Beethoven Google Doodle is an absolute ode to joy

17 Dec 2015

Google has really outdone itself with today’s Google Doodle, which celebrates what would have been the 245th birthday of Ludwig Van Beethoven, with the help of an incredible musical puzzle.

While the exact birthday of Beethoven isn’t definitively known, today’s date of 17 December is widely considered the day chosen in his absence, much like a certain religious figure who will be celebrating his 2,015th birthday next week.

Even if you’re not a classical music aficionado, it’s almost a certainty that you’ve heard the music of the German-born composer, with today’s Google Doodle celebrating some of his most famous works like Für Elise, Moonlight Sonata and, of course, Symphony No 9 (Ode to Joy).

But not only is it highlighting a selection of his works, the Google coders and illustrators have created a musical puzzle that you must complete to help Beethoven make it to the symphony hall and piece his sheet music together after his horse decides it looks like a tasty meal.

More than just a doodle

After all, Beethoven’s life was full of incidents that did little to show that he was going to have much luck in life, starting with his father realising his 10-year-old son was incredibly talented, and a gold mine, and so pulled him out of school.

While born in Germany, he soon moved to the epicentre of music at the time, Vienna, Austria, where he developed his music and lived for the rest of his life.

However, despite appearing to be getting towards the height of his powers in his early 30s, Beethoven’s hearing issues descended into complete deafness, which incredibly didn’t deter him from writing music, with many of his most famous pieces written when he wouldn’t have been able to hear them.

Today’s Doodle was designed by a team of eight engineers, designers and illustrators, with one of the engineers, Jordan Thompson, saying of the process: “We went through a lot of different prototypes for what we wanted a Beethoven doodle to be, but none of them really filled the role of what we wanted, which was to teach people about Beethoven and his music.”

So why not try your hand at the puzzle by clicking the link below.

Beethoven Google Doodle


Beethoven statue image via Zach Flanders/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic