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Research in disability and music is a recent movement within musicology that is comprised of scholars who have an interest in the various ways disabilities and bodily/ability differences intersect with music. These music scholars differ from past researchers on disability due to their focus on people with disabilities as musicians who embody musical differences and not deficits. The disability known as autism has been one of the most discussed bodily/ability differences amongst musicologists with interests in disability; these scholars choose to discuss people with autism as neurodiverse musicians. In this thesis, I explore how a fifteen year old girl with autism, named Lyra, creates, practices, and performs music on her own terms. Lyra's musical experience occurs at her home, in which she practices and composes on surfaces and objects in her kitchen. In addition, Lyra rehearses and performs with a local Tallahassee musical ensemble called the ARTISM Ensemble. Her neurodiverse musical life is an example of disability accommodation that is created by herself (at home in her kitchen) and is provided by other musicians in the ARTISM Ensemble. This thesis is divided into four chapters. In the first chapter, I provide background on autism, neurodiversity, and the application of disability studies to this project and to musicology. The second chapter discusses Lyra's musical self-accommodation through the way she creates and practices her music. Chapter Three focuses on how Lyra's first musical ensemble, the ARTISM Ensemble, has accepted and accommodated her musical style and performance. The final chapter concludes the thesis with discussions on the importance of accommodation and, the inclusion of musicians who possess varying abilities and bodies, and ending with a section that looks towards the future of the musicology of disability.
A Thesis submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music.
Includes bibliographical references.
Michael B. Bakan, Professor Directing Thesis; Juliann Woods, Committee Member; Frank Gunderson, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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