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Feminist Theory in Music - Essay Example

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Although women have always been part of music in one way or the other, their work has been recognized fairly recently. It was in the 1700s that female musicians’ and some female composers’ names made their way into music lexicography and history. The word “Damenmusik” (women’s music) was found in Germany in 1811, when an anonymous critic apprehensively approached a piano sonata by a female composer only to be pleasantly surprised. Although the number of female composers increased in the 19th century, recognition in dictionaries and histories decreased. Emil Naumann wrote that “all creative work in music is well-known as being the exclusive work of men” in Illustrierte Musikgeschichte (1880–85), which is also known as A History of Music (1862-8) in England and the United States of America (Pendle, 2000). It was between 1870 and 1910 that cultural feminism challenged the limits of such discrepancies in music history. Fanny Ritter’s “Woman as a Musician” (1876) in the United States of America and Jessel’s monograph “Warum giebt es so wenige Componistinnen!” (1898) in Germany were explicitly associated with feminism. Between 1900 and 1940, the collective approach to women’s history was emphasized. Female musicologists including Marie Bobillier (publishing as Michel Brenet), Yvonne Rokseth and Kathi Meyer, researched and evaluated women’s musical institutions such as the convent and the female choir and emphasized the social vitality of women’s roles in society. In 1948, Sophie Drinker expanded her research beyond particular eras and pioneered the historiography of women and music as a separate topic. ...Show more
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This paper is reviewing Feminist Theory in music, taking at least two artists (one male and one female) as detailed examples, an author explores how these artists uphold or challenge the gender inequality. …
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