In honor of the recent publication of “Colloquy: On the Disability Aesthetics of Music” in The Journal of the American Musicological Society (about which I hope to write more in the future), for this week’s #TBT I offer you Andrew Dell’Antonio’s essay “Intentional Inauthenticity: Performing Disabled Bodies, Disabled Bodies Performing.” Remember this?
“…various kinds of bodily configurations have been understood differently in different historical and geographical circumstances, and musicians have helped to shape those understandings while also working within them. Each body (and thus every operatically performed body) has unique strengths and weaknesses. Some are understood as compatible with the individual’s social role or with the “authentic” performance of a character, while others are perceived as problematic. For example, a character might wear eyeglasses with no influence on the dramatic flow of the opera, despite the visual impairment that is either acted or real, because eyeglasses are common enough prosthetic devices in contemporary society that they pass unnoticed (or might make a character/singer look bookish, nerdy, or intelligent). Indeed, a singer’s visual impairment might be completely invisible to the audience through the use of contact lenses. But other bodily differences are more explicitly displayed and understood as significant by audiences and artists alike.”
Several of Andrew’s essays delve into issues of bodies, disability, and music. We’ll have more about dis/ability in the coming months. If you like to plan ahead, you can find the full list of essays we’ve already published along with our publication schedule for the rest of September and October here, on our September-October digest. Stay tuned!
The Avid Listener: Listen. Write. Discuss. Repeat.