An orchestra in Hungary has found a way to help deaf people “hear” and enjoy music through touch.
The Danubia Orchestra Óbuda in Budapest plays Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for the hearing-impaired who quite literally feel the music. Beethoven was chosen because he battled with hearing loss himself. He wrote the Fifth Symphony with his hearing already impaired in 1804-1808.
Some of the audience sit next to the musicians so they can place their hands on the instruments to feel the vibration, while others hold balloons that offer the vibration of the sounds. Those with some hearing are given special hyper-sensitive hearing aids.
The orchestra’s conductor, Máté Hámori, says the goal is to spread the joy of music to people who otherwise have no chance to enjoy it. His efforts has brought attention to hearing difficulties that are often ignored by the rest of the world.
“So the idea was to somehow lure those who are the most capable of sympathising with Beethoven and his own suffering into the world of music,” Hamori said.
Zsuzsanna Foldi, who has been deaf all her life said, “When I sat next to the musician who played the double bass, I started crying.” She can enjoy and literally “feel” the music by placing her hands on the musical instrument.
“Here, when the string instruments all sound, that gives a very good vibration. It is not a coincidence that he wrote this kind of music,” said Erzsebet Dudas, 75, who lost her hearing in one ear when she was 35 and then in the other six years ago.
Some believe Beethoven wrote some of his greatest music while going deaf. We won’t argue with that.