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Beethoven’s 7 th Symphony and RHYTHM. His Life. 1770-1827. Born 6 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Father was cruel to young Ludwig and at age 17 had to take care of his siblings. Studied with Haydn and met Mozart. Around 30, gradually went deaf.

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Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and RHYTHM


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His Life

1770-1827

  • Born 6 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

  • Father was cruel to young Ludwig and at age 17 had to take care of his siblings.

  • Studied with Haydn and met Mozart.

  • Around 30, gradually went deaf.

  • Wrote music by hearing vibrations at piano.

  • “I will struggle with fate:it will not drag me down.”


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Beethoven’s 7th

  • Composed in 1811-12

  • While he was staying in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice in the hope of improving his health

  • Published in 1816 in Vienna

  • Symphony’s 7th Energy embraced due to Napoleon’s occupations of Vienna in 1805 and 1809.

  • Celebratory symphony—dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries and Russian Empress Elisabeth Aleksiev.

  • Performed 3 times in 10 weeks!


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The 7th Symphony

The Seventh Symphony is in four movements:

I. Poco sostenuto — Vivace

II. Allegretto

III. Presto

IV. Allegro con brio

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in A, E and D, 2 trumpets in D, timpani and strings.


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History Behind the 7th

  • Symphony’s 7th Energy embraced due to Napoleon’s occupations of Vienna in 1805 and 1809.

  • Celebratory symphony—dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries and Russian Empress Elisabeth Aleksiev.

  • Performed 3 times in 10 weeks!


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The Famous Premiere

  • The work was premiered in Vienna on December 8, 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau, with Beethoven himself conducting and Louis Spohr among the violinists.

  • One of Beethoven’s most successful concerts.

  • The piece was very well received, and the allegretto had to be encored


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Interesting Tidbits

  • Composer and music author Antony Hopkins says of the symphony: “The Seventh Symphony perhaps more than any of the others gives us a feeling of true spontaneity; the notes seem to fly off the page as we are borne along on a floodtide of inspired invention. Beethoven himself spoke of it fondly as "one of my best works".


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The 7th’s Legacy

  • This work was both the first and the final piece ever conducted by Leonard Bernstein, the final one being with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on August 19, 1990.

  • On the other hand, admiration for the work has not been universal. Carl Maria von Weber considered the chromatic bass line in the coda of the first movement evidence that Beethoven was "ripe for the madhouse.”



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Definition of Rhythm

  • The basis for all music is rhythm.

  • The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians defines rhythm as “That aspect of music concerned with the organization of time. As such it is a function primarily of the duration of the sounds and silences of which music consists.”

  • Children often respond first to a piece of music’s rhythmic features and then broaden their listening horizons to melody and harmony. This is an excellent “in” when teaching the Seventh and any other piece of instrumental music for that matter.


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Rhythm Exercises

  • See activities in Teacher Handbook created by Amy Evers of the Chapel Hill Carrboro School District.

  • Rhythm score for various percussion instruments based on 1st movement.

  • In addition, please see question sheet created by Debbie Shearin to answer from Beethoven’s biography from Student Book.


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MELODY

  • Aaron Copland:

    Variations on a Shaker Melody


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