Season 2, Episode 5
When we think about music and deafness, it’s often through the lens of Beethoven: the mythological figure who overcomes his hearing loss to compose great music. But members of the d/Deaf community often talk less about hearing loss than about deaf gain. And we can gain a lot from understanding the wide range of methods through which d/Deaf people engage with, create, and listen to music. A conversation with musicologist Jessica A. Holmes, who researches the relationship between music and disability, including the listening expertise found in d/Deaf culture.
Jessica A. Holmes is a lecturer of musicology at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, and will be starting a new position this June as Assistant Professor of Musicology in the Department of Arts & Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen.
If you’re interested in learning more about Professor Holmes’s work, you can follow her on Twitter at @hessicajolmes and check out:
- The 2017 article “Expert Listening beyond the Limits of Hearing: Music and Deafness” in the Journal of the American Musicological Society
- The 2020 article “Essential Music: Christine Sun Kim,” in Flash Art
- The 2016 article “Singing Beyond Hearing,” on Christine Sun Kim’s Face Opera II in a colloquy on the “Disability Aesthetics of Music” in the Journal of the American Musicological Society.
- The 2019 article “The ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl of the Synth-Pop World” and Her “Baby Doll Lisp’: Grimes and the Disabling Logics of the Feminization and Infantilization of Lisping,” in the Journal of Popular Music Studies
- The 2020 article “‘The Dress-Clad, Out Loud Singer of Queer Punks’: Bradford Cox and the Performance of Disability,” in the Journal of the Society for American Music
- Also discussed in this episode: music theorist Anabel Maler’s research on song signing, such the 2013 article “Songs for Hands: Analyzing Interactions of Sign Language and Music” in Music Theory Online and the 2015 chapter on “Musical Expression among Deaf and Hearing Song Signers,” in the Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies; and Nina Sun Eindsheim’s book Sensing Sound: Singing and Listening as Vibrational Practice
Sound Expertise is hosted by Will Robin (@seatedovation), and produced by D. Edward Davis (@warmsilence). Please subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and/or Spotify. Questions or comments? Email williamlrobin@ gmail
A written transcript of this episode is available here; many thanks to Andrew Dell’Antonio for volunteering to prepare transcripts for the show!