CCSS: 6.SP.B.4, 6.SP.B.5, 7.SP.B.3, 8.SP.A.1, MP1, MP5, MP6

TEKS: 6.12A, 6.12B, 6.12C, 6.12D, 6.13A, 7.6G, 7.12A, 8.5C, 8.11A

Happy Birthday, Beethoven!

DUN DUN DUN DUUUUUN! The famous intro to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in C Minor has appeared in movies, TV shows, and more. This month marks the composer’s 250th birthday.

Ludwig van Beethoven was baptized on December 17, 1770. (This is the only date that was recorded, so no one knows his exact birthday!) He published his first set of compositions, or written instrumental works, when he was only 12 years old. Soon after, Beethoven began touring Europe as a piano prodigy. He performed for royalty and learned from famous composers like Joseph Haydn. He even competed in improvisational piano contests to show off his skills.

Over the course of his life, Beethoven wrote more than 700 musical works. Many of those, including his famous Fifth Symphony, were written after he became deaf in 1802. He spent years working on each piece to make it perfect. “Just like a mathematician has to solve math problems, Beethoven solved musical problems,” says David Levy, a Beethoven scholar and professor of music at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Almost 200 years after his death in 1827, Beethoven’s music is more popular than ever. Beethoven set the standard for every composer who came after him, according to Levy. “Some of his best-known music is based on the simplest ideas, like the Fifth Symphony,” he adds. “You feel it in your gut how powerful it is.”

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Answer the questions using the charts and graphs above. Round answers to the nearest whole number. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

How many of Beethoven’s symphonies are less than 30 minutes long?

A. 1

B. 2

C. 5

D. 7

What percent of Beethoven’s works with an opus number are in the stage and vocal genres?

A. 8%

B. 17%

C. 21%

D. 35%

About how many minutes longer is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony than his Seventh Symphony?

A. 30

B. 35

C. 40

D. 45

How many of Beethoven’s works with an opus number are part of the chamber genre?

A. 5

B. 24

C. 37

D. 48

What percent of performances during the 2019-20 orchestral season were works by Beethoven?

A. 8%

B. 11%

C. 19%

D. 24%

What is the ratio of Beethoven’s works to Brahms’s works performed during the 2019-20 orchestral season in simplest form?

A. 72:217

B. 144:434

C. 217:72

D. 434:217

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was performed 38 times in the 2019-20 season. What percent of performances of his works was that?

 What is the mean, median, and mode of duration lengths for Beethoven’s symphonies?

An orchestra wants to hold a 2.25-hour-long Beethoven concert. What is the greatest number of different symphonies it could include in the concert?

Poll your class on what type of music they like most. (Visit for a poll template.) Then make a circle graph of the results.

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