer, first ask on the Talk page. Of course both the Composers' and the Opera Projects have decided against using them after discussion. In any case there is no infobox for composers, the musical artists' box is for popular musicians. I hope that helps clarify this issue. -- Kleinzach 01:44, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, I got it. Opposition camps = WP:POINT arising from the self-importance of music scholars (no statement is "appropriate" or nuanced enough to summarize facts about we, the sublime). I don't care care what admin is going to pucker up for your "camp"... there was a reason I was asked to come here and edit, and it wasn't because this article had a rating appropriate to its notability in WikiProject:Biography. Quite the opposite. If you fellow editors are unable to come to a consensus about what are the most notable facts about Ludwig van and lead with them, and are furthermore content to leave all statements ambiguously summarized without much regard to the source of facts, then possibly the only contribution I could possibly make to this page (normally I'd be busy adding sources by now) is to delete non-notable entries in the reams of list-cruft on this page and individual statements which remain completely unattributed. Hopefully this will enable the editors here to pinpoint exactly what's important about Beethoven. Never again will I attempt to add an infobox here. I'll definitely comment against your "camp" wherever possible however, and work diligently to hold the editors here accountable for each and every line. ClaudeReigns 08:48, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
(Uh, could you indent next time? Anyway I've done it for you now.) Opposition camps is not my expression. It's what it says on the Biography Project/Infoboxes page. I have no idea who wrote it. By the way, who was it who specially asked you to come and edit this page? I'm just curious, you are of course welcome here like any other editor. -- Kleinzach 09:58, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks again. The request by User:Pious7 was made via my talk page. Since we're not directly discussing the Maestro and edits to his page, perhaps you can kill two birds with one stone and drop by. ClaudeReigns 11:08, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Your comments grow increasingly unpleasant the more you write (note how I spoke disparagingly of your comments, in keeping with WP:NPA). I know it's been a while now, but please, as others have reminded you, assume good faith, and remember that in the end, we all have the same goal: an excellent article. --Milton 07:18, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Re obscure comment in To-Do List

Meaning the "On IE the Birth name appear as John Winston Lennon". It actually dated from January 15, 2007, by an anon user. Agreed that it was probably vandalism. Thanks, Turangalila, for just getting rid of it. --Lini 03:08, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Merge Life_and_work_of_Ludwig_van_Beethoven ?

This article seems to me to have suffered from having a lot of biographical material either originally placed or moved into the above article in preference to this one. As a result, this article is quite sparse, while the above Life_and_work_of_Ludwig_van_Beethoven is actually longer than this one. To my mind the article bearing the subject's name should be a respectable article in its own right, and in particular should have more in the biographical section.

The problem will be that a straight merge will result in an article that is excessively long, but it would be a shame to lose any of the material in the other article. It seems to me that some of the more specialised stuff in the other article, such as Beethoven's ancestry, or modern interpretations of his illnesses, could be split off into other small articles. The mainstream biographical material (which by the way is lacking in inline citations) could be used here to flesh out the current biography. Opinions, anyone? --Stephen Burnett 10:54, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Both artcles seem to have complicated histories. I've no real objection to making this article significantly longer; my main qualm about a merge is not so much length as the large Attribution and POV problems of the "Life" article; frankly this article doesn't need any more of that. While the bio here desperately needs filling out, I think I'd prefer a separate, referenced completion, even if smaller and/or slower. The breakup of "Life and Works" could be a another project--perhaps as part of a rationalization of the whole Beethoven namespace; currently the different articles are too often at cross-purposes...—Turangalila talk 17:05, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I think there should be a separate section about the Karl adoption case, which was a huge and drawn-out strain on Beethoven. During the case, as it had done a couple of times before, something else came up that embarassed B a lot. He always pretended to have a disdain for the nobility, yet this issue is a complex one. He had tried several times to pretend that the van ("the") in his name was actually the noble title von. During the Karl case, it was proved that he was definitely not a von, and the publicity dismayed B a lot. This ties in with his numerous infatuations with noble women... I think B's relationship with nobility and the noble needs to be explored more, because it might be significant in his music.

Also, what about when he and Goethe were walking down the street and some royal personage passed by and Goethe bowed and B kept walking...

In the social problems section, you could mention his temper. He once flung a hot bowl of soup in a waiter's face because it wasn't hot enough.

