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Speaking for OurselvesConversations on Life, Music, and Autism$
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Michael B. Bakan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190855833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190855833.001.0001

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Dotan Nitzberg

Dotan Nitzberg

Chapter:
(p.95) Chapter 6 Dotan Nitzberg
Source:
Speaking for Ourselves
Author(s):

Michael B. Bakan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190855833.003.0006

Dotan Nitzberg’s hands fly across the piano keyboard at lightning speed, bringing to life a musical work that he believes captures the essence of his Asperger’s mind. “Liszt’s etude, ‘Dance of the Gnomes,’ ” he explains, “is a fast paced piece. It is very mercurial and sparkling. It correlates since my brain is so mercurial . . . . [Z]illions of thoughts are traveling at the speed of light and sometimes it causes confusion . . . . [T]he absorption is quick but the classification process is slower, [and] this gap is hampering.” At the piano, however, Dotan is not hampered in the least. There, he is fully in his element, and this too, he says, is a product of his Asperger’s mind: “[A]t the moment Aspergers tackle a piece they recognize the character and ‘emotion’ right away. It’s instilled there, [but] only people with [a] sixth sense—that is, endowed with sensitivity beyond the average—can catch it.”

Keywords:   piano, piano pedagogy, Asperger’s syndrome, Franz Liszt, autism, autism spectrum condition, humor in music, Judaism, gamelan, John Ogdon, Modest Mussourgsky

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