Polish pianist Fryderyk Chopin probably suffered from epilepsy over the course of his life, a new study from a group of Spanish researchers has suggested.
The composer died in 1849, when he was aged 39, as a result of a lung disease which has recently been attributed to cystic fibrosis.
And while Dr Manuel Varquez Caruncho, who led the research team, conceded that without modern-day analysis it is difficult to make a definitive diagnosis, they believe that the condition is in keeping with symptoms which he suffered.
Speaking to the Medical Humanities journal, they said that Chopin’s illness could easily have been overlooked by his doctors.
“We doubt that another diagnosis added to the already numerous list will help us understand the artistic world of Fryderyk Chopin,” the researchers said.
They cite reports of visions which the composer experienced as the reason that they came to their diagnosis. According to their theory, the visions can be explained by his suffering from a form of epilepsy called temporal lobe epilepsy.
Chopin was a skilled pianist and a large proportion of the works he produced during his lifetime are for solo piano. Many of these are fairly short in duration, such as the Preludes, Etudes, Waltzes, Impromptus, Nocturnes and Scherzos.
He also developed a form called the Ballade which is a more extended work, which can be characterised by its free-flowing style which has an internal logic.
Chopin also wrote a number of multi-movement works including several Piano Sonatas.
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