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My father-in-law's question: "I'm not asking about your diss, but what do you think about composers that continue composing after loosing ability to hear? I am amazed that amazing music can come from deaf composers."

Interesting question... did you know that Fauré was one of those composers with hearing loss, or were you mostly thinking of Beethoven? In any case, a good composer who's trained from a young age in eartraining, instrumentation, composition, etc., hears most things in his head before or as he's writing them down without having to hear them performed. Some composers did/do compose at a piano, but I think that's more for manipulative purposes or for wanting to experience the art he is creating in the moment, than it is for necessity. So Beethoven didn't experience a performance of his Ninth Symphony as a listener the way the audience did, but that doesn't mean that he didn't know exactly what it sounded like from start to finish.

I've often wondered how I as a musician would react to a hearing loss, whether gradual or sudden, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't react well. Beethoven knew his hearing was going, and as a result, he became even more ornery and difficult to deal with than he had been. He contemplated suicide, but then he decided to turn his pain into a motivation to compose even greater music (this decision is detailed in the beautiful Heiligenstadt Testament, a famous letter that Beethoven wrote to his brothers). Fauré's hearing problem was of a different nature, in that he began to hear sounds in a very distorted way, so rather than not being able to hear at all, it was actually painful for him to listen to music that used to sound beautiful to him. I've read some of his journals from later in his life when he describes his frustration and pain at this condition, and it's heartbreaking.

What a joy music is. I'm not sure how anyone comes to terms with the loss of music, but I would speculate that anyone who has been able to hear and then can't is probably capable, to some extent, of hearing music in his head. Small comfort.

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