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Beethoven, Ludwig van Beethoven, Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy, Wagner, Universal Brotherhood, Romantic era, classical music, Symphonies, Choral finale, Choir


Almost everyone is familiar with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the famous four note motif that represents fate knocking at the door. His Third Symphony, or “The Heroic Symphony” that was originally written for Napoleon Bonaparte, enjoyed great success and helped shape the future of classical music. However, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony which contains the well-known tune “Ode to Joy” most drastically impacted classical music’s future. Beethoven was a master at taking simple ideas and combining them with past musical traditions to create something extravagant and new. This is most evident in his Ninth Symphony. In this work, Beethoven did something that was never done before when he added vocal soloists and a choir into the last movement. This symphony was based on the poem by Friedrich Schiller that emphasized universal brotherhood and unity. To express this, Beethoven added the choir and solo voices, consequently impacting the music of future composers. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conclusively bridged the gap between classical and romantic music and set the standard for future composers through his use of the choral finale combined with past musical traditions.





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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
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