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#955352 - 12/10/08 10:47 AM Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
rysowers Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2503
Loc: Olympia, WA
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 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 10:51 AM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
They both mean "from"; van is Dutch, and von is German. It's not capitalized in either case.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#955354 - 12/10/08 10:57 AM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
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.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#955355 - 12/10/08 10:59 AM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
It is definitely "van"

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#955356 - 12/10/08 12:05 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
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
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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#955357 - 12/10/08 12:06 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
PS Never insult a Dutchman by calling him "von." \:D
_________________________
"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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#955358 - 12/10/08 01:09 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
And now we know what the "v" in John v.d. Brook stands for! \:D
_________________________
"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 02:29 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
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 03:02 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
rysowers Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2503
Loc: Olympia, WA
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!
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#955361 - 12/10/08 04:36 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
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

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#955362 - 12/10/08 04:38 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
 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. ;\)
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Piano Teacher

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#955363 - 12/10/08 05:21 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#955364 - 12/10/08 05:49 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
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

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#955365 - 12/10/08 05:50 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Come to think of it, they'd say it was Von, but would be pulling her chain! \:D 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

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#955366 - 12/11/08 04:59 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
rysowers Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2503
Loc: Olympia, WA
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

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#955367 - 12/11/08 05:04 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
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.

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#955368 - 12/11/08 09:58 PM Re: Ludwig "Von" or "Van" Beethoven?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Mostly, it's pronounced: fon as in on[/b] with an f[/b] 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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