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Ludwig van Beethoven is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential composers of Western art music. From a young age, he exhibited considerable talent, independence, and willful nonconformity. Over the course of his life, these themes came through both in his compositions, and in his attitude towards social norms regarding music. Composing symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, concertos, and one opera, Beethoven shattered musical boundaries and set the stage for how musicians and listeners would think about music for the next 200 years, up to modern day. This afternoon I will explore various ways in which Beethoven’s conception of music continues to influence our thinking about music, even rock, through analysis of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” off their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

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