Speaking for Ourselves : Conversations on Life, Music, and Autism, Hardback Book

Speaking for Ourselves : Conversations on Life, Music, and Autism Hardback


From the advent of autism as a diagnosed disorder in the 1940s to the present day, the musical talents and affinities of autistic people have been widely recognized.

Articles on autistic musical savants, studies on the high incidence of perfect pitch among autistic research subjects, and reports on the therapeutic value of music for autistic individuals have reinforced such impressions.

Meanwhile, retrospective "diagnoses" of autism in late, great musicians such aspianist Glenn Gould and composer Béla Bartók have added an aura of mystique and allure to the popular image.

Given all this attention to the integral connection between music and autism, it is surprising how little effort has been made to ask autistic people themselves about how they make and experience music, and why it matters to them that they do.

In Speaking for Ourselves, renowned ethnomusicologist Michael Bakan does just that, engaging in deep conversations-some spanning over the course of years-with ten fascinating and very different individuals who share two basic things in common: anautism spectrum diagnosis and a life in which music is central.

These conversations offer profound insights into the intricacies and intersections of music, autism, neurodiversity, and life in general, not from an autistic point of view, but rather from many different autistic points of view.

They invitereaders to partake of a rich tapestry of words, ideas, and musical sounds (on the Companion Website) that speak to both the diversity of autistic experience and the common humanity we all share.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theory of music & musicology
  • ISBN: 9780190855833



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