The New York Times ran a very interesting piece on the “Schulz’s Beethoven: Schroeder’s Muse” that opened earlier this fall. The exhibit demonstrates that Charles Schulz use of Beethoven’s music in the strip was deeply researched. When Sparky drew strips featuring Schroeder playing the piano, the musical notes drawn were actual notes from Beethoven work. Even more impressive, those pieces of the music were specifically selected because if they were ever played aloud, their mood, beat or style would match the tone that Sparky was creating in the strip.
The exhibit is currently running at the Charles M. Schulz Museum until January 27th and then it will be moved San Jose University’s Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies. The Beethoven Studies center spent a year going through each Schroeder/Beethoven strip trying to match the notes on the paper to segements of Beethoven’s musical pieces. The exhibit allows visitors to press a button under each strip and hear the musical piece demonstrated in the cartoon.
If you can’t make it to California to see the exhibit, The New York Times has a slideshow of the exhibit on their website.