eamo2747 said: I'm confused about what Beethoven was doing in the black composers post. He was German.
By golly gee! I keep forgetting that Black people didn’t exist until the Fresh Prince of Bel Air came on television! Or that Black people existed in anywhere else than Africa even with slavery going on :) My apologies.
Anyway, here’s proof that Beethoven was Black:
"… Said directly, Beethoven was a black man. Specifically, his mother was a Moor, that group of Muslim Northern Africans who conquered parts of Europe—making Spain their capital—for some 800 years.
In order to make such a substantial statement, presentation of verifiable evidence is compulsory. Let’s start with what some of Beethoven’s contemporaries and biographers say about his brown complexion:
(Louis Letronne, Beethoven, 1814, pencil drawing.)
"Frederick Hertz, German anthropologist, used these terms to describe him: ‘Negroid traits, dark skin, flat, thick nose.’
Emil Ludwig, in his book ‘Beethoven,’ says: ‘His face reveals no trace of the German. He was so dark that people dubbed him Spagnol [dark-skinned].’
Fanny Giannatasio del Rio, in her book ‘An Unrequited Love: An Episode in the Life of Beethoven,’ wrote ‘His somewhat flat broad nose and rather wide mouth, his small piercing eyes and swarthy [dark] complexion, pockmarked into the bargain, gave him a strong resemblance to a mulatto.’Beethoven’s death mask: profile and full face
C. Czerny stated, ‘His beard—he had not shaved for several days—made the lower part of his already brown face still darker.’
Following are one word descriptions of Beethoven from various writers: Grillparzer, ‘dark’; Bettina von Armin, ‘brown’; Schindler, ‘red and brown’; Rellstab, ‘brownish’; Gelinek, ‘short, dark.’
In Alexander Thayer’s Life of Beethoven, vol.1, p. 134, the author states, “there is none of that obscurity which exalts one to write history as he would have it and not as it really was. The facts are too patent.” On this same page, he states that the German composer Franz Josef Haydn was referred to as a “Moor” by Prince Esterhazy, and Beethoven had “even more of the Moor in his looks.’ On p. 72, a Beethoven contemporary, Gottfried Fischer, describes him as round-nosed and of dark complexion. Also, he was called ‘der Spagnol’ (the Spaniard).
Other “patent” sources, of which there are many, include, but are not limited to, Beethoven by Maynard Solomon, p.78. He is described as having “thick, bristly coal-black hair” (in today’s parlance, we proudly call it ‘kinky’) and a ‘ruddy-complexioned face.’ In Beethoven: His Life and Times by Artes Orga, p.72, Beethoven’s pupil, Carl Czerny of the ‘School of Velocity’ fame, recalls that Beethoven’s ‘coal-black hair, cut a la Titus, stood up around his head [sounds almost like an Afro]. His black beard…darkened the lower part of his dark-complexioned face.’
Engraving by Blasius Hofel, Beethoven, 1814, color facsimile of engraving after a pencil drawing by Louis Letronne. This engraving was regarded in Beethoven’s circle as particularly lifelike. Beethoven himself thought highly of it, and gave several copies to his friends.
Beethoven, the Black Spaniard(read more here)
They whitewashed BEETHOVEN? O_O
Thank you, history/fact-checking Tumblr.
I now feel the need to go burn every white-skinned image of Beethoven I can find.
beethoven was totally black! how do people not know this?
jk because erasure
I have been playing Beethoven’s music for 10+ years now and had absolutely no idea he was black.
My life has been a lie.
The other parts of that essay that try to set up links between any of Beethoven’s music and jazz, gospel, hip-hop, and African folk music are extremely tenuous and pretty racist (emphasis mine):
"In the Blom edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, p. 20, is stated, “A rhythmic or time-active cast of thought was inherent in his nature,” and “(n)umerous examples could be given from familiar music in which an off-beat accent converts an ordinary into an extraordinary passage.” The distinctive characteristic of off-beat accents, or syncopation, is intrinsic and integral to Black people’s music making, which gives it a unique vitality and kinetic energy.
Examples of this rhythmic trait are his mammoth string quartet known as “The Great Fugue,” which sounds “way ahead of its time” and foretells 20th century atonality. Also, the second movement of the last Piano Sonata he wrote, Op. 111 in C minor, sounds like the genesis of jazz. He had exquisite foresight as to how music would evolve in the future. He was an astounding piano improvisateur, which moved Mozart to prophesy, “He will give the world something worth listening to.” The last movement of the “Waldstein” Sonata, op. 53, has a syncopated bass, which might inspire gospel music clapping. It is also the same off-beat pattern used in reggae and Hip- Hop music.
Beethoven makes prolific use of the syncopating kettle drum in much of his orchestral music, such as the dramatic Symphony No. 5, which contains one of the world’s most famous themes, and the majestic “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5.
He was the first composer to invigorate European Classical Music with prodigious use of this decidedly inherent African rhythmic trait.”
Furthermore, a former Lawrence University professor of music history who works with the Myrtle Hart Society, an organization dedicated to “[promoting] the classical community of color and [developing] new audiences for classical music amongst people of color” publicly addressed the theory here saying he had “searched all scholarly literature that might be relevant in German, Dutch, Flemish, Italian, and English. It is not at all uncommon for European musicologists to dedicate monographs to such matters as a composer’s physicians or ancestry, and I have not found even a single suggestion that Beethoven had any Caribbean, Moorish, or Spanish heritage.”
I’m all for exposing erasure and whitewashing because fuck white supremacy, but this shit is pretty racist (unintentionally - it was initially written by a black professor) and none of the evidence actually points conclusively to him being black. There are enough good music historians out there with enough to gain from such a discovery that I find it hard to believe, if it is true, that it is somehow not already a well-established fact, even if it revised centuries of whitewashed history. That all said, I would be happy to be wrong or called out about this in any way, so if there’s a problem with what I’m saying, I would really appreciate hearing about it.