ⓘ Women in musicology


ⓘ Women in musicology

Women in musicology describes the role of women professors, scholars and researchers in postsecondary education musicology departments at postsecondary education institutions, including universities, colleges and music conservatories. Traditionally, the vast majority of major musicologists and music historians have been men. Nevertheless, some women musicologists have reached the top ranks of the profession. Carolyn Abbate is an American musicologist who did her PhD at Princeton University. She has been described by the Harvard Gazette as "one of the worlds most accomplished and admired music historians".

Susan McClary born 1946 is a musicologist associated with the "New Musicology" who incorporates feminist music criticism in her work. McClary holds a PhD from Harvard University. One of her best known works is Feminine Endings 1991, which covers musical constructions of gender and sexuality, gendered aspects of traditional music theory, gendered sexuality in musical narrative, music as a gendered discourse and issues affecting women musicians. In the book, McClary suggests that the sonata form used in symphonies and string quartets may be a sexist or misogynistic procedure that constructs of gender and sexual identity. McClarys Conventional Wisdom 2000 argues that the traditional musicological assumption of the existence of "purely musical" elements, divorced from culture and meaning, the social and the body, is a conceit used to veil the social and political imperatives of the worldview that produces the classical canon most prized by supposedly objective musicologists.

American musicologist Marcia Citron has asked "hy is music composed by women so marginal to the standard classical repertoire?" Citron "examines the practices and attitudes that have led to the exclusion of women composers from the received canon of performed musical works." She argues that in the 1800s, women composers typically wrote art songs for performance in small recitals rather than symphonies intended for performance with an orchestra in a large hall, with the latter works being seen as the most important genre for composers; since women composers did not write many symphonies, they were deemed to be not notable as composers.

Other notable women scholars include:

  • Suzanne Cusick
  • Reba Wissner
  • Rose Rosengard Subotnik
  • Judith Tick
  • Rosetta Reitz
  • Ursula Gunther
  • Maud Cuney Hare
  • Hedi Stadlen
  • Eva Badura-Skoda
  • Anahit Tsitsikian
  • Elaine Sisman
  • Margaret Bent
  • Carol Oja
  • Liudmila Kovnatskaya
  • Nancy Reich
  • Kendra Preston Leonard

1. Ethnomusicologists

Ethnomusicologists study the many musics around the world that emphasize their cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other dimensions or contexts instead of or in addition to its isolated sound component or any particular repertoire. Ethnomusicology – a term coined by Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος ethnos, "nation" and μουσική mousike, "music" – is often described as the anthropology or ethnography of music. Initially, ethnomusicology was almost exclusively oriented toward non-Western music, but now includes the study of Western music from anthropological, sociological and intercultural perspectives.

Notable ethnomusicologists include:

  • Frances Densmore
  • Ida Halpern
  • Joanna Everharda La Riviere Fourie
  • Judith Becker
  • Maud Karpeles