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The Medical History of Great Composers: An Educational Aid

Richard A. Hoppmann
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 12 Number 2: Page 42 (June 1997)

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Abstract: Much has been written about the lives and times of famous composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. In recent years there has been increasing interest in the medical problems of great composers. Although a great deal of this has been fanciful speculation, it has, nonetheless, brought medicine into the discussion of composers. Knowing something about the medical history of composers not only is fascinating in its own right, but can also be used to bridge the gaps among health care providers, performers, educators, and music historians and to provide more common ground on which to stand and work together. Discussing the diseases of famous composers in lectures and on attending rounds with students, residents, and other health care trainees also adds to the enjoyment of learning and may even stimulate participants to further explore the topic of music and medicine. Brief medical histories of three composers are presented to serve as an introduction to this topic and to illustrate the opportunity such histories provide to enhance the educational experience for performers, teachers, and health care providers

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