Hear the Music of the Peanuts

Schulz's Beethoven: Schroeder's Muse

Musicians are often surprised to find that they can actually play the music notes floating above Schroeder’s toy piano in the Peanuts comic strip, and they are even more amazed to learn that it’s not just anyone’s music Schroeder is playing–the compositions were created by none other than his idol, Ludwig van Beethoven!

Now visitors anywhere in the world can hear the Beethoven excerpts that Schroeder plays in the Peanuts comic strip with a new online exhibition devoted to Schulz’s Beethoven: Schroeder’s Muse, which premiered on Beethoven’s birthday, December 16.

Schulz’s Beethoven, Schroeder’s Muse features 60 cartoons that include meticulously drawn music from Beethoven’s piano sonatas complemented with manuscripts, first editions, and artwork from the rich collections of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University. Visitors to the online exhibition can listen to the music, travel to other websites to enrich their understanding of the strips, and explore cartoon and music history.

A Schroeder and Lucy strip from The Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz

Excerpts from the complete recordings of Beethoven’s sonatas are performed by internationally-renowned pianist Craig Sheppard, Professor of Piano at the University of Washington in Seattle.

An earlier version of the exhibition was mounted at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa from August 16, 2008 through January 26, 2009, and from May 1 through July 31, 2009 in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library at San Jose State University. Both the online and the mounted exhibitions are joint projects of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and the Center for Beethoven Studies (CSU San Jose).

The Charles M. Schulz Museum opened in August 2002 to fulfill its mission of preserving, displaying, and interpreting the art of Charles M. Schulz. The Museum carries out this mission through changing exhibitions and programming that build an understanding of cartoonists and cartoon art; illustrate the scope of Schulz’s multi-faceted career; communicate the stories, inspirations and influences of Charles Schulz; and celebrate the life of Charles Schulz and the Peanuts characters.

The Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies opened in September 1985 to fulfill its mission of celebrating the music and humanitarian accomplishments of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). The Center is supported by SJSU and the members of the American Beethoven Society. The Center’s collections include original manuscripts, the largest collection of first editions of Beethoven’s music in the Western hemisphere, a historical keyboard collection including two original fortepianos from Beethoven’s lifetime, and hundreds of art works depicting the composer’s world.