Monday, November 27, 2023

Which Composer Experienced Hearing Loss During His Lifetime

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A Fine Day For Wonderful Music

Living with hearing loss

“It is wonderful, lively, exciting music,” says Astrid Sieber. “I think there are lots of people here who like all of the different music styles we’ve heard in the town today.”

‘Insanely beautiful music’

The name Symphony of Fate persists, however. In the Romantic era, artists believed in the power of fate. Johannes Brahms quoted the main motif from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in his Piano Quartet in C Minor when he was pining and lovesick. The Nazis liked the heroic and sublime nature of the music. After World War II, young composers shied away from such connotations and turned their backs on tradition and tonality. If they reverted to historic icons at all, they preferred Bach to Beethoven.

Beginning in the 1960s, conductor Herbert von Karajan recorded the Beethoven symphonies four times the 1963 recording is in fact considered to be legendary.

Tastes change, and interpreting music as a soundscape like Karajan did has gone out of fashion. Today, researchers, performers and audiences are more interested in how the music would have sounded in Beethoven’s day and age. “When I conduct the work, I wonder what Beethoven wanted to hear, and what this music has to say to us today,” said Francois-Xavier Roth.

“You could teach classes analyzing Beethoven’s music for years,” said Caeyers. “At the same time, it is insanely beautiful music that goes straight to the heart.”

Beethovenfest runs from August 31 to September 23 in Bonn, Germany. DW is the festival’s main media partner.

More Beethoven To Discover

“With Beethoven, the symphony you just heard is probably going to be your favorite one,” says DW’s general director Peter Limbourg. “But sometimes it depends on the mood. If I have a hard job ahead, I’ll listen to the ‘Eroica’. If I’m more relaxed and contemplative, it’s the ‘Pastoral’. I recently discovered his wonderful Triple Concerto – and have time to delve into his other works.”

Beethoven on the streets of Bonn

Early Signs Of Deafness Send Beethoven Into Crisis

In his 20s, Beethoven began experiencing issues with his hearing. The first symptom was tinnitus, a high-pitched droning sound that interferes with clarity and definition in hearing. By then, Beethoven was already well known as a composer and performer, and of course he continued to compose until his death at the age of 56. However, his career as a performer ended when the tinnitus overwhelmed his ability to hear his own playing, much less the other instruments onstage.

Beethovens gradually intensifying hearing problems, of course, were a source of great concern for him and figure prominently in the above-quoted Heilegenstadt Testament, a letter he wrote to his brothers in 1802. In that remarkable document, discovered among his papers after his death, he shares that his hearing loss sparked in him a life-and-death crisis, writing, I would have ended my life it was only my art that held me back.

The maestro did continue, to the great benefit of audiences around the globe. In fact, not only did he continue, but his music changed, deepened, and became even more profound as he slipped ineluctably into his final years of profound deafness.

Its generally accepted that Beethovens music can be divided into three eras, roughly. His early period begins with his first compositions in the 1780s and ends around 1801. His middle period runs through about 1814. And his final, or mature period concludes with his death in 1827.

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The Middle Period: Sliding Into Deafness

It has been said of Beethoven that he was fully deaf when he wrote all his great works, but that he was able to compose, perform, and even conduct his work without being able to hear a note.

This is a lovely myth, but it does not take into consideration the progressive nature of his hearing loss. The reality is that its quite possible to chart his slow but steady descent into total deafness through the periods of his career.

It was during Beethovens middle period, approximately 1801 to 1814, that the hearing problems became more apparent. He became acutely aware of the tinnitus and a gradual worsening of his hearing.

In these years, his music got louder, deeper, and grander and, perhaps as a direct result, his star began to ascend as he captured strong emotions in his work. Representative work from this period would include the Symphony No. 3, Op. 55, Eroica, as well as the Piano Sonata No. 23, Op. 57, Appassionata.

The middle period is sometimes referred to as Beethovens heroic era, as the composer began to conceive many of his works on a grand scale.

In this period, Beethovens work to a large degree lost its brightness and high tones, which were supplanted by the more resonant tones of the deeper ranges that he could still hear despite that continuous ringing caused by the tinnitus.

Watch how Beethoven advanced the development of the piano through works like his Piano Sonata No. 23: Appassionata

Chronic Otitis Media And Hearing Aids Throat Gone Strep Voice

Analog vs Digital Hearing Aids

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Myth: Tinnitus And Hearing Loss Aren’t Linked

FACT: Many people with tinnitus will also have a hearing loss. In fact, a recent French study showed that of 123 people with tinnitus surveyed only one did not have hearing loss. The British Tinnitus Association estimates that 90 percent of people with tinnitus also have a hearing loss. Moreover, research says that those who dont may have a hidden hearing loss.

