Ludwig van Beethoven is considered to be one of the greatest composers of all time. He was a musical genius in every sense of the word, and the Diabelli Variations are a perfect example of this. In these works Beethoven takes an unremarkable, mechanical, "cobbler’s patch" (Beethoven’s own words) of a waltz and turned it into a remarkable and revolutionary musical masterpiece. The Diabelli Variations are made up of 33 separate and completely different variations all based on Anton Diabelli’s original waltz. "No other work by Beethoven is so rich in allusion, humor, and parody." (Kinderman).
Beethoven did not write all the Variations at one time. He took time away from them compose several other works including the Missa Solemnis. As was stated above, the Diabelli variations are made up of 33 separate variations on the same waltz. Beethoven started composing them in 1819, and added variations 1, 2, 15, 23-26, and 31 in 1823. We know quite a bit about Beethoven’s thought processes and intentions as he wrote this massive work due to his sketchbooks, which have survived through the years..