Cecilia, a fifteenth-century Christian martyr, has long been considered the patron saint of music. In this pathbreaking volume, ten of the best known scholars in the newly emerging field of feminist musicology explore both how gender has helped shape genres and works of music and how music has contributed to prevailing notions of gender. The musical subjects include concert music, both instrumental and vocal, and the vernacular genres of ballads, salon music, and contemporary African American rap. The essays raise issues not only of gender but also of race and class, moving among musical practices of the courtly ruling class and the elite discourse of the twentieth-century modernist movement to practices surrounding marginal girls in Renaissance Venice and the largely white middle-class experiences of magazine and balladry.
Musical sound has been central to heteromasculinist productions of nation and homeland, whether Chicano, Tejano, Texan, Mexican, or American. If this assertion holds true, as Deborah R. Vargas suggests, then what are we to make of those singers and musicians whose representations of gender and sexuality are irreconcilable with canonical Chicano/Tejano music or what Vargas refers to as “la onda”? These are the “dissonant divas” Vargas discusses, performers who stimulate our listening for alternative borderlands imaginaries that are inaudible within the limits of “la onda.”
Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music focuses on the Texan monument of the Alamo and its association with Rosita Fernandez; Tejano corrido folklore and its musical antithesis in Chelo Silva; the female accordion-playing bodies of Ventura Alonza and Eva Ybarra as incompatible with the instrumental labor of conjunto music; geography as national border, explored through the multiple national music scales negotiated by Eva Garza; and racialized gender, viewed through Selena’s integration of black diasporic musical sound. Vargas offers a feminist analysis of these figures’ contributions by advancing a notion of musical dissonance—a dissonance that recognizes the complexity of gender, sexuality, and power within Chicana/o culture.
Incorporating ethnographic fieldwork, oral history, and archival research, Vargas’s study demonstrates how these singers work together to explode the limits of Texan, Chicano, Tejano, Mexican, and American identities.
Representing a historical cross-section of performance and training in Western music since the seventeenth century, Five Lives in Music brings to light the private and performance lives of five remarkable women musicians and composers. Elegantly guiding readers through the Thirty Years War in central Europe, elite courts in Germany, urban salons in Paris, Nazi control of Germany and Austria, and American musical life today, as well as personal experiences of marriage, motherhood, and widowhood, Cecelia Hopkins Porter provides valuable insights into the culture in which each woman was active.
Porter begins with the Duchess Sophie-Elisabeth of Braunschweig-Lueneberg, a harpsichordist who also presided over seventeenth-century North German court music as an impresario. At the forefront of French Baroque composition, composer Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre bridged a widening cultural gap between the Versailles nobility and the urban bourgeoisie of Paris. A century later, Josephine Lang, a prodigiously talented pianist and dedicated composer, participated at various times in the German Romantic world of lieder through her important arts salon. Lastly, the twentieth century brought forth two exceptional women: Baroness Maria Bach, a composer and pianist of twentieth-century Vienna's upper bourgeoisie and its brilliant musical milieu in the era of Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, and Erich Korngold; and Ann Schein, a brilliant and dauntless American piano prodigy whose career, ongoing today though only partially recognized, led her to study with the legendary virtuosos Arthur Rubinstein and Myra Hess.
Mining musical autographs, unpublished letters and press reviews, interviews, and music archives in the United States and Europe, Porter probes each musician's social and economic status, her education and musical training, the cultural expectations within the traditions and restrictions of each woman's society, and other factors. Throughout the lively and focused portraits of these five women, Porter finds common threads, both personal and contextual, that extend to a larger discussion of the lives and careers of female composers and performers throughout centuries of music history.
In recent years, girls' and mixed-gender ensembles have challenged the tradition of male-dominated gamelan performance. The change heralds a fundamental shift in how Balinese think about gender roles and the gender behavior taught in children's music education. It also makes visible a national reorganization of the arts taking place within debates over issues like women's rights and cultural preservation. Sonja Lynn Downing draws on over a decade of immersive ethnographic work to analyze the ways Balinese musical practices have influenced the processes behind these dramatic changes. As Downing shows, girls and young women assert their agency within the gamelan learning process to challenge entrenched notions of performance and gender. One dramatic result is the creation of new combinations of femininity, musicality, and Balinese identity that resist messages about gendered behavior from the Indonesian nation-state and beyond. Such experimentation expands the accepted gender aesthetics of gamelan performance but also sparks new understanding of the role children can and do play in ongoing debates about identity and power.
Music and Gender
Edited by Pirkko Moisala and Beverley DiamondForeword by Ellen Koskoff University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress ML82.M74 2000 | Dewey Decimal 780.82
Through the experiences of performers, composers, and ethnomusicologists working in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America, Music and Gender explores how the uses and descriptions of music shift in response to rapid political, economic, or technological change.