Boys used to throw stones after him as he walked, hunch-shouldered, self-absorboed, morose, down Vienna's streets.

And he was nicknamed, among other less flattering things, Swarthy because of his black hair. His skin, too, was yellow, which might suggest he had had jaundice as a child.

Again, I don't know if all these are notable. But I think some of these details might provide a more complete picture of such an important figure in Western civilisation. Letumbillon 01:19, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

"Music: Overview" section

I placed a {{POV-section}} tag in the "Overview" section under "Music". Currently I think this section is a big problem. It's totally unsourced (unfortunately that doesn't make it stick out in this article); its tone is patronizing (very "Music Appreciation class"; I hear Karl Haas in my head); and overall it's a veritable cornucopia of POV. Even ignoring the hagiographical bits it's highly interpretive in the least: How "well-crystallized" was the rondo? It wasn't "elastic" in Mozart? Is the Allegretto of the 7th Symphony really an "ethereal slow movement of mystic glorification"? (maybe on the Klemperer record...) I'd prefer to try and fix the section rather than just kill it, since a cogent discussion of the music beyond just naming the periods and saying how famous it is is important. —Turangalila talk 08:52, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Kerman and Tyson from Grove

Um, guys, I thought we weren't supposed to just cannibalize other reference material. Please cite from other sources besides (essentially) another encyclopedia. I also think that trying to create a free encyclopedia is best achieved by eschewing as much as possible (while highly regarded) the most ridiculously overpriced piece of *ahem* literature in existence, or at least consulting all of its references first and using its synthesis lastly. I understand that the practice is to go to Grove first. But it ain't the Bible. It's a tertiary source. Make sense? ClaudeReigns 17:21, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't get any of that, for I've written whole articles using Grove, but at any rate I'm trying to use it for fairly basic facts and/or very commonly held opinions, not its synthesis. It's very exhaustive and very high-quality, and the articles are written by good people. It's rather reductive to claim that it's "just another encyclopedia", and as for your personal opinion that it's "the most ridiculously overpriced piece of *ahem* literature in existence", that's neither here nor there. There's certainly no reason not to use it to cite basic stuff. Moreschi Talk 17:34, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Grove is a reliable source. Since we are not plagiarising from it, but rather using it as a reliable source of factual information, I don't see the problem. Antandrus (talk) 17:37, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Infobox Musical Artist

I've put musical artist infobox on this page, but it has been reverted. I don't see why classical composers should be an exception for infoboxes. I want to put it back, unless there's some reason why I shouldn't do that. --Lošmi 12:15, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:WikiProject_Composers#Lead_section, Wikipedia:WikiProject_Biography/Infoboxes, and WP:WPO#Infoboxes. Fireplace 13:34, 30 May 2007 (UTC)


A book on Beethoven's health seems to have appeared, ISBN 978-0-7735-3190-1. He had a lot of respiratory and digestive problems, and of course his deafness & mood. JFW | T@lk 20:45, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

bipolar disorder

i suggest removing this until a source is provided.Bluebonics 23:00, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes the paragraph

"Beethoven frequently treated other people badly, and may have suffered from bipolar disorder, and/or irritability brought on by chronic abdominal pain beginning in his 20s, which has been attributed to his lead poisoning.[13]"

is nonsense. Reiter's article only refers to the last months of Beethoven's life. We know absolutely nothing about the lead poisoning in Beethoven's youth.--Suessmayr (talk) 15:57, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Lead poisoning?

The German Wiki entry on Beethoven notes that modern research indicates he suffered from lead poisoning:

Analysen, die das US-amerikanische Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago Anfang Dezember 2005 veröffentlicht hat, bestätigen, dass er von Jugend an unter einer schweren Bleivergiftung litt. Das Labor durchleuchtete einen der kürzlich von kalifornischen Wissenschaftlern identifizierten Schädelknochen Beethovens mit einem modernen Röntgengerät. Anschließend verglich es die Werte mit einem fremden Schädelfragment aus der damaligen Zeit. Demnach litt der große deutsche Komponist wahrscheinlich schon vor seinem 20. Lebensjahr massiv unter dem giftigen Einfluss von Blei.

