The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: How did deafness affect the way that Beethoven composed?

December 28, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

Did Beethoven’s deafness shape his music? In a new study some experts say yes.

What caused his deafness and what kind of hearing impairment was it?

And how do you think deafness changed Beethoven (below) as an artist?

Check out if you are right. (And look below at the various ear trumpets, on display at the Beethoven House in Bonn, Germany, that the deaf composer used.)

Here is where you can find what the experts think.

But be sure to pursue a lot of the links in the stories to read the study and see some specific examples, including the late Symphony No. 8 and the String Quartet, Op. 130 (the famous Cavatina movement from that quartet is at the bottom):

And to read the full text of the  study, visit this site:

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