A cross-section of case studies from the Central African Republic, Finland, and Turkey addresses issues of how performance reflects gender and furthers other social goals, such as negotiating identity and transforming consciousness. Articles on Croatian and Serbian popular music and on the changing circumstances of women musicians in war-torn Ethiopia and post-Soviet Estonia consider the fate of fragile constructions of gender and nationhood in times of war or crisis. Other essays consider the relationship of gender to digital sound technology--in terms of access to the field, interactions among musicians, and aesthetic decisions--and gender issues in writing the musical lives of women composers and performers.
Articulating a theoretical agenda that encompasses perspectives from vastly different musical cultures, this important collection shows how music can help bridge the radical transformations of individuals, groups, and nations.
Although scholars have long been aware of the crucial roles that gender plays in music, and vice versa, the contributors to this volume are among the first to systematically examine the interactions between the two. This book is also the first to explore the diverse, yet often strikingly similar, musics of the areas bordering the Mediterranean from comparative anthropological perspectives.
From Spanish flamenco to Algerian raï, Greek rebetika to Turkish pop music, Sephardi and Berber songs to Egyptian belly dancers, the contributors cover an exceedingly wide range of geographic and musical territories. Individual essays examine musical behavior as representation, assertion, and sometimes transgression of gender identities; compare men's and women's roles in specific musical practices and their historical evolution; and explore how music and gender relate to such issues as ethnicity, nationality, and religion. Anyone studying the musics or cultures of the Mediterranean, or more generally the relations between gender and the arts, will welcome this book.
Caroline Bithell, Joaquina Labajo, Jane C. Sugarman, Carol Silverman, Goffredo Plastino, Gail Holst-Warhaft, Edwin Seroussi, Marie Virolle, Terry Brint Joseph, Deborah Kapchan, Karin van Nieuwkerk, Svanibor Pettan, Martin Stokes, Philip V. Bohlman
Candace Bailey’s exploration of the intertwining worlds of music and gender shows how young southern women pushed the boundaries of respectability to leave their unique mark on a patriarchal society. Before 1861, a strictly defined code of behavior allowed a southern woman to identify herself as a “lady” through her accomplishments in music, drawing, and writing, among other factors. Music permeated the lives of southern women, and they learned appropriate participation through instruction at home and at female training institutions. A belle’s primary venue was the parlor, where she could demonstrate her usefulness in the domestic circle by providing comfort and serving to enhance social gatherings through her musical performances, often by playing the piano or singing. The southern lady performed in public only on the rarest of occasions, though she might attend public performances by women. An especially talented lady who composed music for a broader audience would do so anonymously so that her reputation would remain unsullied.
The tumultuous Civil War years provided an opportunity for southern women to envision and attempt new ways to make themselves useful to the broader, public society. While continuing their domestic responsibilities and taking on new ones, young women also tested the boundaries of propriety in a variety of ways. In a broad break with the past, musical ladies began giving public performances to raise money for the war effort, some women published patriotic Confederate music under their own names, supporting their cause and claiming public ownership for their creations. Bailey explores these women’s lives and analyzes their music. Through their move from private to public performance and publication, southern ladies not only expanded concepts of social acceptability but also gained a valued sense of purpose.
Music and the Southern Belle places these remarkable women in their social context, providing compelling insight into southern culture and the intricate ties between a lady’s identity and the world of music. Augmented by incisive analysis of musical compositions and vibrant profiles of composers, this volume is the first of its kind, making it an essential read for devotees of Civil War and southern history, gender studies, and music.
Pink Noises brings together twenty-four interviews with women in electronic music and sound cultures, including club and radio DJs, remixers, composers, improvisers, instrument builders, and installation and performance artists. The collection is an extension of Pinknoises.com, the critically-acclaimed website founded by musician and scholar Tara Rodgers in 2000 to promote women in electronic music and make information about music production more accessible to women and girls. That site featured interviews that Rodgers conducted with women artists, exploring their personal histories, their creative methods, and the roles of gender in their work. This book offers new and lengthier interviews, a critical introduction, and resources for further research and technological engagement.
Contemporary electronic music practices are illuminated through the stories of women artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds. They include the creators of ambient soundscapes, “performance novels,” sound sculptures, and custom software, as well as the developer of the Deep Listening philosophy and the founders of the Liquid Sound Lounge radio show and the monthly Basement Bhangra parties in New York. These and many other artists open up about topics such as their conflicted relationships to formal music training and mainstream media representations of women in electronic music. They discuss using sound to work creatively with structures of time and space, and voice and language; challenge distinctions of nature and culture; question norms of technological practice; and balance their needs for productive solitude with collaboration and community. Whether designing and building modular synthesizers with analog circuits or performing with a wearable apparatus that translates muscle movements into electronic sound, these artists expand notions of who and what counts in matters of invention, production, and noisemaking. Pink Noises is a powerful testimony to the presence and vitality of women in electronic music cultures, and to the relevance of sound to feminist concerns.