As I recall, news reports at the time (2005) included informed speculation that the lead may have come from glaze on drinking vessels. Sca 03:40, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

yes, here's one on Yahoo! news: Pathologist: Doctor killed Beethoven -- Mayuresh 11:36, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

The above Wiki report was not attainable today, but the information on the German Wiki comes from the Argon Research Laboratory report 6-Dec-2005 (Contact:Catherine Foster, Phone: +1-630-252-5580) which states that synchrotron (micro) X-ray fluorescence analysis carried out on bone fragments of Beethoven's body (checked for sample identification by DNA analysis) showed the presence of massive amounts of lead. Ref: News for international x-ray analysis community Journal X-ray Spectrometry, January-24-2006, John Wiley and Sons publishers; This is a scientific proof, which, of course does not tell us where the lead came from. LouisBB (talk) 05:51, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

As long as detailed toxicological data have not been published, Prof. Reiter's hypothesis must be considered dubious. There is absolutely no proof that Dr. Ignaz Wawruch treated Beethoven's wound with lead poultices.--Suessmayr (talk) 16:00, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

van Beethoven

If he was German, why is his name always listed van Beethoven? Shouldn't it be von Beethoven. Van is Dutch where von is German. Emperor001 16:33, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Beethoven's father's ancestors were Flemish, this is where van is from. Von, in german, is usually a nobiliary particle ; Beethoven was not noble. Furthermore, van is the way he always signed his letters... I don't think we can contradict the composer himself. Cordially, Kokin 19:50, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Von isn't always for nobility, but thanks. Didn't know he had Flemish ancestory. All I knew was that he was German. Emperor001 19:01, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Late String Quartets and/or Piano Sonatas

I know this issue has already been discussed in some form or another elsewhere in the archives, but does anyone know if the middle (e.g. Op.31 and Op.53) and late piano sonatas (e.g. Op.81 and Op.106) are generally considered Classical or Romantic? What about the late string quartets? In my estimation, sonatas such as the Pastoral and the Tempest sound more Romantic than Classical (which is inconsistent with the "Eroica's" common consideration as Beethoven's first "Romantic" work), but the Hammerklavier and his other highly fugal works (e.g. the late string quartets) sound perhaps more Classical or post-Romantic than Romantic. I realize that these categories are neither cut nor dried, but is anyone familiar enough with the relevant literature to know how most scholars categorize these works (if they do at all)? W.M. O'Quinlan 23:38, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Destroying of conversation books

To which persons does the following passage refer?

"Towards the end of his life, Beethoven's friends competed in their efforts to help him cope with his incapacities,[14] and after his death destroyed many of the conversation books to protect his reputation."

Who else beside Anton Schindler destroyed conversation books? Which friends of Beethoven collaborated with Schindler? The whole absurd sentence should be deleted.--Suessmayr (talk) 16:05, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Orignal research and Beethoven's character.

It's well established that Beethoven was extremely erratic and unreasonable on the matter of his nephew. I'm not going to provide a source because it's such common knowledge across so many sources that it is superfluous to offer one.

The right of challenge is being abused; Wikipedia is becoming a laughing stock. Wikipedia, stand up to the extremists. Tcaudilllg (talk) 22:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

It isn't "superfluous"; it only means you have lots of choices. Choose one you think particularly appropriate or choose one randomly. TheScotch (talk) 10:28, 25 April 2008 (UTC)


Two of Beethoven's pianos in the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. Stieler's famous portrait hangs on the wall.

I've uploaded a photo which may be valuble to the article. (talk) 00:14, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Innappropiate wording?

From the custody battle section:

"When Karl could stand his ->tyrannical<- uncle no longer"

From the music section:

"Beethoven is acknowledged as one of the ->giants<- of Western classical music"

The first sounds as POV. The second, I can't exactly pin point what it is, but to me, it just sounds bad. Maybe emotionally charged? --W2bh (talk) 17:07, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Some more that I didn't read before:
"Equally ->remarkable<- was his use of "source-motives," which recurred in many different compositions." --W2bh (talk) 17:15, 10 December 2007 (UTC)


