Volume 5, 2022
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Life Sciences - Medicine|
|Published online||28 June 2022|
The change in Beethoven’s music composition: Is there a role of his mental distress?
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire De Lille, Département d’Information Médicale, 2 Avenue Oscar Lambret, 59037 Lille Cedex, France
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 8 June 2022
Background: During his life, Beethoven faced a lot of personal problems and diseases that could lead to a prolonged period of serious mental disorder. The aim of this work is to study the link between the distribution of pitch frequencies observed in 101 movements of 32 sonatas and four periods of his compositional style. Methods: The 32 sonatas for piano were chosen because they were composed during the three periods usually considered to reflect Beethoven’s career. A hierarchical generalized additive model was performed to regress the frequency of pitches with Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) pitches, periods of composition, degrees, rests, and length of the sonata’s movements. Results: The median frequency of pitches was higher during Beethoven’s time of mental distress. This period appeared as transitory between the bright Promethean period and the fullness of the final Ethereal period. This change in the expression of Beethoven’s creativity could well have played the role of a self-therapy. Conclusion: From this singular account of Beethoven’s history of mental problems and his way of dealing with them, it could be concluded that the stimulation of their musical creativity could be beneficial for psychiatrically patients with mental health issues. It also suggests that some mechanisms such as the application of hysteresis to cognitive function at a time of mental distress, may indicate new research avenues in the treatment of mental diseases.
Key words: Art therapy / Creative illness / Generalized additive model / Mental distress / Music therapy / Psychosis
© J-F Jusot, Published by EDP Sciences, 2022
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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