Mozart: A Genius with a few Quirks
Much has been made in books, plays, and films about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's odd, tic-like behaviors and patterns of speech. Still, many viewers and even critics deemed Tom Hulce's portrayal of the composer in Milos Forman's Amadeusthe film adaptation of Peter Schaeffer's playclownish, extreme, and over the top.
But observations of those closest to Mozarr, who described his frequent bursts of impulsive behavior—including inappropriate joke-telling, vulgar puns, and drawing room acrobatics—give credence to choices in Schaeffer's writing, Forman's direction, and Hulce's interpretation.

Mozart's sister-in-law, Sophie Haibl, wrote that the composer would often grimace, tap his hands or feet on objects, "or play with hats, pockets, tables and chairs as if playing clavier." His sister Nannerl noted that “[n]ever, until he died, did he learn to exercise the most elementary forms of self‐control. "
The Viennese writer Karoline Pichler recalled how, during a tedious rehearsal of Figaro, Mozart "jumped leap over tables and chairs, meow like a cat, and turn somersaults like an unruly boy."

And the actor Joseph Langemarried to the sister of Mozart's wifereported that when busy at work, Mozart “took delight in [contrasting] the divine ideas of his music [with] sudden outbursts of vulgar platitudes.”

While scientists have speculated about neurological disorders including autism spectrum, Tourette's syndrome, and ADHD, a few contemporary scholars have offered different—although not mutually exclusive—explanations for Mozart's eccentricities.
For example, some believe that he may have come by his vulgar sense of humor from his middle-class South-German roots. The scatological jokes and puns so notable in his letters to his sister, mother, and father, can also be found (although to a lesser extent) in their letters to him.

Others have speculated that Mozart's vulgarity was a form of distraction and cover-up for feelings of inferiority. However superior his talent, the nobles surrounding him were wealthy and generally attractive, while he—essentially in their employ—was short, pale and pockmarked, with a misshapen head, bulbous nose, receding chin, and a deformed left ear.
Also, while they had been tutored and educated in universities, Mozart's youth was spent traveling with his father from court to court, paraded into drawing rooms, and plunked down at the clavier to perform.

According to Peter J. Davis, author of Mozart in Person: His Character and Health, this grueling schedule likely resulted in a "retardation of his emotional maturation which could not keep pace with the creativity of his intellect.”

While it's probable that the composer's eccentricities resulted from a combination of factors, they may have been exacerbated by the stress of realizing that his own behavior was sabotaging his commercial success.
No question, prodigy and genius come at a price. But Mozart's legacy ultimately rests not in odd behaviors, but in the fifty symphonies, twenty-seven concert arias, twenty-six string quartets, twenty-five piano concertos, twenty-one stage and opera works, seventeen piano sonatas, fifteen masses, and twelve violin concertos composed in his brief thirty-five years on earth. For the beauty of these works and the timeless joy they bring, we are grateful beyond words.

Carolyn Swartz, ACO Communications 
Some of the information in this piece came from NIH- National Library of Medicine, where more information about Mozar's movements and behaviors can be found.
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