It appears Michael Bakan has perfect pitch when it comes to attuning to worthwhile, timely content for a book. Since autism has been diagnosed as a medical condition in the 1940s, there has bee an increasing public awareness of its complexities and also a growing public receptivity to viewing those with autism as individuals. Most people had never heard of autism prior to Dustin Hoffman's performance in Rain Man, the highest grossing movie of 1988; now that movie is widely criticized for glorifying savant capabilities. Autistic people do, however, have an unusually high rate of absolute or "perfect" pitch. There have been many articles about autistic people as musical savants who have displayed extraordinary feats of musical memory. Now music historians are suggesting the likes of Béla Bartók and Glenn Gould might have benefited from autism. In Speaking for Ourselves (Oxford University Press $24.95 U.S.), Vancouver-raised ethnomusicologist Michael Bakan records his conversations over a ten-year period with ten people over a wide range on the autism spectrum--all of whom have daily lives suffused with music. Bakan's co-authors are Mara Chasar, Graeme Gibson, Elizabeth J. Grace, Zena Hamelson, Dotan Nitzberg, Gordon Peterson, Maureen Pytlik, Donald Rindale, Amy Sequenzia and Addison Silar. Michael Bakan plays drums for Artism Ensemble, a neurodiverse music group that is discussed in the book.

9780190855833