September 8, 2004


A New Documentary Suggests That Mozart Had Tourette's Syndrome (Lauren Taylor, 1 September 2004, Birmingham Post)

A TV documentary is to suggest that the musical works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were influenced by the obsessive-compulsive disorder Tourette's syndrome. The claims are made by British composer James McConnel, who himself has the condition, which can lead to uncontrollable swearing or twitching.

If Ritalin had been around then he'd have been Salieri.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 8, 2004 4:54 PM

'He wrote songs with titles such as 'Hung like an ox' or 'Lick out my a***hole'

Reminds me of the old joke about the drunk who wrote beautiful songs with obscene titles. When someone in the restroom asked him if he knew his d*** was hanging out and he was pissing himself, he replied, "Do I know it? Hell, I wrote it!"

Posted by: Rick T. at September 8, 2004 5:47 PM

"Uncontrollable swearing and twitching." Looks like a Tourette's syndrome epidemic will be breaking out in faculty lounges and media newsrooms all over the country come early November...

Posted by: brian at September 8, 2004 6:03 PM

I'm frankly getting tired of this attempt to reduce historical figures to his or her (or hir) supposed illnesses or imagined sexual proclivities.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at September 8, 2004 6:22 PM

Pithy title - and good one, Rick.

Wolfgang will never live down the movie portrayal by Tom Hulce, but his music will always stand apart.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 8, 2004 7:40 PM

There was this book years ago about unusual neurological cases called The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

One of the chapters, "Witty Ticcy Ray", relates the case of a small-time jazz musician with Tourettes. When put on medication, he was able to function normally in his day job, but he lost the ability to do the high-energy improv riffs when playing with his band.

He ended up taking the meds during the week (and his day job), then going off the meds for the weekend (when he performed). As the meds wore off, his musical improv ability returned -- just enough to power his jazz without emerging into full-blown Tourette's before the weekend was over and he went on the meds again.

Posted by: Ken at September 9, 2004 12:56 PM

McConnel has Tourettes Syndrome
McConnel fancies himself a composer
Mozart was one of the most famous composers of all time
Therefore, Mozart had Tourettes Syndrome.

The logic is impeccable.

Posted by: Bart at September 9, 2004 2:17 PM