User:Danaullman has added a section to "illness and health" that strongly implies that the subject took homeopathic medicines, and that they were effective for him. I have no doubt that he may have seen a dr who in addition to his practice was a proponent of homeopathy, but is there any evidence that Beethoven took homeopathic remedies? I also strongly doubt the claim/implication that any homeopathic treatment helped him, unless there is a reliable source that he believed it did. Even then we should only claim that it, in his opinion, helped him, as there is no scientific evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy. Any comments, or shall I just remove these changes? I also note that this user has been asked to avoid editing articles on homeopathy, and this is probably developing into a plug for his book so WP:COI applies. -- (talk) 17:43, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Quackery was of course rampant in those days when Medical Science was in its infancy. And whether or not the homeopathic medications "worked" (or perhaps even brought about Beethoven's death more rapidly) cannot be said with any certainty based on the experiences of one single subject (any beneficial effects could have been due to the placebo effect or may have been spontaneous - after all, many people do often get better without any treatment). Whether or not Beethoven believed in homeopathy and whether or not they worked for him does not seem to be very relevant for this article and I agree that this addition is probably more like a plug for this editor. I would not object to a deletion at all. --Crusio (talk) 18:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
It's obviously undue weight in an article this size. Delete. --Folantin (talk) 18:08, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd remove it but for some reason I can't, I can only view source. As soon as that's gone I'll revert the changes -- (talk) 18:53, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I've removed it myself per WP:UNDUE. The article has been semi-protected - so IPs can't edit. --Folantin (talk) 18:57, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Strongly agree with you guys. The article should be about Beethoven the composer, and his music, and the addition seems to be more about how homeopathic medicines allegedly helped Beethoven than anything else. This is a pretty clear case of undue weight. Thanks, Antandrus (talk) 00:06, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
There are several reasons that I think that the information about Braunhofer is important here. It is known that Beethoven had certain health problems, not just hearing problems, that influenced his music. He was even known to have put his irregular heart beat to music. I referenced a book by Hayden, which, by the way, was very favorably reviewed by the New England Journal of Medicine and in Nature Medicine, that highlighted the fact that he considered almost all of his doctors to be "asses." However, he had a special and good relationship in Braunhofer, so much so that he dedicated two of his canons to him. I do not want to debate the validity of homeopathy here, but the bottomline is that, according to his famous "Conversation Books" (some of which have only recently been translated into English), Beethoven had a real appreciation for this doctor (Beethoven refers to him as "My esteemed friend" in his letters). I also reference a new book by F. Mai which was published by McGill-Queen's University Press. It would seem that this body of information is just the type that is NPOV and of special interest to wiki-readers.DanaUllman 02:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Danaullman (talkcontribs)
Maybe stuff about his views about doctors, and his special relationship with this one, should be included. This should be debated here first. However, any claims that he took homeopathic medicine need to be backed up, and any claims that he attributed any recovery to homeopathy also needs to be backed up, with specificity. The doctor might never have given him homeopathic treatments for all we know. Be aware of WP:SYN. Also, the section added was far too long for such a trivial fact: famous person in history took homeopathic pills, maybe. Since you are heavily involved in researching the history of famous people and homeopathy, perhaps you shouldn't edit the article space directly when editing pages such as these with homeopathic content. --RDOlivaw (talk) 12:07, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
First, I am sorry that several of the people making comments here have little or no knowledge of the life of Beethoven, and instead, they simply seek to UNDO what scholarly writing that I do in various articles. RDOLivaw seems to be one such person. S/he is also and, and s/he has a strong POV, rarely provides NPOV references, and primarily seeks to UNDO the NPOV references I provide. My writing at this site is FULL of direct references to NPOV source material, and they link to the specific pages in Beethoven's "Conversations Books" (RDOLivaw seems to be not familiar with these documents). Unless you read the source material that I have cited and found that it is incorrect, please acknowledge that you are working in ignorance. Please note that I do not simply "claim" that Beethoven took homeopathic medicines, I show it to be true. Please also note that I purposefully choose not to reference my new book on famous people who used homeopathy due to COI. Dana Ullman Talk 15:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Hi, yes I have previously been those two IPs - as I told Dana this morning on his talk page. I registered an account today after realising that my IP address was not static. My edits speak for themselves, however that is highly irrelevant here. I agree with the content of the two posts below, and stand by my comment above. --RDOlivaw (talk) 16:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Nobody here actually cares whether Beethoven did use homeopathic medicines or not. Doubtless he did if you say so. The issues here is one of article balance and Wikipedia:Undue weight. Might I suggest, in a similar fashion to Death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a separate article for this? Beethoven's medical history (or some vaguely similar title, at any rate). Just please be careful to avoid content forking. Moreschi If you've written a quality article... 15:17, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed.You need to read Wikipedia policy on undue weight to understand the objections to the inclusion of this information. The point is not whether this material is true or reliably sourced, it's about whether its inclusion is appropriate in a basic article of this length. It might be worth a paragraph in a book-length biography of Beethoven, for instance, but certainly not in a short, general encyclopaedic article like this. Beethoven is famous as a composer, not as a consumer of medicines. I hope this makes things a bit clearer. --Folantin (talk) 15:21, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Everyone above (except Fonantin) is not a regular contributor to this article on Beethoven. Instead, these other people follow me around to undo any reference to homeopathic medicine that I provide. I would like to ask people who have contributed to this article on Beethoven in the past to provide comment on whether the information I previously provided is of use (or not). I welcome whatever comments you have. I certainly recognize that Beethoven was a musician and not a consumer of medicines, but his health and his deafness influenced his music and his life. I inserted the information about Beethoven's health under the sub-category "Illness and Death" because this section commanded more information about his health in the years just prior to his passing. I am not saying (or implying) that any treatment helped his deafness (nothing did), but Beethoven's experiences with Braunhofer has recently been uncovered by Professor Mai of the University of Ottawa, and this information did seemingly benefit Beethoven greatly (he was suffering from internal bleeding at the time). The fact that Beethoven dedicated two canons to this doctor seems to carry some weight. Dana Ullman Talk 22:49, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
How sure are you about that? Antandrus (talk) 23:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I stand corrected...and thank you, Antrandrus, for correcting me...and thanks for introducing me to wikidashboard. You have provided many edits to this site, as Moreschi has also done some good work. That said, do any other contributors to this article have an opinion on whether the information on Braunhofer carries weight or not? Dana Ullman Talk 01:11, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Hi Dana. I think Moreschi makes a good suggestion above; the kind of information you wish to include merits a mention in a detailed article about Beethoven's health and illnesses. If you study the history of the Beethoven article -- I've been following it for about four years -- you will see that we tend to spin off "satellite" articles when sections begin to contain too much detail, i.e. overbalance the article. I don't know myself whether or not homeopathic medicines played a role in Beethoven's treatment, and I'll take your word for it, especially since I'm aware of the importance of Hahnemann around this time -- but you may wish to write a detailed account of Beethoven's health, using all available sources (and being careful not to give undue weight to homeopathy, since I see it is your interest). Please also look at the Life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven, which was a previous spinoff. Best, Antandrus (talk) 01:25, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Biographical infobox added to this article without discussion here first

