The clearing: Music, dysfluency, Blackness and time | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers
  • ISSN: 2057-0341
  • E-ISSN: 2057-035X

Abstract

This article argues that dysfluency, music and Blackness, because of their distinct relationships to time, have the power to forge alternative temporalities and help us heal from ‘temporal subjection’. As a Black composer who stutters, I write from first-hand experience. With reference to my own recordings and scores, I examine the ways I use musical techniques like loops and rubato to create these alternative temporalities. Stuttering (especially in the form I present with, the glottal block) creates unpredictable, silent gaps in speech. I call these gaps ‘clearings’. Slaves sang in the fields, and whites heard them; but they also sang (and danced) in the woods at night, out of earshot. Undergirding the clearing created by my stutter is that other clearing, in the woods, where my enslaved ancestors stole away to keep healing, resisting and liberating through music – work that I continue today.

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/content/journals/10.1386/jivs_00026_1
2020-12-01
2024-02-21
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Blackness; music; slavery; stutter; subjection; time
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