2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

The Disabled Composer: Late-Style Composition as Influenced by the Non-Normative Body
Laura A. Franks
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

Late-style composition is generally regarded as the style a composer takes in his late-period, characterized by the composer's age in relation to the time period, awareness of coming death, or nostalgic thought. However, these same characteristics can be found in the context of disability, where embodiment of the non-normative state may directly influence the creative process of composition. One composer who embodied his disability and projected that onto his works was Robert Schumann. His mental illness inspired collecting and fragmentation in his late works, as well as entire conceptualizations of pieces, typically influenced by inner voices. Ludwig van Beethoven's disability, deafness, inspired his works in a different way, motivating a narrative of disability overcome. Because societal stigmatization has authority in shaping critiques, the nature of Beethoven's and Schumann's disabilities may have influenced their late-works' reception. Such stigma fades when the relationship between the non-normative body and late composition is clarified.

Keywords: Composition, Disability, Interdisciplinary, Late-style, Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Stigma


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 115-2
Location: MG 1090
Time: 8:15

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