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James Damascus's picture

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I dont think Beethoven would have been a particularly good composer if he was death. He was, however, at one time not deaf, and could probably imagine what his music would sound like, given that there was not a deficiency in the region of his brain associated with sound processing (I'm not familiar with his particular condition, but I imagine it was a problem with nerve damage, or with his malleus, incus or stapes). What this means is that either nerve damage prevented the proper transmission of action potentials, or that damage to his ears resulted in pressure waves not being converted/passed all the way to the organ of corti/stereocilia (these generate electrical signals/action potentials that travel to processing regions of the brain). When considering musical composition, it should be understand that the activity is not done completely by trial and error- all composers manipulate certain conventions when writing music (pentatonic music will sound oriental, minor keys will sound darker than major keys-- there are much more complex rules than these, but this is to give a basic idea), so Beethoven was not professionally crippled by deafness. There is also a difference between pressure receptors and sound, as you understand it. Sound is the product of your ears' converting pressure waves to electrical signals that travel to your brain, and that, when processed, are understood as sound. Hope that  helps.JD

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