Prodigious Hearing, Normal Hearing, and Disablist Hearing

Joseph N. Straus

in Extraordinary Measures

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199766451
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895007 | DOI:
Prodigious Hearing, Normal Hearing, and Disablist Hearing

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Differences among bodies—differences in morphology and functioning that may be classified as disabilities—shape the way people think about, hear, and make sense of music. Traditional music theories depend on prodigious hearing—they imagine a listener capable of comprehending the subtlest musical relationships. The emerging field of music cognition describes and enforces normal hearing, that is, a notion of how people who are understood as normal—physically, psychologically, and cognitively—make sense of music. This chapter proposes and alternative disablist hearing—the ways that people whose bodily, psychological, or cognitive abilities are different from the prevailing norm make sense of music. Autistic hearing (based on local coherence, associative networks, absolute pitch, and prodigious rote memory); deaf hearing (based on seeing, feeling, and moving to music); and blind hearing (unmediated by conventional music notation).

Keywords: prodigious hearing; normal hearing; disablist hearing; cognition; autism; blindness; deafness

Chapter.  16218 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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