Beethoven on “Radiolab”


It’s no secret that Hymie’s ♥’s Beethoven. His music is frequently featured on this site which has led to a lot of conversations in the shop – most recently, we were turned on to this episode of “Radiolab” about the tempo markings he put into his scores after becoming enamored with the metronome, a then-new device introduced to him by an acquaintance, inventor Johann Maelzel.

The maestro’s relationship with the mechanical musical chronometer is still a subject of contention, but the “Radiolab” fellas find in their discussion that the debate extends further. Is there a naturally-preferred number of beats per minute, and if so what reason would a composer have for creating works outside of that standard? The program is a compelling study of that factor we often take for granted, tempo.


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