So If Beethoven Was Completely Deaf How Did He Compose

Hearing loss of Beethovens is attracting his fans who want to know how he can compose. And what circumstances, he is facing as a deaf musician and how he managed to continue working after losing his listening ability at the age of 45. People found out that Beethoven observes the sound by gripping a stick in his teeth, holding it against the console of his piano.

After the complete hearing loss, Beethovens composed his most popular song the Ninth Symphony that become the most touching moment of his career.

Around the age of 26, Beethoven started to hear humming and ringing in his ears. But by the age of 44, his hearing ability has been lost and cant hear voices or such a large number of the sounds of the environment.

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Myth: There Are Pills That Will Provide A Tinnitus Cure

FACT: Some companies will try to point you to a miraculous tinnitus cure where a few pills will stop all signs of tinnitus. While much research has been done around the effects of medication and vitamin supplements on tinnitus, there is currently no proven tinnitus cure. Only tinnitus management devices and sound therapy have been proven to decrease the effects of tinnitus.

What Treatment Did Beethoven Look For His Deafness

Heroes With Hearing Loss

Beethovens had a stomach problem thats why he took bath with Danube water which helped Beethovens stomach problem, but later, as a result, his deafness becomes worse. I am feeling more stronger and better, with the exception of that my ears sing and buzz always, day and night.

There is one weird cure he was doing that strapping wet bark to his upper arms until the point that it dried out and delivered blisters. However, it does not cure the deafness just keep him away from his piano.

Beethoven had heard and played music for the initial three decades of his life, so he knew how instruments and voices sounded and how they cooperated. His deafness was a moderate decay, as opposed to a sudden loss of hearing, so he could simply envision in his mind what his compositions would seem like.

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As He Went Deaf The Composers Disability Inspired A Novel Sonic Universe

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven when composing Missa Solemnis, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler 1820. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Ludwig van Beethoven occupies a larger-than-life place in our imaginations, all the more so because late in his life he accomplished the seemingly impossible: He continued to compose beautiful and enduring music even as he went deaf.

This achievement is often seen as an example of super-heroic determination, a triumph of the human spirit that tests the boundaries of our species ingenuity. But Beethoven the man was not the Beethoven of our imaginations. His story, for all its wonder, is no myth it offers unfussy but lasting lessons about music, hearing, and disability.

To begin with, accounts of Beethovens triumph are often overdone. He did not completely lose his hearing until the last decade of his life, if even then. For most of his adulthood he experienced progressive hearing loss, as many of us do as we age. When he wrote the Fifth Symphony, his most recognizable work, he could hear well enough to correct mistakes in the performance.

And Beethoven wasnt a supercrip, the term for a person who responds to a disability in ways that inspire others but also set unreasonable expectations. He never claimed to be overcoming his hearing loss. Indeed, he accepted it and adapted to it, and this left recognizable marks on his music.

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Taking Beethoven On Tour

Sönke Lenz, project director of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany, says “I love Beethoven’s music and am often occupied with it. We play a lot of Beethoven and do so with great joy. I have an intense relationship to Beethoven, and can’t separate the personal from the professional also because he affects the way I spend my evenings, and we’re often on tour with Beethoven’s music.”

Beethoven on the streets of Bonn

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Myth: There Is Nothing I Can Do About Tinnitus

FACT: Many people go to their doctor with complaints about ringing or buzzing in their ears and are told that there is little they can do about it. Tinnitus is just something you will have to deal with, they say. Try to ignore it. But the fact is that there is a LOT you can do to lessen the effects of tinnitus. Here are some proven ways to help decrease the buzzing in your ears:

Here is an example of a ZEN tone:

Personal And Family Difficulties

Riz Ahmed is a Drummer Battling Hearing Loss in Sound of ...

Beethovens love life was hampered by class issues. In late 1801 he met a young countess, Julie Guicciardi through the Brunsvik family, at a time when he was giving regular piano lessons to Josephine Brunsvik. Beethoven mentions his love for Julie in a November 1801 letter to his boyhood friend, Franz Wegeler, but he could not consider marrying her, due to the class difference. Beethoven later dedicated to her his Sonata No. 14, now commonly known as the Moonlight Sonata.

