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scientific articles

Creativity and Chronic Disease Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840)

key information

source: Western Journal of Medicine

year: 2001

authors: Wolf P


Paganini’s creativity may have been influenced by his biochemical makeup. Referred to as the “demon violinist,” Paganini could play his first violin concerto with a swiftness that amazed even his fellow violinists. His numerous compositions are to be played with extraordinary rapidity.

Undoubtedly, the musician’s virtuosity was possible in part because of his remarkably flexible joints, which may have resulted from a hereditary disease of connective tissue—either Ehlers-Danlos or Marfan’s syndrome.

Judging from Paganini’s physical appearance, the most likely cause of his flexible joints was Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Although each of the 10 types of this syndrome has characteristics symptoms, experts cannot determine from the composers’ physical features alone which type Paganini inherited. Had they been available, modern genetic tests would have aided in making this identification.

organization: VA Medical Center, University of California

DOI: 10.1136/ewjm.175.5.345

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