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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 282

Did Mozart suffer from Tourette's syndrome?

Department of Neurology, Thanjavur Medical College, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission09-Jul-2015
Date of Decision20-Sep-2015
Date of Acceptance20-Sep-2015
Date of Web Publication12-May-2016

Correspondence Address:
P A Bhaskar
12, Branson Garden Road, Kilpauk, Chennai - 600 010, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.173309

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How to cite this article:
Bhaskar P A. Did Mozart suffer from Tourette's syndrome?. Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2016;19:282

How to cite this URL:
Bhaskar P A. Did Mozart suffer from Tourette's syndrome?. Ann Indian Acad Neurol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Jan 23];19:282. Available from:


The article by KB Bhattacharyya and S Rai “Famous people with Tourette's syndrome: Dr. Samuel Johnson (yes) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (may be): Victims of Tourette's syndrome?”, published in Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2015; 18(2):157-61, is quite interesting. It has raised the possibility that Mozart, the renowned musician, who lived nearly two and a half centuries ago, could have suffered from Tourette's syndrome based on historical write-ups and literature review. Fallacies are quite liable to creep in when such a posthumous diagnosis is attempted, especially as we are aware that even today despite the modern neurological assessment and accessory investigatory tools we sometimes go wrong in our diagnosis.

Many biographers have depicted Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (full name) as one of the most religious Western music composers. It seems he often used to say “God is ever before my eyes... I fear His anger; but also recognize His love.”[1] “Most of Mozart's correspondence is light-hearted and witty, and it is true that one set of letters written to a young cousin sinks to indecency. But this is the rare exception, though it has been popularly capitalized upon” by his critics and jealous contemporaries.[2] The authors themselves admit that only about 10% of his letters were scatological; and these could well have been the outcome of his whimsical and puerile impulsiveness triggered by the pressure of composing work, frustration, and depression. There are many more references in literature regarding the character and demeanor of Mozart, appreciating his talent and disproving the scandalous tales about him. How far his facial grimaces and occasional limb contortions could assume pathological significance also remains anybody's guess even today. Human beings have their own eccentricities and mannerisms that perhaps can be accentuated in geniuses and celebrities. Therefore, why Mozart is being targeted as a possible sufferer of Tourette's syndrome by some authors based on speculations is difficult to comprehend.

It may be worthwhile to study the entire spectrum of descriptions on Mozart before coming to any conclusion, lest we smear a blemish on the veneration many musicians have for Mozart.

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Conflicts of interest

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   References Top

Einstein AM. Mozart. His character, His work. London: Cassell & Co. Ltd.; 1946. p. 78.  Back to cited text no. 1
Kavanaugh P. The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan; 1996. p. 48.  Back to cited text no. 2


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