About this courseSkip About this course
Taught by music historian and Stanford Professor Stephen Hinton in collaboration with the university's ensemble-in-residence, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, you’ll be given a critical overview of Beethoven’s quartets and their reception history. Using a mix of lectures, discussions and copious demonstrations, Professor Hinton will focus in detail on three complete quartets: one early, one middle, and one late. As a special course feature, you’ll view live performances by the SLSQ recorded in Stanford's Bing Concert Hall.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- About Beethoven’s transformative achievements in the realm of the string quartet
- Strategies for describing, analyzing, and interpreting Beethoven’s music
- How Beethoven’s compositions evolved during his career and how they have been viewed throughout history
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Frequently asked questions
How much time can I expect to spend on each module of the course?
We think each module should take about three hours to complete. Each module consists of about one hour of video lectures, 30-60 minutes of listening to performances, and one hour of activities, quizzes, and discussion.
How hard will this course be?
The short answer: as hard as you want it to be! In creating this course we have aimed to introduce you not only to Beethoven's compositions and their cultural and biographical context, but also to the world of scholarship and critical discourse. We don't hold anything back! Prof. Hinton will take you on a deep dive into the scholarly conversation about Beethoven, and you will find that this conversation does not shy away from some quite weighty philosophical and historical issues. At the same time, we want to empower you to engage with Beethoven's music in your own way. We have designed this rich, immersive course to be enjoyed at the level that feels right to you.
Do I need to buy a textbook?
No. All of the required course materials (lectures, musical examples, digital scores, and performances by the St. Lawrence String Quartet) are included here online.
Where can I find out more about the St. Lawrence String Quartet, including recordings and concert schedules?
What texts would you recommend for further study?
There are countless books on Beethoven and his quartets! Here are a few recommendations:
- For a general introduction to Beethoven, see Lewis Lockwood's Beethoven: The Music and the Life or Jan Swafford's biography, Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph.
- For a general introduction to Beethoven's string quartets, see Winter and Martin's edited volume, The Beethoven Quartet Companion.
- If you'd like to dig deeper into scholarly questions about the string quartets, see Joseph Kerman's monograph The Beethoven Quartets.