Music Writers Of All Time Essay

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There is perhaps no greater paradox than that of a deaf composer becoming one of the greatest music writers of all time. Such is the case for Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), a composer who not only succeeded at his profession during his time, but whose greatest works are considered by many to be those completed by the time he was nearly or totally deaf. Such a striking paradox begs the question: Did deafness have an influence on Beethoven 's music writing, and if so, how? This paper will argue that while a number of studies have attempted to show the strong possibility that deafness directly influenced Beethoven 's music writing, conclusive and direct links between the two are not possible due to a wider number of factors (such as conscious stylistic decisions, other life crises, etc.) that may have worked in combination to influence his writing and that ultimately need consideration. In order to more effectively investigate whether or how deafness may have influenced Beethoven 's music, it will be helpful for us to first briefly examine the nature of his deafness and its progression. Beethoven 's deafness did not occur abruptly; instead it progressed gradually. Beethoven first mentioned hearing loss in a letter written to his physician in June of 1801: "For the last three years," he writes, "my hearing loss has grown steadily weaker." He continued by addressing his symptoms, which included difficulty hearing the high notes of the orchestra, experiencing bilateral
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