Representation, Radicalism, and Music “After Sound”
Photo of author Aaron Moorehouse


Dematerialisation and Decentering

How to Cite

Moorehouse, A. (2021). Representation, Radicalism, and Music “After Sound”. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 21(2).


This commentary presents an experimental-composer’s perspective on contemporary music therapy practice. I begin by offering my impressions of the field, gathered through interviews with practising music therapists, and an examination of the relevant literature. Then, the commentary first draws upon G. Douglas Barrett’s radical post-sonic theorisation of music to question the future of existing music in therapy, before instrumentalising avant-garde aesthetics to imagine what music may become in music therapy. This exploration will pay particular attention to the impacts of the dematerialisation of the art object in contemporary art, and the potential benefits a similar decentering of sound in contemporary music practices may provoke—specifically, the creation of theoretical frameworks that further suppress the authority of canonical forms, and increased contributions from previously-marginalised groups. Next, the commentary presents an analysis of two recent musical compositions that determinedly decenter sound, before examining the appropriateness of this aesthetic to therapeutic contexts. Finally, the commentary signposts a number of historical antecedents that illustrate music therapy’s potential for rigorous (and radical) selfexamination, and examines how these efforts may be expanded.

Copyright (c) 2021 Aaron Moorehouse

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