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eISSN: 1643-3750

The exceptional brain of Maurice Ravel

Andreas Otte, Pieter De Bondt, Christophe Van de Wiele, Kurt Audenaert, Rudi Dierckx

Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(6): RA134-139

ID: 12905

Available online: 2003-06-25

Published: 2003-06-25

This historical review describes the brain disease which afflicted the great impressionist-classicist composer Maurice Ravel (1875–1937).The usual interpretation of the symptoms Ravel exhibited during his disease is primary progressive aphasia / Pick’s disease. Some authors see this as the cause for his lost musical creativity during the last years of his life. By contrast, in our review it is presented why a car accident in 1932, with the probable consequence of a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury, could be the key event in his life, triggering the loss of his ability to compose. In addition, the influence of Ravel’s disease on his musical style is evaluated. Although some authors see a link, we try to explain why there is no clear evidence for this.

Keywords: Brain Injuries - history, Diagnosis, Differential, Famous Persons, History, 20th Century, History, 21st Century, Music - history, Pick Disease of the Brain - diagnosis, Pick Disease of the Brain - history, Portraits