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This study attempts to discover if there are trends among the composition style of composers from the Romantic Era who went deaf. To ascertain the true nature of deaf composition, 10 scores were analyzed –5 scores from composers who were hearing or were not deaf yet and 5 scores from composers who were completely deaf. The scores were examined rather than recordings of these pieces as modern string quartets, piano trios, violin and piano duet players would not be able to replicate the sound and style of music from the Romantic Era. In particular, this study found that deaf composers featured an increased number of fortes, fortissimos, sforzandos, and subito fortissimos, a higher number of crescendos and decrescendos, a smaller percentage of notes that had a frequency equal to or above G6, and a large number of repetitive passages that are doubled and/or tripled, which results in an unbalanced sound between the melody and the accompaniment. As these trends were observed within all of the deaf composers in the Romantic Era being studied, this study contends that these trends could be ubiquitous among deaf composers. In the future, an additional study should be conducted among different musical eras to conclude the nature of deaf composition.

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Romantic Era, chamber music, string quartet, composition, style, deafness, frequency, crescendo, high notes, repetitive



Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Mary Boyes


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Trends in Chamber Music Composed by European Composers Who Became Deaf in the Romantic Era

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