Society for American Sign Language Journal

Document Type



Signed music is best described as an inter-performative art form that combines lyrical and non-lyrical musical performances and is deeply rooted in the culture of deaf people who communicate through signed language (J. H. Cripps & Lyonblum, 2017; J. H. Cripps et al., in press [a]). The key investigative component for this article includes outlining the experiences that three Canadian performers had about their signed music creativity during a plenary at the Partition/Ensemble 2020 Conference held by the Canadian Association for Theatre Research in Montreal, Quebec. The panelists responded to two questions that they developed for themselves: What inspired us to become musicians? How did the creative process of composing the signed music piece occur from the beginning to the end? The paper also covers an open discussion that the three performers had among themselves. Some signed music work examples are provided for viewing to support the premise that deaf people have full capacity for the creation and enjoyment of music. The paper represents a departure from the long-held view that music can only prevail in the audible form. The insights gained from the three deaf performers are the first of their kind and will contribute to the musical world.



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