Department of Music

Byrd McDaniel's "Spectacular Listening: Music and Disability in the Digital Age" Published by Oxford University Press

Byrd McDaniel, PhD '19 Musicology & Ethnomusicology and current Assistant Director of Student Development in the Graduate School, is the author of the new book "Spectacular Listening: Music and Disability in the Digital Age" published by Oxford University Press.

The book's description:

Imagine a powerful listening experience that you want to share with others. You could describe it to someone with words, or you may choose a flashier alternative. You could, for example, costume yourself and take to the stage in a famous concert venue, delivering a rousing air guitar interpretation of a beloved rock solo for a live audience. Maybe you seek something more subtle, so you pull out your smartphone and record yourself lip-syncing to a guilty pleasure, showing your followers how seamlessly the music fits your movements. Perhaps instead you want others to hear how the music makes you feel, which leads you to record a podcast episode that translates the thrill of listening into audible exclamations.

In ways both mundane and sensational, listening can be an expressive act, enabling people to stage consumption as a public practice -- what author Byrd McDaniel calls "spectacular listening." Contemporary digital platforms not only support such activity but actively encourage people to package personal music reception into a performance that may be widely shared. With a range of compelling ethnographic case studies, McDaniel investigates a broad shift in contemporary listening norms and the stakes for listeners with disabilities. He reveals how listening-as-performance can be an opportunity for play, as well as a critical practice that exposes ableism in music institutions, technologies, and discourse.

Check out or purchase a copy of "Spectacular Listening" at your local library or preferred bookseller.

Congratulations, Byrd!