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#955352 - 12/10/08 11:47 AM Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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rysowers Offline
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Hello all,

A piano teacher friend called me last night and asked me if I thought Beethoven's full name was Ludwig Von Beethoven or Ludwig Van Beethoven. She had done some checking in her literature and found most of the references said "Van", except for a very old book.

She went to the local music teacher's association meeting yesterday and asked about it, and there was a general "of course it's Von" sentiment.

I thought someone here help might have a little insight into this question.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
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#955353 - 12/10/08 11:51 AM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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sotto voce Offline
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They both mean "from"; van is Dutch, and von is German. It's not capitalized in either case.

Steven

#955354 - 12/10/08 11:57 AM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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Morodiene Offline
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One suggests royalty ("von), and that was something according to one biography I read, that Beethoven wanted to portray. His given name, however was van, which suggested a more common heritage.


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#955355 - 12/10/08 11:59 AM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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keystring Offline
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It is definitely "van"

#955356 - 12/10/08 01:05 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Beethoven's paternal line was from the "Low" countries, the Dutch speaking area of what is now Belgium. In Germany, Beethoven's family lived in Bonn, which is on the Rhein, about 45 miles as the crow flies, from Belgium (and it's pretty flat there, so most people traveling overland wouldn't travel much further), and about 120 miles from Mechelen in Belgium, where the family came from. Historically, many families moved up and down the Rhein, just as my family did. What caused grandpa Lodewijk v. Beethoven to take a job in Koblenz should be interesting.

Hoven and Hofen are often interchangeable and means port or dock (for shipping). Perhaps one of our Dutch speaking friends can decipher Beet for us. Ofcorse, Beethoven may have some entirely different meaning. Be interesting to find out.

See Beethoven\'s family tree


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#955357 - 12/10/08 01:06 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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PS Never insult a Dutchman by calling him "von." laugh


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#955358 - 12/10/08 02:09 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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And now we know what the "v" in John v.d. Brook stands for! laugh


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#955359 - 12/10/08 03:29 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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Beethoven did not bother to clarify the van and allowed himself to be called von. This meant he was being referred to as Germany nobility and his fellow nobles were chuffed to have a great composer among them. The truth came out in a nasty court case where Beethoven took his nephew from his brother's widow.


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#955360 - 12/10/08 04:02 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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rysowers Offline
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So should we use "von" according to Beethoven's own wishes (assuming we can even know such a thing!) He certainly occupies a place of royalty amongst the composers and musicians of history. Or perhaps in his enlightened place beyond the earthly vale, he fully realizes the futility of class distinctions! [Linked Image]


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
#955361 - 12/10/08 05:36 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Well, in Germany, he's listed as "van Beethoven," and not "von Beethoven.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#955362 - 12/10/08 05:38 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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Gary D. Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by rysowers:
She went to the local music teacher's association meeting yesterday and asked about it, and there was a general "of course it's Von" sentiment.
If that's the answer she got, it's a bit scary. wink


Piano Teacher
#955363 - 12/10/08 06:21 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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sotto voce Offline
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The scariest thing isn't that they were mistaken, but that they were sure they were right ("of course").

It brings to mind the quip by Mark Twain that used to be in my sig line: "The problem isn't what we don't know; it's what we're sure of that just ain't so."

Steven

#955364 - 12/10/08 06:49 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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BTW, Ryan, I surely hope you're not talking about our local chapter. I've only made one meeting this Fall, but I can't imagine they'd not know all of this!


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#955365 - 12/10/08 06:50 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Come to think of it, they'd say it was Von, but would be pulling her chain! laugh We do have a number of contrarians in our group.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#955366 - 12/11/08 05:59 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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rysowers Offline
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rysowers  Offline
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Maybe they were referring to pronunciation more than spelling? Isn't it pronounced "vahn" even though it is spelled van?


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
#955367 - 12/11/08 06:04 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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playadom Offline
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playadom  Offline
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That's a pretty good point. "Van", as in the American English pronunciation of the vehicle, is an anglicized pronunciation of both "van" and "von", and would likely be thought to be incorrect.


Practice makes permanent - Perfect practice makes perfect.
#955368 - 12/11/08 10:58 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Mostly, it's pronounced: fon as in on with an f in front of it.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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