Beethoven's DNA showed that anyone can become a musical genius

When a person does something better than others, they say that he has talent. For example, this often applies to music – good musicians and composers are said to be talented. But where does a person’s “talent” come from and what is it even? Scientists do not have a consensus on this matter. Some believe that genes are behind a person’s talents, which means that not everyone can become a “genius” in one area or another. Others suggest that it is not a matter of genes, but of many other factors. Therefore, everyone can achieve success, under certain conditions, for example, if they put in enough effort. A new DNA analysis of the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven has revealed the answer to this question.

Beethoven's DNA showed that anyone can become a musical genius. Scientists examined Beethoven's DNA to evaluate his musical abilities. Photo.

Scientists examined Beethoven's DNA to assess his musical abilities

How genes influence people's ability to play music

It has long been known that genetic variants can influence certain human traits. For example, the ability to recognize and sense rhythm is one such trait that is influenced by genetic variants. Moreover, they are associated not only with a “sense of rhythm,” but also with musical abilities in general.

It should be clarified that genetic variants are sections of DNA that distinguish the genome of an individual individual from the average human genome. Currently, this term is used instead of the more familiar, but less successful term – “mutation”.

But how much influence do genetic variants have on a person's musical abilities? There is one way to find out — examine the DNA of a person whose musical talent is beyond doubt and compare it with the average value. This is exactly what scientists did when they studied the genome of Ludwig van Beethoven.

How genes influence people's ability to make music. Scientists have not found any signs of special musical abilities in Beethoven's genes. Photo.

Scientists have extracted genetic material from preserved strands of the German composer's hair. However, a study of genetic variants did not show any characteristics that could indicate any special musical talent for Beethoven. The authors of the study report this in the journal Current Biology.

According to scientists, the results are not so unexpected. As they themselves say, you should be skeptical about all sorts of genetic tests that can supposedly show how musically gifted your child will be. Genetic analysis can only be useful for studying population-wide behavioral trends tied to a specific time and place. That is, such an analysis can tell about the characteristics of a particular people, but not an individual person.

What does a person’s musical talent depend on

So, the study showed that genes do not affect musical talent person, or at least not greatly influenced. But why, in this case, do some people become great musicians or composers, while others find it very difficult to study music?

What determines a person's musical talent. Musical abilities depend on the environment and other factors. Photo.

Musical ability depends on environment and other factors

There are actually many factors. These include the person’s environment, some character traits, such as perseverance, cognitive abilities (memory, attentiveness, ability to analyze), etc. Some people may have problems with playing music not because of the lack of “musical” genes, but because of tone deafness, or amusia, which was discussed earlier.

However, some earlier studies have shown that a person can inherit about 42% of musicality is through genes from one's parents and ancestors. Therefore, the debate about the influence of genes on musical abilities continues. However, if you study music, you should not give up studying. With due diligence, you have every chance of becoming «Beethoven».

What does a person's musical talent depend on? With due diligence, anyone can become «Beethoven». Photo.

The musical talent of the famous German composer went far beyond what could be expected from his genetics. As the researchers themselves note, it would be wrong to say that Beethoven’s musical abilities were ordinary, based only on his genetic data.

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Finally, we note that although genetic studies cannot tell us about a person’s talents, they do provide other information. For example, one study of Beethoven's DNA showed that he had a genetic predisposition to liver disease. This predisposition may have had a greater impact on the composer's health than any lifestyle could have done.