Last night I saw the biographical film, In Search of Beethoven. The movie is premiering right here in Chicago in the US, but it’s also showing in London, currently. Although it was a long movie, two and half hours, the time seemed to fly right by. I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I always love to learn how certain pieces came to be, or what the composer was like when he was writing them, i.e. how was he living, was he with a loved-one or was he alone, was he rich or poor, etc. And did you know that when he was a man in his thirties and forties, he was in love with young women who were only teenagers? And I thought that his hearing loss came on when he was older, like maybe in his forties, but no – he was losing his hearing already at a much earlier age. Also in the film I learned about how innovative Beethoven was. He composed music that no one had heard before. And I don’t mean because it was new music, but that it had certain elements in it that had never been written or heard before. Like an octave glissando – he was the first to do that. Also starting a piano concerto where the piano is the first instrument to actually begin the piece. There were many references about things like that in the move. However, I still have a question that I’ve had for a long time, but have never been brave enough to ask. And it’s about any classical composer, not just Beethoven, although the question fits him the best. Ok here it is – and please don’t ream me out for asking such a stupid question. I really want to understand this: These ‘innovative’ composers - if they were so innovative, then why did they not write music with more jazzy harmonies? They all sat in front of a piano when they composed, right? So wouldn’t you think that as their fingers randomly moved around on the keys, they would have accidentally hit on a jazz chord? Beethoven could write beautiful and serene pieces with sweet chords, or he could write out a tumultuous storm. I don’t understand why he didn’t stumble upon even more things, like some other ‘jazzy’ harmonies. Or what about a blues pattern, or swinging eighth notes, or a walking bass line? Why was Beethoven’s music so ‘classical’ all the time?