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Well, Beetoven was deaf when he composed the 9th, so clearly to him it was always imagined :-)

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 09:47:22 AM EST
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no need for the :-)  - it was a serious point - clearly Beethoven would have wanted to be able to hear his work performed - if only to criticise his interpretors - but actually being able to hear it in all its hifi glory was not a pre-condition for him to be able to write it, and neither should it be a precondition for us to be able to appreciate it.  The limiting factor is us, not the equipment.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 10:25:26 AM EST
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Taking this seriously is a bit odd. You can only imagine sound when you have once heard it. Beethoven, by having been actively engaged in making music for much of his life, could probably play the score in his head the same way (but more elaborately than) you and I hear an irritating tune that unwantedly gets stuck in our heads.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 04:40:27 PM EST
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If you study music properly learning to 'hear' what you're reading is part of the process. Some people get very good at it. I can follow a score, but I haven't had enough practice to do the sonic equivalent of visualising it completely.

It's a little different for composers because music of that period was constructed according to fairly rigid rules, and as long as a composer followed the rules something listenable would fall out.

Scores were more written rather than heard, if only because most people couldn't afford to keep a symphony orchestra or string quarter in the house. Usually a composer would try out lines or chord sequences on a piano or some other instrument to sketch out an outline, but the orchestration, elaboration and arrangement were all done on paper.

Doing everything mentally was a step, but for someone with thirty years of experience it wasn't as huge a step as it might seem.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 05:30:02 PM EST
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