SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 85

Understanding Signed Music Cripps & Lyonblum A Demonstration of Signed Music Attention now shifts to understanding how two contemporary culturally deaf performers created music that is enjoyable and entirely visual through both lyrics and non-lyrics. This is made possible through references to the case study published by J. H. Cripps et al. (2017) on the music performances produced by the performers. The researchers relied on the ethnomusicological approach to examine the first performance, Eyes by Janis E. Cripps ( watch?v=YnwJsFHFebg) and An Experiment Clip by Pamela Witcher ( watch?v=zPHraTb36wc). Thick description (Geertz, 1973) and comparative analysis were two methods that the researchers used. Three different clips for each performance were targeted for the use of musical elements, linguistic principles, and media formats. Each of the clips was described using thick description format. Data from both performances were then compared as part of comparative analysis. The findings are substantial and important. Based on the analysis of Eyes and An Experiment Clip, there are analogues to the music properties, with the evidence of rhythm, timbre, and texture as well as motif. Although more work is needed with other signed music works in the near future, Eyes and An Experiment Clip align with the non-Western version of music (due to the absence of melody and harmony). Through the researchers’ analysis of the two performers’ work, it became clear that their musical pieces incorporated deaf people’s experiences reflecting the perspectives in deaf culture. For example, in J. E. Cripps’ piece, she began her song by looking closely at her hands as if they had special value for the production of ASL. She also expressed the value of her eyes for the perception of her language as well. The motif of water-like movement with series of rhythmic variations can be seen in J. E. Cripps’ piece, and the reference to the water has a significant meaning. The music cannot be easily produced in the water, but the visual version of the music is readily expressed through her use of hands and movements. The message in response to audism is quite clear. Music is not limited to the audible sense as promoted by society at large. For the purpose of this paper, only the description of how lyrics and non-lyrics occurred in signed music is provided. This is part of confirming signed music’s following through the framework on music’s ties to language and culture through the production of lyrics and non-lyrics as discussed in the preceding section. One clip from An Experiment Clip and the other from Eyes are provided for viewing follow: Video 1: Experimental Clip SASLJ, Vol. 1, No. 1 – Summer/Fall 2017 85