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How Could Beethoven Compose Music Despite His Loss Of Hearing

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Facts About The Life Of Beethoven

How Did Beethoven Hear Music?

Beethoven amazingly composed a huge amount of his music once he was deaf. Find out more about this remarkable man.

Beethoven might be considered one of the greatest composers of all time, but its surprising how little many people actually know about him.

This musical master managed to achieve some remarkable things in his life including composing his most complex and highly regarded symphony, while deaf. Find out more about this remarkable man.

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How Was Beethoven Able To Compose While Deaf

I have a one-word answer to this question.


Yes, it was his discipline that made him mindful about the music that even he could hardly hear while he composed.

During his lifetime, Beethoven was consistent and passionate about his music and practiced the music regularly.

Beethoven developed learned a skill to memorize the musical notes in form feelings interpreted by the brain.

Onlookers say theyve seen Beethoven feeling vibrations from the Piano using a pencil to identify the matching frequencies.

I could hardly imagine composing without listening.

Beethovens only opera Fidelio, Moonlight Sonata and six symphonies were written during the period of Beethovens deafness.

Positivity Byte:

If you have passion for anything, nobody and nothing can stop you from doing that thing.

Thanks for reading my 54th article in the series 100-day music blogging challenge. Stay tuned for more such informative articles.

I Think Beethoven Encoded His Deafness In His Music

Gabriela Lena Frank, a composer born with high-moderate/near-profound hearing loss, describes her creative experience.

Gabriela Lena Frank, a composer and pianist and the founder of the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, which aims to foster diverse compositional voices and artist-citizens, was born with a neurosensory high-moderate/near-profound hearing loss. In an interview with Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, she described her creative practice and her exploration of the music of Beethoven, who gradually lost his hearing and by his 40s was almost totally deaf. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

From the time I was a little girl, I have been fascinated with how deafness affected Beethoven. If you look at his piano sonatas, in that first one in F Minor, the hands are very close together and the physical choreographies of the left and right hands are not that dissimilar. As he gets older, the activity of the hands become more dissimilar in his piano work, and farther apart.

The progression over the course of the sonatas a musical document of his hearing loss in transition is not perfectly linear by any stretch of the imagination, but its undeniable. By the time of the Waldstein Sonata, not only are the hands far apart, but they are doing very different things: that left hand pounding in thick chords against the right hands spare little descending line, for instance.

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Deaf Genius Beethoven Was Able To Hear His Final Symphony After All

The one thing everyone knows or thinks they know about Ludwig van Beethoven is that he composed some of musics greatest masterpieces while completely deaf. Compelling as this sounds, the story has a flaw: it may not be true. According to a leading Beethoven expert, the composer still had hearing in his left ear until shortly before his death in 1827.

This is going to send everybody scurrying to revise biographical concepts about Beethoven, Theodore Albrecht, professor of musicology at Kent State University, Ohio, told the Observer. Albrecht, who has uncovered crucial evidence in contemporary accounts, believes that although Beethoven suffered severe deterioration in his hearing, he did not lose it to the very profound depths that musicologists have assumed.

Not only was Beethoven not completely deaf at the premiere of his Ninth Symphony in May 1824, he could hear, although increasingly faintly, for at least two years afterwards, probably through the last premiere that he would supervise, his String Quartet in B-flat, Op 130, in March 1826, Albrecht said.

Beethoven began to lose his hearing in 1798. If I belonged to any other profession, it would be easier, he told a friend, but in my profession it is a frightful state. Between 1812 and 1816, he tried ear trumpets, with little success. From 1818, he carried blank conversation books, in which friends and acquaintances jotted down comments, to which he would reply aloud.

Video Answer: Beethoven Symphony No 9 At The Mondavi Center


During Beethoven’s life, deafness was thought to have an exclusively negative impact on Beethoven’s work. The perceived consequence was his music was getting weird, getting worse, and becoming strange. This applied particularly to the music written in the last years of his life, his late music.

The final movement in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is the most famous, as it served as the musical setting for FriedrichSchiller’s poem “Ode to Joy.” Beethoven was already deaf when he wrote it. The composer could not hear the frenetic applause when the symphony premiered on May 7, 1824.

This does not fully explain how Beethoven created music without hearing it though. The answer is that he actually could still hear it, it was just inside his brain rather than out in the world. His love of music meant he still heard it internally, and knowledge and practice allowed him to track it on sheet music.

