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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Using as case studies the creative works and performances of Deaf musicians, including the Deaf rock band Beethoven’s Nightmare and rappers Sean Forbes and Signmark, this essay challenges the hearing world to think about the alternative modes of hearing that a deaf musical culture offers. Examining the musicians’ biographies, repertories, performance spaces, and audiences within a greater context of Deaf culture and history, this essay argues for a way of making and listening to music that is specifically Deaf, a way that celebrates deafness and also situates the Deaf as a minority within a hearing world. Musical practices that arise from this political identity create a Deaf musical culture that calls us to acknowledge the linguistic differences and histories that are present in the performance and reception of Deaf music.

Keywords: deaf, hearing, Deaf culture, American Sign Language (ASL), Sean Forbes, Beethoven’s Nightmare, Signmark

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