Download Sounding Off: Theorizing Disability in Music by Neil Lerner, Joseph Straus PDF

By Neil Lerner, Joseph Straus

Incapacity, understood as culturally stigmatized physically distinction (including actual and psychological impairments of all kinds), is a pervasive and everlasting point of the human situation. whereas the biology of physically distinction is the correct learn for technological know-how and drugs, the which means that we connect to physically distinction is the correct examine of humanists. The interdisciplinary box of incapacity experiences has lately emerged to theorize social and cultural buildings of the that means of incapacity. even supposing there was an marvelous outpouring of humanistic paintings in incapacity reports some time past ten years, there was nearly no echo in musicology or song concept. Sounding Off: Theorizing incapacity in song is the 1st book-length paintings to target the historic and theoretical problems with track because it pertains to incapacity. It indicates that song, like literature and the opposite arts, at the same time displays and constructs cultural attitudes towards incapacity. Sounding Off: Theorizing incapacity in track supplies to be a landmark examine for students and scholars of track, incapacity, and tradition.

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Additional resources for Sounding Off: Theorizing Disability in Music

Sample text

But it can’t be helped. I don’t see any other way. We are discussing life and death, and not in the abstract, either; we are discussing my life and my death…and I can’t conceive of any other … tone. Now is not the time for verbal swordplay. And nothing would be worse than a detailed scholarly analysis. Erudition. Interpretation. Complication. Now is a time for simplicity. Now is a time for, dare I say it, kindness. As Vivian continues her monologue (p. 70), the soprano solo enters in the underscore with a sobbing, falling motive from D-flat to C on the word mamo—mother (see fig.

At measure 21 (not shown here), she sings, “Don’t cry, Mother,” rising from D-flat to E-flat before falling back down to D-flat and then to C. The orchestra continues its B-flat–D-flat pedal as the soprano attempts this upward gesture again at measure 25, singing the D-flat–E-flat motive twice before dropping again through D-flat to C. 3). Beginning at D-flat, she sings through the B-flat natural minor scale, peaking at B-flat and arcing downward to G-flat. This is an important turning point in the soprano solo: The gravity of the sob-like motive has given way to a rising melodic arc that allows Upshaw to sing a kind of musical cry.

I have suggested elsewhere (Attinello 2000, 2003) that some of the various marked differences between music and other media might result from a tendency for music to sidestep concrete experience and terminology in favor of the expression of personal and private emotions. However, that seems inadequate in explaining this situation; I suggest that a larger teleology is guiding the musical rhetoric, pushing it to ignore the immediacy of daily illness in favor of what comes after. The teleological versus the static: other illnesses, and other ways out These songs seem almost eschatological, not experiential—they always seem to outline inevitable and terrible futures, the kinds of futures that a dreaded “progressive” disease apparently must, by definition, reach.

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