Online discussion #6 is open for comments October 3-9. A description of these assignments and the rubric I’ll be using to grade your participation are available here.


 

In the classical music world, just as in other fields, women have been present and made significant contributions as long as the profession has existed. However, women as a group generally have not been acknowledged or lauded to the degree or consistency that men have been in the field. The emphasis on male musicians in the field (as composers, conductors, and top performers) paints a picture that making classical music is a man’s activity and that all the greatest achievements are done by men and by men only, and this has repercussions for how classical music evolves and the challenges it has in terms of remaining relevant.

[Side note #1: Men have obviously had some fantastic musical moments; we’ve listened to a lot of them in class. They just don’t have a monopoly on musical ability, and addressing non-male contributions and the difficulty women have in asserting their value in this field is the focus of this online discussion.]

[Side note #2: Everything that applies to women in this online discussion applies to other kinds of minorities, too. Last week we briefly discussed why the content of this course has skewed heavily, nay exclusively, to music by dead white guys — this is a bit of a selection effect, since the topic of the course is Western music, and for the historical periods we’ve covered so far, the European population historically consists of approximately 50% dead white guys — but in addition to that, the social structures that benefit white men in European society, allowing them to become musically trained, present concerts, publish music, and earn money, are often the same structures that make the same activities difficult for their non-white, non-male counterparts.]

In many ways, this discussion is a deeper dive into James Baldwin’s assertion (there he is again!) that we are living within structures and systems that control our lives in a very real way:

“The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” —James Baldwin, 1965

Can music sound “feminine”?

Listen to the two works below. Does one of them sound more “feminine” than the other? What musical features seem “masculine” (i.e., manly or likely made by a man), and which seem “feminine” (i.e., womanly or likely made by a woman)?

Piece #1:

 

Piece #2:

 

What is sexism?

sexism-rosieSexism refers to using a person’s sex as a basis for prejudice, discrimination, or stereotyping. It includes stereotypes such as women are kind and men are strong, and it begins early in life: baby clothes and toys are color-coded, blue for boys and pink for girls, although at the beginning of the 20th century pink was for boys, and some parents today reject this binary in favor of “neutral” colors like yellow and green. Sexism influences our perceptions of ourselves, our abilities, and our roles in society: boys who feel they have to be good at sports, or girls who think they’ll never be good at math or science. Here’s an entry the pianist-composer Clara Schumann wrote in her own diary:

“I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose—there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?” – Clara Schumann, 1839

clara young
Clara Schumann (1819-96)

Sexism frames and shapes romantic or sexual interactions (telling women that they should smile more because it will make them look pretty, expecting men to be gentlemen who hold doors open or pay for dates) as well as our attitudes towards activities in which gender is not obviously an issue (perceiving male professors as being more intelligent or capable than female ones, questioning whether women can hold political office because they are too emotional or not emotional enough, arguing that women should hold political office because they are more compassionate). It’s also worth noticing that the sexist stereotypes and presumptions we as a society express are often contradictory and shift over time — they are not fixed, they can be changed, and they are something that we collectively invent based on what we believe, perceive, or need at the time.

[Side note #3: The terms “sex” and “gender” are often used interchangeably in day-to-day conversation, but they refer to slightly different things. Sex is biological: chromosomes, hormones, and sex organs. Gender is socially-defined: the way that we present masculinity or femininity outwardly in terms of behavior, clothing, and social roles. When we talk about “sexism,” we’re really often talking about gender-ism — interactions based on 1) what we perceive people’s gender to be, and 2) what we expect them to do as a representative of their gender. But “genderism” is an awkward word and a more subtle distinction than we need to make right now.]

Legal hurdles and socially-constructed assumptions about women have prevented them from rising to prominence in the classical music field:

“Gentlemen may employ their hours of business in almost any degrading occupation and, if they have the means of supporting a respectable establishment at home, may be gentlemen still; while, if a lady but touch any article, no matter how delicate, in the way of trade, she loses caste, and ceases to be a lady.” –Sarah Stickney Ellis (1812-72)

Musical training was often seen as a way to make women more attractive or marriageable, not a foundation for a professional career. And the domination of the professional music world by men is tradition, the way it’s seemingly always been. Such long-standing beliefs about the physical capabilities of women and men led the Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov to say in 2012 that women could never be real conductors because “The essence of the conductor’s profession is strength. The essence of a woman is weakness.”

