Tunes of Impairment: An Ethnomusicology of Disability

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Alex Lubet


music, disability, classical


"Tunes of Impairment:  An Ethnomusicology of Disability" contemplates the theory and methodology of disability studies in music, a sub-field currently in only its earliest phase of development.  The article employs as its test case the field of Western art ("classical") music and examines the reasons for the near total exclusion from training and participation in music performance and composition by people with disabilities.  Among the issues around which the case is built are left-handedness as a disability; gender construction in classical music and its interface with disability; canon formation, the classical notion of artistic perfection and its analogy to the flawless (unimpaired) body; and technological and organizational accommodations in music-making present and future.

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