Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Don’t Mistake Horses For Zebras

Beethoven, one of the greatest composers in history, made most of his compositions while going deaf.

But how could he create musical masterpieces without hearing?

By playing the sounds in his head.

There’s no need to verify sheet music behind a piano. Any experienced musician can read sheet music in the same way that you read a book.

This doesn’t make Beethoven’s work any less astonishing. Only an elite musician can write music in pin-drop silence. Let alone kickoff a new era of classical music.

But like most astounding achievements of skill—whether it be the mysterious Stonehenge or the Nazca Lines of Peru—we tend to find effort too simple an explanation.

So we go out of our way to concoct a satisfying answer.

And like that, someone cooked up the half-baked idea that Beethoven created his compositions with math.

While the science is sound, the evidence is not.

We have thousands of pages filled with Beethoven’s sketches, and not a single equation.

Borrowing from medical professor Theodore Woodward, “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras.”

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach