This Gorgeous Beethoven Google Doodle Will Challenge Even His Biggest Fans

How well do you know "Moonlight Sonata" or "Ode to Joy"? Sure, you might be able to hum the latter at a Christmas Eve service, but could you arrange the first few bars correctly? Unless you were a voice major, currently play in a band, or are otherwise musically talented, today's interactive Google home page might pose a challenge. In a Google Doodle in celebration of Beethoven's 245th year, the do-no-evil crew from Mountain View are quizzing us on some of the composer's most prolific works.

The Doodle moves through an interactive story of Beethoven heading to the symphony hall but with many challenges along the way. It starts with a video of Ludwig at the piano when the alarm clock goes off — he can only hear it with his ear trumpet (the composer went deaf later in life). He gathers up his sheet music, heads outside and steps in it — literally. Horses weren't quite as sanitary as today's automobile. While he tries to clean his shoe, the horse eats his composition.

Then comes the first of several composition challenges. How well do you know his music? There are four bars of his "Fifth Symphony" that you have to put in order. Throughout the rest of the story, Beethoven encounters other challenges that put his famous arrangements in danger — and it's up to you to save them. The quiz will let you know which bars you have right with a green check.

The Google Doodle blog explains that the quiz was designed to mirror the challenges that Beethoven faced in his life. He famously "saw more than its share of rotten luck." For starters, he was pulled out of school by his drunk of a father who hoped to make money of his talent. Then two siblings died and he had to provide for the family by the time he was a teen. He also fell in love twice with the wrong people (i.e., they weren't into him). We've all been there! And that's nothing compared with trying to write music while deaf.

The Doodle went live on Wednesday night and will be up all Thursday, Dec. 17, the date of Beethoven's baptism. No one knows when he was born exactly, but it's assumed to be around this time. According to TIME magazine, the Doodle team has been working for about two years to find the right way to commemorate Beethoven.

Some ideas included video games where you collected musical notes or explored a village similar where Beethoven's music was being played. Ultimately, the team settled on the educational aspect of this doodle. "None of them really filled the role of what we wanted, which was to teach people about Beethoven and his music," the engineer, Jordan Thompson, told TIME, "You can actually see the music notes, so you can get the concept of written music."

If you can sort all of Beethoven's pieces, he'll make it to the symphony hall and you're treated to some more of his music. May your holiday season be filled with lots of love and togetherness. And if you're dealing with some unrequited love — à la Beethoven — make sure you follow up "Moonlight Sonata" with a screening of Love Actually.

Images: Google (6)