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Broken Beauty – Musical Modernism and the Representation of Disability - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Broken Beauty: Musical Modernism and the Representation of Disability

Joseph Straus


Modernist music is centrally concerned with the representation and narration of disability. The most characteristic features of musical modernism—fractured forms, immobilized harmonies, conflicting textural layers, radical simplification of means in some cases, and radical complexity and hermeticism in others—can be understood as musical representations of disability conditions, including deformity/disfigurement, mobility impairment, madness, idiocy, and autism. Modernist musical representation and narration of disability both reflect and shape (construct) disability in a eugenic age, a period ... More

Keywords: modernism, modernist music, disability, deformity, mobility impairment, madness, idiocy, autism, representation, narrative

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190871208
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190871208.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joseph Straus, author
Graduate Center, City University of New York