Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: music

  • How did deafness affect the creativity of Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770–1827)?

    Ting-Hsian (Denis) Chen Newcastle-under-Lyme, United Kingdom Introduction Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) is one of the most revered composers in the history of Western music despite the onset of hearing loss early in his career.1,2 Beethoven’s works are traditionally categorized into three periods: early, middle, and late. Increasing deafness forced adaptation and eventually propelled Beethoven’s work from…

  • Tumultuous crescendos and tranquil decrescendos in Ravel’s work

    Michael YafiChaden YafiHouston, Texas, United States The world is commemorating the 95th anniversary of Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. The composer continues to be one of the most enigmatic classical music personalities. Born in 1875 in Ciboure, France, he displayed from an early age a keen interest in the piano. Guided by his father, who would offer…

  • Henri Parinaud—French physician, composer, and humanitarian

    Jason Jo New York, New York Henri Parinaud. Annales d’ oculistique (Paris: Dois, 1905), 320. BIU Santé Médecine, Bibliothèques d’Université Paris Cité. Via Wikimedia. Licence Ouverte / Open Licence. Henri Parinaud (c. 1844–1905), a pioneer in the fields of neurology and ophthalmology, is best remembered for his two eponymous syndromes: the Parinaud oculoglandular syndrome and…

  • And for unto us… Medicine, Messiah, and Christmas

    Desmond O’NeillDublin, Ireland Although the very first performance of the Messiah took place in April 1742 in Dublin with the London première following in March 1743, the oratorio is closely associated with the Christmas season in the Anglophone world. The origin of this custom has been claimed by the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston…

  • Piano lessons

    James StemmleWest Virginia, United States The piano teacher was angry, irritable, incontinent, and in pain. Dying of cancer, she eventually went home with hospice care. The hospice lady asked, “What would a good day look like?” They rigged things in her home to live at least one good day: a bed on the first floor…

  • Nikolai Medtner: his forgotten melodies, music, and life

    Michael YafiHouston, Texas, United States The music of Nikolai Medtner (1880 -1951) is among the most enigmatic of the piano repertoire. Medtner was an opinionated composer who admired Rachmaninoff and rejected all attempts at modernism in music. Rachmaninoff met Medtner in Russia and the two composers had a mutual admiration for one another. Rachmaninoff told…

  • Healing literature

    Scott Vander PloegCocoa Beach, Florida, United States I taught English courses for thirty years at a community college in western Kentucky. One of the more robust programs we offered was in nursing, and we also offered training for physical therapy assistants and respiratory therapists, grouped under the umbrella of “Allied Health”. We also had a…

  • The life and death of Franz Schubert

    Nicolas RoblesBadajoz, Spain Born on 31 January 1797, Franz Peter Schubert was the twelfth of fourteen children, one of only five who survived infancy. His father was an enterprising schoolmaster and amateur cellist. Born in the Himmelpfortgrund suburb of Vienna, Schubert showed uncommon gifts for music from an early age. His father gave him his…

  • Ode to baroque and other musical genres

    George ChristopherAda, Michigan, United States Imagine a musical style that is emotionally evocative yet highly organized, thereby conferring structure to emotion; that gives artistic expression of the fusion of emotion and reason; that mimics biology at cellular through ecological levels through its organized complexity; that brings unity from the diversity of multiple simultaneous melodic lines;…

  • E.T.A. Hoffmann’s neurological disease

    Nicolás RoblesBadajoz, Spain Ich bin das, was ich scheine, und scheine das nicht, was ich bin, mir selbst ein unerklärlich Rätsel, bin ich entzweit mit meinem Ich!I am what I seem and do not seem what I am, an inexplicable mystery to myself, am I at odds with myself!— E.T.A. Hoffmann, Die Elixiere des Teufels…