SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 96

Is Silence Music to the Eye ? Egbert
Is Silence Music to the Eye ? A Review of Signed Music : A Symphonious Odyssey
Lisalee D . Egbert American Society for Deaf Children
On November 15 , 2015 , Towson University had the honor of hosting Signed Music , A Symphonious Odyssey . As one of the conference participants , I had the privilege of viewing this evening performance and would like to share my experience and thoughts with insights . The video production of this evening performance can be viewed at https :// www . youtube . com / watch ? v = 2JjFCM8UZHM . The notion of signed music has been a concept that has led to controversy among many researchers and educators in Deaf Studies . The idea of including music as a discipline within Deaf Studies has been fiercely debated in recent years . It has been suggested that music has no place in the Deaf community and that music is a wholly “ hearing ” notion which is not applicable to Deaf culture , thus there is no purpose in researching its ideology . On the other side of the argument , there are scholars whose work demonstrates and documents a long history of how signed music has always been embedded in Deaf culture .
Given the accessibility and visual ease afforded by the Internet , the output of visual media is overwhelming and raises many questions : Is music a hearing-only concept ? Is music simply an auditory aspect of life ? Can music be a visual notion ? Can music be considered as Deaf art or literature ?
When William Stokoe ’ s work suggested that American Sign Language ( ASL ) was indeed a language ( Stokoe , 1960 ; Stokoe , Casterline , & Croneberg , 1965 ), researchers both Deaf and hearing , as well as lay persons , were quick to condemn his work ( Maher , 1996 ). Accepting ASL as a legitimate language took time in both the research and the Deaf communities . Acknowledgment was slow possibly because , as humans , we are reluctant to accept change . We tend to drive the same route to work , we tend to eat primarily the same foods , and we frequent the same venues . But is it deeper than that ? Are we disinclined to accept new concepts because we are creatures of habit and thereby resist change ? Or , are we perhaps myopic in our paradigms because we do not want to accept what , at some level , we consider to be strange or different ?
Much of the academic community , as well as the Deaf community , has now accepted Stokoe ’ s work through which he demonstrates that the linguistic features of ASL meet the criteria of a language . Language is rooted in culture and culture is woven in language ( Brown , 1994 ; Kramsch , 1998 ). Deaf Studies as an academic discipline emerged from Stokoe ’ s revolutionary linguistic breakthrough . Over time Deaf Studies as a university major was established , followed by the granting of university degrees ( Bauman , 2008 ). A natural progression for the field would be to explore further layers of the cultural and linguistic aspects of its discipline .
Now that Deaf Studies has been acknowledged as a legitimate academic field , research pursuits have begun to proliferate . Deaf Studies scholars have documented the advent of not only Deaf art and literature , but subcategories within art and literature . For example : the performing arts of theater , poetry , and storytelling are acknowledged subcategories within “ Deaf Literature ” ( Peters , 2000 ). These are joined by visual arts such as painting , sculpture , and more . These explorations in Deaf art , poetry , and literature are not new phenomena , but until there was formal and proper apperception by the academy , researchers did not investigate the potential of these
SASLJ , Vol . 1 , No . 1 – Fall / Winter 2017 96
Is Silence Music to the Eye? Egbert Is Silence Music to the Eye? A Review of Signed Music: A Symphonious Odyssey Lisalee D. Egbert American Society for Deaf Children On November 15, 2015, Towson University had the honor of hosting Signed Music, A Symphonious Odyssey. As one of the conference participants, I had the privilege of viewing this evening performance and would like to share my experience and thoughts with insights. The video production of this evening performance can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=2JjFCM8UZHM. The notion of signed music has been a concept that has led to controversy among many researchers and educators in Deaf Studies. The idea of including music as a discipline within Deaf Studies has been fiercely debated in recent years. It has been suggested that music has no place in the Deaf community and that music is a wholly “hearing” notion which is not applicable to Deaf culture, thus there is no purpose in researching its ideology. On the other side of the argument, there are scholars whose work demonstrates and documents a long history of how signed music has always been embedded in Deaf culture. Given the accessibility and visual ease afforded by the Internet, the output of visual media is overwhelming and raises many questions: Is music a hearing-only concept? Is music simply an auditory aspect of life? Can music be a visual notion? Can music be considered as Deaf art or literature? When William Stokoe’s work suggested that American Sign Language (ASL) was indeed a language (Stokoe, 1960; Stokoe, Casterline, & Croneberg, 1965), researchers both Deaf and hearing, as well as lay persons, were quick to condemn his work (Maher, 1996). Accepting ASL as a legitimate language took time in both the research and the Deaf communities. Acknowledgment was slow possibly because, as humans, we are reluctant to accept change. We tend to drive the same route to work, we tend to eat primarily the same foods, and we frequent the same venues. But is it deeper than that? Are we disinclined to accept new concepts because we are creatures of habit and thereby resist change? Or, are we perhaps myopic in our paradigms because we do not want to accept what, at some level, we consider to be strange or different? Much of the academic community, as well as the Deaf community, has now accepted Stokoe’s work through which he demonstrates that the linguistic features of ASL meet the criteria of a language. Language is rooted in culture and culture is woven in language (Brown, 1994; Kramsch, 1998). Deaf Studies as an academic discipline emerged from Stokoe’s revolutionary linguistic breakthrough. Over time Deaf Studies as a university major was established, followed by the granting of university degrees (Bauman, 2008). A natural progression for the field would be to explore further layers of the cultural and linguistic aspects of its discipline. Now that Deaf Studies has been acknowledged as a legitimate academic field, research pursui G2fR&VwVF&ƖfW&FRFVb7GVFW266'2fRF7VVFVBFRGfVBbBǐFVb'BBƗFW&GW&R'WB7V&6FVv&W2vF'BBƗFW&GW&Rf"WSFRW&f&֖p'G2bFVFW"WG'B7F'FVƖr&R6vVFvVB7V&6FVv&W2vF( FVbƗFW&GW&^( ТWFW'2#FW6R&RVB'f7V'G27V62Fr67VGW&RB&RFW6PW&F2FVb'BWG'BƗFW&GW&R&RBWrVV'WBVFFW&Rv2f&B&W"W&6WF'FR6FVג&W6V&6W'2FBBfW7FvFRFRFVFbFW6P44Ģf( 2fvFW"#p