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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

When a performer’s disability directly affects the execution of a musical script, the “dual performances of music and disability” (Straus 2011) are intertwined, so that one directly influences the other. This chapter uses the terms audible and silent disabilities as aural analogues to the more commonly used terms visible and invisible disabilities. In music performance, aural disabilities stem from musical impairments, which emerge from conflicts with three interrelated sets of conventions associated with musical instruments, performance practices and musical scores (in nonimprovised performances), and ideological expectations of a societal audience. Just as curbs, stairs, and door handles constitute part of the “constructed normalcy” of social performance, so do these three musical conventions propose and construct a normal performance body that real bodies must strive to match. Conversely, disablist music (like the one-hand piano repertoire) subverts the normal performance body by accommodating aurally disabled performers excluded from conformational musical practices.

Keywords: disability, performance, normalcy, accommodation, organology, universal design

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