Why does sexism matter in music?

Assumptions about what people of a particular gender can or cannot do, or should or should not do, create the social structures in which we live. In terms of the classical music world, such structures have the effect of maintaining the illusion that classical musicians could only be men. Here’s how this works:

  • If women are assumed not to be musical, professional, or competent, then they will either 1) self-censor and not pursue their musical interests, or 2) not be admitted into the best music schools or receive the best training.
  • If women not admitted into the best schools, they will have a smaller chance of building the network of peers and mentors that will help them secure the best jobs and reptuation.
  • If women are not holding professional positions of power, influence, or respect, then they cannot mentor or guide another generation of students to follow in their footsteps; they cannot be advocates for younger candidates because they aren’t seated on a school’s admission committee or a professional organization’s job hiring committee. There aren’t enough of them to exert their leverage to insist on equal pay, family leave, or other issues that an all-male governing board might overlook (but that would be a barrier for other women to enter or remain in the workforce).

Add to these structures any additional prejudicial beliefs about women or their abilities, and it’s not hard to see why there have been so few women in leadership or famous positions in the professional classical music world historically. (If you re-read these bullet points and substitute any other minority group — a racial, ethnic, or sexual orientation minority group, for example — you would also have an explanation for why this group of people traditionally has been excluded from the professional classical music world.)

An anecdote: Abbie Conant

abbie-conant

In one particularly egregious example, gender-based prejudice derailed and marred the career of Abbie Conant. Conant is an American trombone player who played in the Münich Philharmonic (Germany) in the 1980s and 1990s.

Orchestral auditions take place behind a screen so that the auditioning committee cannot see the performer; it allows them to hire the player who sounds the best rather than being persuaded by seeing someone they know, being affected by the player’s physical gestures, or discriminating based on gender or race. Conant won her position (solo trombone) with the Münich Philharmonic in 1980 and was approved by the other members of the orchestra during both her audition and her first year with the orchestra, but the conductor of the orchestra refused to let her play the role that she had won, instead insisting that she play second to another male trombonist because he believed that only a man could really handle the role:

“You know the problem: we need a man for solo trombone.” —Sergiu Celibidache, General Music Director of the Münich Philharmonic

Conant was officially demoted to the position of second trombone in 1982 by the Music Director (a position that requires substantially more work but earns significantly less pay), and she sued. Over the next 11 years, she and the orchestra were embroiled in a legal battle (involving court appearances nearly ever year), and she had to complete several arduous tests and tasks in order to be able to play in the position she had already won:

  • 1982: Orchestra leadership argued that Conant did not “possess the necessary strength to be a leader of the trombone section.” By her husband’s account, she “underwent extensive medical testing to measure the capacity of her lungs and the speed at which she could inhale and exhale air. She had blood drawn from her ear to see how efficiently her body absorbed oxygen. She stripped and let a doctor examine her rib cage and chest. She also solicited forty-three testimonials of her musicianship from guest conductors and other musicians.”
  • 1987: The court ordered Conant to play for another trombone professional to assess her physical strength, endurance, and durability. She was required to play a series of the most difficult excerpts from the orchestral repertoire, all of which were chosen by the Music Director. In her re-audition, which was more rigorous or demanding than any regular audition (including the one she had already won in 1980), she played each excerpt several times, altering her performance each time to meet the auditor’s instructions to vary the style, dynamics, phrasing, and vibrato. The auditor’s court report praised her playing fully (and also required a $2,200 court payment from Conant):

