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date: 08 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

There has been limited examination of Stevie Wonder’s compositional process and performance style as they relate to his disability. One largely unaddressed aspect of Wonder’s work is the keyboard performance technique used on his funk recordings, which feature a style of performance that he developed in part due to his blindness. Wonder’s studio recordings of the early 1970s exhibit what could be understood as the problem of autonomy for a disabled musician. As Wonder creates recordings as a technological one-man band using the assistance of multitrack recording, he strives toward creative autonomy. At the same time, the recording studio serves as a site for “complex power relations” that are common between people with disabilities and those who assist them. The availability of newer, smaller electronic instruments later made it possible for Wonder to increase his personal control over music production and to pioneer the use of new recording technologies.

Keywords: disability, Stevie Wonder, technology, blindness, recording, funk, autonomy

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