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Composer Chopin suffered from epilepsy

Researchers in Spain say that the famous composer Frédéric Chopin probably suffered from epilepsy.

In her memoirs, his lover George Sand recalled various times when Chopin experienced visual hallucinations, including during a trip to a monastery that was “full of terrors and ghosts for him”.

In a letter written to the daughter of George Sand, Chopin himself describes a moment, during a performance of his Sonata in B flat minor in England in 1848 at a private salon, when he saw creatures emerging from his piano which forced him to leave the room to recover himself.

Hallucinations occur with several medical and psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, but they usually take the form of voices rather than visions.

The most likely explanation for Chopin’s visions, say the Spanish doctors, is a form of the medical condition epilepsy called temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Story: Michelle Roberts, BBC News | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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