“She is a wind player with an outstandingly well-trained embouchure, i.e., lip musculature, that enables her to produce controlled tone production in connection with a controlled breath flow, and which gives her the optimal use of her breath volume. Her breathing technique is very good and makes her playing, even in the most difficult passages, superior and easy. In this audition she showed sufficient physical strength, endurance, and breath volume, and above and beyond that, she has enormously solid nerves. This, paired with the above mentioned wind-playing qualities, puts her completely in the position to play the most difficult phrases in a top orchestra, holding them out according to the conductor’s directions for adequate length and intensity, as well as strength.” —Heinz Fadle

  • 1988: The court ruled in her favor, and Conant was reinstated to her position of solo trombone. The orchestra, however, refused to pay her at a soloist level until ordered to do so specifically by the court.
  • 1990; The orchestra created a special lower solo category to pay her less than her other 15 (male) soloist colleagues in the orchestra.
  • 1993: The court ruled that Conant should be in the same pay category as her colleagues, finally allowing her to truly say, 13 years after joining the orchestra, that she was its solo trombone. Unsurprisingly, she then left the orchestra and accepted a prestigious (and less litigious) position at the State Conservatory of Music in Trossingen (Germany). The Münich Philharmonic hired a seventeen-year-old man who had no prior orchestral experience as her replacement.

Conant’s story is not unique, either. In the Pittsburgh Symphony, trombonist Rebecca Bower was similarly relegated to playing second after winning a principal position by a male conductor. French horn player Helen Kotas was the first woman appointed to a principal position on any instrument except harp in the US in 1941, but she left the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1948 after being demoted to third horn, and the orchestra currently has no women in principal positions. Tina Ward, a clarinet player, was complimented in her audition for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1970 precisely because she didn’t “sound like a woman.”

In the top orchestras in the US, women make up only 25-30% of the players, on average, a large increase from around 5% in the 1970s. The shift isn’t due to affirmative action but rather a switch to blind auditions (behind screens). Screens don’t hide the sounds of shoes or musicians’ breaths, so there is still opportunity for gender bias in the process, but the implication is that when gender is largely taken off the table, well-trained women are as competent as their male counterparts.

There is still a disparity in terms of prestigious positions within orchestras and the classical music world. Most conductors and most principal or solo positions in orchestras in the US, Europe, and Asia are held by men (except for harp, a position which is almost always held by women). Tenured professorships at prestigious universities and conservatories are more often held by men while women are more commonly found at smaller, less well-known schools or in adjunct positions.

Gender and musical meaning

sexy-classical-music-albumGender shapes how people perceive and talk about all music, and classical music is no exception. Sex is more often used to sell albums for female classical music performers and reviews of female performers — and reviewers are mostly male —  often discuss what clothes they wore (which is almost never the case for male performers). Women are also more often and more harshly judged for their appearance:

Overweight men in opera, who sang lead roles, could pretty much expect to be judged on their voice and their acting, with no mention of their size. But a large woman would always be criticized for her size, often before any comment was made about her voice or acting. — Deborah Voigt, soprano

Gender perceptions also affect the way classical music sounds are described. Composer Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980) notes that the same piece is often described using very different vocabulary choices, whether the audience thinks it was written by a man or woman:

“I have a friend, a composer, who told me, ‘When a man writes something lyrical it’s seen as brave and courageous, but when a woman does it it’s seen as sentimental and indulgent.’ This was in the late ’90s and she was commenting on how sexist the new music community was. I’d like to say that times have changed, but I think this is still totally true.” — Missy Mazzoli

composer-gender-orchestra-2014-15

There also exists gender bias in terms of what music is performed on classical music concerts. In the current 2016-17 season, 14 of the top 21 US orchestras didn’t program a single work by a female composer; in 2014-15 of all the works played by the top orchestras, only 14.8% were composed by women. The 2017-18 season overall won’t be much better:

  • Detroit Symphony, music by 46 composers (47 are men, 34 are dead)
  • Philadelphia Orchestra, music by 50 composers (49 are men, 42 are dead)
  • Indianapolis Symphony, music by 34 composers (34 are men, 32 are dead)
  • Milwaukee Symphony, music by 34 composers (30 are men, 26 are dead)
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic, music by 58 composers (49 are men, 35 are dead)

It’s worse in the movie industry: from 1999-2004, only 2.4% of the 500 top-grossing films had scores written by female composers; women are commonly only asked to write scores that can appeal to other women.

