Senior Theses

Publication Date

Spring 2002

Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Arts & Humanities

Faculty Advisor(s)

Bill Millar

Subject Categories

European Languages and Societies | Music


This work relates the evolution of Beethoven’s music to the historical evolution of a unique Germanic culture; it is a vignette of the melding of art and politics in the building of a nation. The music of Beethoven began under the thumb of an entrepreneurial father and his own admiration of the music of Mozart; Beethoven through his lifetime pushed the threshold of the classical form to its outer limits reaching the pinnacle in his Ninth Symphony.

The 19th century German culture can be traced to the Hohenzollern Dynasty which was granted a crown in 1701, and went into high gear when c.1725 Herder proposed the concept of a culture college. The concept of nation building included: common language, common values and traditions, and contiguous landholdings. Most was accomplished through the service of Otto von Bismarck under several Kaisers. The high point of German nationalism resulting from Herder’s concepts began to deteriorate around 1871 from classic order to nebulous romanticism. This work closes with the dismissal of Bismarck in the early 1890s.