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How Did Beethoven Compose His 9th Symphony After He Went Completely Deaf

in Biology, Math, Music, Science | March 14th, 2017

You donât need to know anything at all about classical music, nor have any liking for it even, to be deeply moved by that most famous of symphonies, Ludwig van Beethovenâs 9thââperhaps the most iconic work of the Western musical tradition,â writes The Juilliard Journal in an article about its handwritten score. Commissioned in 1817, the sublime work was only completed in 1824. By that time, its composer was completely and totally deaf. At the first performance, Beethoven did not notice that the massive final choral movement had ended, and one of the musicians had to turn him around to acknowledge the audience.

This may seem, says researcher Natalya St. Clair in the TED-Ed video above, like some âcruel joke,â but itâs the truth. Beethoven was so deaf that some of the most interesting artifacts he left behind are the so-called âconversation books,â kept from 1818 onward to communicate with visitors who had to write down their questions and replies. How then might it have been possible for the composer to create such enduringly thrilling, rapturous works of aural art?

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What Is Ludwig Van Beethoven Known For

Beethoven is widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived, in no small part because of his abilityunlike any before himto translate feeling into music. His most famous compositions included Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 , Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op 92 , and Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 .

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Dont Only Practice Your Art But Force Your Way Into Its Secrets Beethoven

Would you rather have an easy life or have the strength to endure a difficult one?

In an ideal world, wouldnt we all go for the former? After all, a life full of happiness is the one thats devoid of any pain or misery. Put simply, an easy life=happiness.

However, rarely do we get to decide what the next chapter of life beholds. We only get to choose how we improvise, adapt, and overcome all the odds life has stacked against us. And thats where Bruce Lees divine insight comes into the picture:

Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.

Not just Bruce Lee, but several accomplished people made no safe bets in their quest to succeed. Symbolizing his own persistence through the struggles of life, Robert Frost wrote in 1915: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

And then there was Ludwig van Beethoven, the greatest composer to have ever lived, who quoted in a letter: For the last three years my hearing has grown steadily weaker . . .¹

Beethovens brilliant body of work needs no introduction. But the sheer genius behind his greatest work Beethovens 9th-Ode To Joy still remains a mystery. Begun in 1822 and completed in 1824, the symphony is the epitome of musical mastery. And as baffling as it may seem, Beethoven wrote it when he was deaf.

How on earth could someone compose music that too of this grandiose scale with no auditory senses?

How Did Going Deaf Affect Beethoven And His Music

Ludwig van Beethoven – Pianist & Composer | Mini Bio | BIO

4.6/5Beethovensdeafnessimpact on Beethovenshis musicbecomingmusichishismusic

Beethovens deafness is attributed to severe tinnitus, which is a sensation of ringing or noise in the ears, according to BBC News. As a result, the BMJ article shows that Beethovens later work when his hearing problems had grown more severe used more lower-pitched notes versus high-pitched notes.

Also Know, how did Beethoven lose his hearing? Loss of Hearing. Around 1801, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. The cause of Beethovens deafness is unknown, but it has variously been attributed to syphilis, lead poisoning, typhus, or possibly even his habit of immersing his head in cold water to stay awake.

Similarly, you may ask, what did Beethoven write after going deaf?

About 1800, he discovered that he was slowly becoming deaf. By 1820, when he was almost totally deaf, Beethoven composed his greatest works. These include the last five piano sonatas, the Missa solemnis, the Ninth Symphony, with its choral finale, and the last five string quartets.

How did Beethoven learn music?

Beethovens regular schooling was brief. In 1782, the composer and Kapellmeister Christian Gottlob Neefe succeeded van den Eeden as the court organist in Bonn and would become an important teacher for Beethoven. Beethoven studied piano and music composition under Neefe intermittently.

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How Was Beethoven Able To Write All That Music Without Hearing It

That’s been bugging me for a while.

Edit: Thanks a bunch, guys! I hadn’t realized how long he’d had his hearing before it left him.

Well he was able to hear for most of his life, but from the age of about 40 onwards his hearing loss became severe . So he did indeed compose some of his best-loved and most famous works without being able to hear them — and that’s just one of the many reasons he is considered a musical genius. Basically his knowledge and understanding of music was so great that he could imagine the music in his head, even though he couldn’t actually hear it.

For me the best way to even approach an approximation of what it’s like is to consider how I ‘compose’ sentences or stories in my mind. If it’s something I wrote down at least partly I will be able to recreate the general shape of a piece of writing if I’m reminded of it in a week, for example.

So there are thousands of words in my head, lots and lots of stories by other writers, concepts that relate to writing in some way – all of which the brain combines into a distinct piece of writing. I wouldn’t suddenly confuse the genre, plot, setting or characters of a story.

There are several ways he actually did this:

Tl dr: don’t hurt me for my grammar. Beethoven was a genius.