A biographical infobox has been added to this article by CenturionZ 1 without prior discussion here. (It describes Beethoven as a 'freelance'.) --Kleinzach (talk) 03:12, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm removing it for discussion, as done in April 2007. Thank you. --Kleinzach (talk) 03:17, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
My apologies for removing the picture - that was unintentional. --Kleinzach (talk) 04:34, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the freelance designation; kept remaining parameters as they seem uncontroversial. --TrustTruth (talk) 18:00, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Unbalanced parenthesis!

The beginning of the article reads "(English English pronunciation: /ˈlʊdvɪg væn ˈbeɪtoʊvən/; German IPA: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːthoːfn], (December 16, 1770March 26 1827)". The programmer in me finds this very disturbing, as the brackets are unbalanced! I've looked far back in the edit history and it isn't a recent change. Is this really the way it is supposed to be written? Foolip (talk) 15:02, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Fixed it! Feel free to make changes like this on your own. If someone disagrees we can discuss it here, but seemed like obviously in need of some solution. -- Myke Cuthbert (talk) 20:08, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

See Also

It seems that all the Beethoven articles should be listed in the See Also section, not just the two that are there. I am not sure how exactly See Also policy works, though, because the other articles are linked at the top of other section headings, e.g. Beethoven and C Minor. Asmeurer (talkcontribs) 23:16, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Ludwig van Beethoven/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Last edited at 09:42, 3 August 2010 (UTC). Substituted at 19:59, 2 May 2016 (UTC)