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
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Articles published prior to 2019 are subject to the following license, see: https://voices.no/index.php/voices/copyright
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0 that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.