Raised in the gritty Mississippi River town of Davenport, Iowa, Cora Keck could have walked straight out of a Susan Glaspell story. When Cora was sent to Vassar College in the fall of 1884, she was a typical unmotivated, newly rich party girl. Her improbable educational opportunity at “the first great educational institution for womankind” turned into an enthralling journey of self-discovery as she struggled to meet the high standards in Vassar’s School of Music while trying to shed her reputation as the daughter of a notorious quack and self-made millionaire: Mrs. Dr. Rebecca J. Keck, second only to Lydia Pinkham as America’s most successful self-made female patent medicine entrepreneur of the time.
This lively, stereotype-shattering story might have been lost, had Cora’s great-granddaughter, Greta Nettleton, not decided to go through some old family trunks instead of discarding most of the contents unexamined. Inside she discovered a rich cache of Cora’s college memorabilia—essential complements to her 1885 diary, which Nettleton had already begun to read. The Quack’s Daughter details Cora’s youthful travails and adventures during a time of great social and economic transformation. From her working-class childhood to her gilded youth and her later married life, Cora experienced triumphs and disappointments as a gifted concert pianist that the reader will recognize as tied to the limited opportunities open to women at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as to the dangerous consequences for those who challenged social norms.
Set in an era of surging wealth torn by political controversy over inequality and women’s rights and widespread panic about domestic terrorists, The Quack’s Daughter is illustrated with over a hundred original images and photographs that illuminate the life of a spirited and charming heroine who ultimately faced a stark life-and-death crisis that would force her to re-examine her doubts about her mother’s medical integrity.
The women of communities in Hindu India and Christian Orthodox Finland alike offer lamentations and mockery during wedding rituals. Catholic women of southern Italy perform tarantella on pilgrimages while Muslim Berger girls recite poetry at Moroccan weddings. Around the world, women actively claim agency through performance during such ritual events. These moments, though brief, allow them a rare freedom to move beyond culturally determined boundaries.
In Ritual Soundings, Sarah Weiss reads deeply into and across the ethnographic details of multiple studies while offering a robust framework for studying music and world religion. Her meta-ethnography reveals surprising patterns of similarity between unrelated cultures. Deftly blending ethnomusicology, the study of gender in religion, and sacred music studies, she invites ethnomusicologists back into comparative work, offering them encouragement to think across disciplinary boundaries. As Weiss delves into a number of less-studied rituals, she offers a forceful narrative of how women assert agency within institutional religious structures while remaining faithful to the local cultural practices the rituals represent.
"The past fifteen years have been a time of intense scholarly interest in women, resulting in an explosion of literature that has begun to reveal the overriding effects of gender on other cultural domains. Affecting all aspects of culture, issues of sexuality, gender-related behaviors, and inter-gender relations also have profound implications for music performance. This volume represents an introduction to the field of women, music, and culture and in no way attempts to be comprehensive in its coverage nor conclusive in its implications. For example, Western classical music is not discussed here, many large world areas are not covered, nor does this volume present a comprehensive survey of all recent developments in feminist-oriented anthropology. What these essays do share is a focus on women's culture identity and musical activity, either in socially isolated performance environments or within the public arenas shared by their male counterparts."--From the preface
"Do look after my music!" Irene Wienawska Polowski exclaimed before her death in 1932. And from the urgency of that sentiment the authors here have taken their cue to reveal and "look after" the previously neglected contributions of women throughout the history of Western art music.
The first work of its kind, Women Making Music presents biographies of outstanding performers and composers, as well as analyses of women musicians as a class, and provides examples of music from all periods including medieval chant, Renaissance song, Baroque opera, German lieder, and twentieth-century composition. Unlike most standard historical surveys, the book not only sheds light upon the musical achievements of women, it also illuminates the historical contexts that shaped and defined those achievements.
Fascinated by women's distinct influence on Uzbekistan's music, Tanya Merchant ventures into Tashkent's post-Soviet music scene to place women musicians within the nation's evolving artistic and political arenas.
Drawing on fieldwork and music study carried out between 2001 and 2014, Merchant challenges the Western idea of Central Asian women as sequestered and oppressed. Instead, she notes, Uzbekistan's women stand at the forefront of four prominent genres: maqom, folk music, Western art music, and popular music. Merchant's recounting of the women's experiences, stories, and memories underscores the complex role that these musicians and vocalists play in educational institutions and concert halls, street kiosks and the culturally essential sphere of wedding music. Throughout the book, Merchant ties nationalism and femininity to performances and reveals how the music of these women is linked to a burgeoning national identity.
Important and revelatory, Women Musicians of Uzbekistan looks into music's part in constructing gendered national identity and the complicated role of femininity in a former Soviet republic's national project.