Drunk On More Than Just Music

Ludwig was partial to an alcoholic beverage too. Laura Tunbridge, author of the biography Beethoven: A Life in Nine Pieces, notes that his doctors did recommended that he cut back, which is actually quite unusual for the early 19th century because people are only just getting to grips with the medical consequences of drinking too much too often.

Lead acetate or lead sugar was, at this time, used to make bad wine taste better, and its likely that Beethoven was imbibing this toxic substance.

Beethovens friends were also concerned, particularly about his consumption of adulterated wine. Lead acetate or lead sugar was, at this time, used to make bad wine taste better, and its likely that Beethoven was imbibing this toxic substance. This appears to have been borne out by posthumous tests on his hair showing traces of lead in it.

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If He Couldnt Hear How Did He Write Music

Beethoven had heard and played music for the first three decades of his life, so he knew how instruments and voices sounded and how they worked together. His deafness was a slow deterioration, rather than a sudden loss of hearing, so he could always imagine in his mind what his compositions would sound like.

Beethovens housekeepers remembered that, as his hearing got worse, he would sit at the piano, put a pencil in his mouth, touching the other end of it to the soundboard of the instrument, to feel the vibration of the note.

Video Answer: Ludwig Van Beethoven

Beethovens deafness and his three styles

After watching Beethoven in a rehearsal in 1814 for the Archduke Trio, the composer Louis Spohr said: “In forte passages the poor deaf man pounded on the keys until the strings jangled, and in piano he played so softly that whole groups of notes were omitted, so that the music was unintelligible unless one could look into the pianoforte part.

Ludwig Van Beethoven made music when he was deaf by feelingvibrations and hearing the music in his head. He didn’t become deafuntil later in his life, so he had music theory well established inhis mind and ‘ear’ well before that happened. If he had beentotally deaf from birth, he would never have been able to writemusic, or to have a career as a pianist/musician.

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How Did Beethoven Cope With Going Deaf

The great composer was able to deal with his deafness thanks to a unique hearing machine he had fitted to his piano

Ludwig van Beethovens deafness is probably the best-known physical ailment of any composer in history. Because it caused him untold suffering and affected his work, it has become an unshakeable part of the legend surrounding the man and his music.

Its often presented as an obstacle he had to overcome, while his reaction to hearing loss is spoken of as a struggle or battle from which he emerged heroically, having triumphed over a threatening enemy. It has even been said that after Beethoven could no longer hear, he retreated into the privacy of his imagination, heard music in his head, then wrote it down. Yet as our understanding of disability has been reshaped over the years, it is becoming evident that much has been misunderstood.

Even though more than a hundred diagnoses have been offered, there is still no clear understanding of what caused Beethovens hearing loss or even when it began. He claimed to have started noticing it in 1796, when he was 25, but if his experience is like that of other people who gradually lose their hearing, it probably began several years earlier, perhaps even before he moved to Vienna from Bonn in 1792.

His Hearing Loss Did Impact His Music

Beethovens hearing loss actually did influenced his composition style.

In his earlier works when he could hear the full range of frequencies, he often used lots of high notes. But as his hearing began to worsen, he could no longer hear these high notes so instead he chose to use lower notes in his compositions which were easier for him to hear.

But towards the end of his life, the high notes actually returned this is when he started to let his compositions take shape in his imagination and listen with his inner ear.

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There Are Some Wild Theories About Beethovens Final Words

Beethoven died at the age of 56 during a thunderstorm that his friend likened to one of the composers great symphonies, saying crashes that sound like hammering on the portals of Fate.

Looking back on his life, Beethoven was plagued with poor health including chronic hepatitis, jaundice, colitis, various skin diseases, rheumatic fever and cirrhosis of the liver but his actual cause of his death is still unknown.

Like the cause of his death, Beethovens final words are also a mystery.

Some report that after receiving a case of wine as a gift, he said Pity, pity, too late. Others speculate these words were Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est meaning, applaud, my friends, the comedy is over and some say his final statement was I shall hear in heaven.

Video Answer: Beethoven: Sonata No 16 In G Major Op 31 No 1

Ludwig van Beethoven | Writer of the Future | Biography

And yet if anyone shouts I cant bear it. The exact cause of Beethovens deafness is unknown, theories have ranged from syphilis to the composers habit of dunking his head in cold water whenever he was tired, among many others. It isnt known precisely when he went completely deaf.

Beethoven starts using larger orchestras that move the centre of the sound downwards in the orchestra, to the violas and the lower register of the violins and cellos, giving his music a heavier and darker feel than that of his two immediate predecessors.

Hearing people always assume that there is only one way to enjoy music, and that is by listening/ hearing to it. Second, deaf people can feel the vibrations produced by the music being played and consume those vibrations through their body

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