His relationship with Josephine Brunsvik deepened after the death in 1804 of her aristocratic first husband, the Count Joseph Deym. Beethoven wrote Josephine 15 passionate love letters from late 1804 to around 1809/10. Although his feelings were obviously reciprocated, Josephine was forced by her family to withdraw from him in 1807. She cited her duty and the fact that she would have lost the custodianship of her aristocratic children had she married a commoner. After Josephine married Baron von Stackelberg in 1810, Beethoven may have proposed unsuccessfully to Therese Malfatti, the supposed dedicatee of Für Elise his status as a commoner may again have interfered with those plans.

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What Caused Beethovens Deafness

When Ludwig van Beethovens magisterial 9th Symphony premiered in 1824, the composer had to be turned around to see the audience cheering he could not hear the audiences rapturous applause.

Beethoven first noticed difficulties with his hearing decades earlier, sometime in 1798, when he was about 28. By the time he was 44 or 45, he was totally deaf and unable to converse unless he passed written notes back and forth to his colleagues, visitors and friends. He died in 1827 at the age of 56. But since his death, he remains as just relevant and important to Western culture if not more so.

What caused Beethovens deafness? It is a query that has carried many diagnoses over the last 200 years, from tertiary syphilis, heavy metal poisoning, lupus, typhus fever to sarcoidosis and Pagets disease.

Beethoven was baptized on this day in 1770 , making him 249 today.

At any rate, the doctor bequeathed the lock, consisting of 582 strands, to his daughter, who subsequently put it up for auction in 1994. It was purchased by an Arizona urologist named Alfredo Guevera for about $7,000. Guevera kept 160 strands. The remaining 422 strands were donated to the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University in California.

Guevera and Ira Brilliant, a real estate developer, collector and university benefactor, then pursued the question of how Beethoven became deaf.

The Early Period: Glorious Music

During Beethovens early years as a musician, when his hearing was not an issue, he was strongly influenced by Bach, Haydn, and Mozart, masters of the age whose work he found inspiring. In fact, he studied with Haydn and others, in Vienna, and several early works in a strong upper range were clearly indebted to Mozart.

The influence of Mozart and Haydn can be heard in the Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, Pathétique. The composition is from 1798, when Beethoven was attempting to gain a foothold in Vienna, where he had relocated at the age of 21. Already, the young maestro was experimenting with big sounds and even bigger emotions.

Another striking piece from his early period is the Moonlight Sonata . This lovely and deeply expressive piece shows the composer in a thoughtful and reflective mood, selecting notes in ranges not yet affected by his incipient tinnitus, and soft tones to express his musical feelings and ideas.

Watch the story of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14: Moonlight Sonata

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Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: The Truth About The ‘symphony Of Fate’

The beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is known the world over, yet the opening motif is only four notes long. Music researchers have long wondered is fate really knocking on the door at the start of this piece?

Da-Da-Da-DUM hardly any succession of notes is as famous around the world as the one at the beginning of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. If Beethoven had been alive today, he would have become rich through royalties alone: mobile phone ringtones, musical arrangements of all styles, prints of his music on bags, cups and umbrellas. Not to mention the proceeds from the right to perform his works. For instance, at this year’s Beethovenfest in Bonn, the composer’s Fifth Symphony can be heard in both its original and in modern arrangements.

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What Beethoven left to researchers

Roth and his orchestra performed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony at the 2016 Beethovenfest with historical instruments from Beethoven’s time, giving it a completely new sound. It’s difficult to distance oneself from the usual sound images, in which the opening motif of the Fifth Symphony is always very pathetically overemphasized, said Roth.

Dufner is an expert at reading scores with a fresh eye. At the research department of the Beethoven-Haus, he analyzes sketchbooks, autographs and transcripts of Beethoven’s compositions, documents musical score sources and makes annotations.

Beethoven on the streets of Bonn

Myth: Tinnitus Is Temporary It Will Go Away Soon

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FACT: Some forms of tinnitus are temporary and caused by recent exposure to loud noise. Others are more long-lasting or consist of recurring episodes. Tinnitus affects people in many ways. According to the UKs National Healthcare System, there are several different sounds of tinnitus. These tinnitus sounds include:

  • Mild tinnitus This form of tinnitus can often be masked by louder sounds. People with mild tinnitus may only notice the ringing or buzzing in their ears when in very quiet surroundings like when trying to sleep or reading a book.
  • High-pitched tinnitus Most people experience tinnitus as a high-pitched hissing, whistling, or buzzing in their ears. Sometimes these sounds are related to your posture you may only hear them when you are sitting or lying down, or when you turn your head a certain way.
  • Low-frequency tinnitus Sometimes tinnitus can be heard as a low-pitched sound like a rumbling.
  • Musical hallucinations Rarely, tinnitus will manifest itself as a musical hallucination that leaves you hearing a song repeatedly in your head.

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