People with hearing impairment have the opportunity to “hear” Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony thanks to a series of initiatives carried out by the Danube Symphony Orchestra in Budapest, Hungary. Those who are interested – from children to the elderly – can “listen” to the melody in three ways: sitting near the musicians and placing their hands on the instruments to feel vibrations; holding balloons that transmit sound vibrations, or using special hearing devices, which amplify sound and are distributed to the audience by the orchestra’s members.

“When I sat next to the musician who played the bass today, I started to cry,” said 67-year-old Zsuzsanna Foldi to Reuters. Zsuzsanna started to lose her hearing when she was eight months old due to meningitis (a disease where the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord become inflamed).

According to Máté Hámori, the orchestra conductor, the goal is to bring music to those who do not have access to it and to draw attention to the needs of those who have hearing disabilities.

Who was Beethoven?
Thought to be one of the biggest geniuses in classical music, Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer who lived between 1770 and 1827. Some of his most famous works are the Fifth Symphony, Für Elise, and the Ninth Symphony. Throughout his life, the musician gradually lost his hearing, but he did not stop composing: he would sit by the piano and feel the vibration of the musical notes to compose his songs. The Fifth Symphony, for example, was composed when he already suffered from hearing problems.

Questions

1) Which of the alternatives below is correct?

a) Beethoven lost his hearing because of meningitis.
b) Zsuzsanna Foldi was the composer of the Fifth Symphony.
c) Only adults can go to the Danube Symphony Orchestra presentations in Budapest.
d) One of the ways of “listening” to music is to feel the instruments’ vibrations.

2) What did you think about the actions of the Danube Symphony Orchestra of Budapest?

 

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