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Beethoven's Jazz

Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111, was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1820 and 1822. It is one of the last sonatas he ever composed.

All of his life, Beethoven sought to break the musical ideals and codes imposed at the time. He succeeded in this with one of his last Sonatas. Produced with two different movements, it succeeded in its clever innovation.


The first movement is known as “the Arietta” (with a few variations). The second, he conceived by placing chords only at the second and fourth beats. This clever choice later became one of the characteristics of Jazz.

It was truly a revolution ! It was the first time that an artist incorporated "Swing" sounds in a piece! This is how he earned his nickname by some of the precursors of Jazz.

However, due to the technical difficulty and visionary characteristics of the piece, it was unfortunately not a major success in his lifetime. It had only been recently in the 1950's that his sonata was finally recognized. Many following Jazzmen, and still to this day, are inspired by his revolutionary piece for their own creations !



Not having known the success of his work, Beethoven died on March 26, 1827 at the age of 56 from a decompensation of hepatic cirrhosis (liver disease) taking with him his virtuoso musicology.


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