When people compile lists of the so-called “best” composers of all time, they’re almost always all-male: like this one, or this one, or this one, or this one.

All of this means that young women and girls who attend orchestra concerts won’t see role models that they can follow, and the same is true for all minority groups: the message is that white men are the ones who are successful, a lesson that can be extrapolated to the world beyond music. And the rest of the audience? They’re being fed the message that classical music is a (dead) white man’s world.

Notable women in Western music history

Despite all of this, there are some notable women who have been excellent composers, performers, teachers, and conductors, and here’s a list of women that you might be interested in learning more about:

  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) — An abbess who, in addition to composing liturgical music, was also an expert on science and medicine and received prophetic visions
  • The Ladies of Ferrara — An ensemble of highly-talented noblewomen who sang in the courts of the Medici family (Italy)during the Renaissance
  • Francesca Caccini (1547-c.1645) — An Italian noblewoman who played lute and was also a singer, poet, and the first female opera composer
  • Barbara Strozzi (1619-77) — A singer and composer from Venice, Italy
  • Anna Magdalena Bach (1701-60) — Johann Sebastian Bach’s second wife, a composer in her own right, who wrote the manuscript copies of many of Bach’s works
  • Louise Farrenc (1804-75) — One of the best French 19th composers, Farrenc was the second-ever female professor at the Paris Conservatory, but she was only allowed to teach piano and not composition
  • Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-47) — An admired pianist and composer; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in a letter to her younger brother, the composer Felix Mendelssohn, wrote “give my regards to your equally talented sister.” Although people admired her compositions, the family persuaded her not to publish them so that she could continue to fulfill her role of being a “dutiful daughter and sister.”
  • Clara Schumann (1819-96) — A remarkable pianist and composer whose married life was wholeheartedly devoted to her husband, the composer Robert Schumann, and his professional needs, rather than her own career. In their house, he had dibs on the piano for his composition, and he could practice only when it wouldn’t bother him. Nevertheless, she premiered every one of his works that included piano and programmed his music on all her international tours, and when he was committed to a mental institution, she supported the entire family (8 children!) by touring across Europe well into her 70s and publishing critical editions of Robert’s works.
  • Jenny Lind (1820-87) — a Swedish soprano referred to affectionately by the press and her fans as “The Swedish Nightingale” and who helped popularize opera in the US by being one of the first famous European musicians to tour in America
  • Amy Beach (1867-1944) — One of the first American symphonic composers
  • Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) — A French composer, conductor, organ player, and one of the most influential teachers of the 20th century. Nearly every major American composer of the early 20th century went to her studio in Paris to finish their training, among others: Martin Amlin, Burt Bacharach, Daniel Barenboim, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Ingolf Dahl, David Diamond, Irving Fine, John Eliot Gardiner, Philip Glass, Quincy Jones, Leo Kraft, Per Nørgård, Astor Piazzolla, Walter Piston, Virgil Thomson
  • Gwynne Kimpton (1873-1930) — One of the first female orchestra conductors. When she conducted the British Women’s Symphony Orchestra in 1924, the performance was not taken seriously and given harsh reviews. A clipping of one such review is available here.
  • Marian Anderson (1897-1993) — A Black American singer who was barred from performing in the US due to racism and instead made her career in Europe. When a concert promoter arranged a performance for her in 1939 at the Daughters of the American Revolution hall, and Anderson was banned from singing because of a whites-only clause in the organization’s contract; the performance was moved to the steps of the Washington Monument where she sang for 75,000 people.
  • Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-53) — An edgy and unapologetic experimental American composer
  • Jane Little (1929-2016) — A double bass player who, at the time of her death in 2016, was the longest-serving musician in any American orchestra, having held her position in the Atlanta Symphony for 71 years. She died onstage during a performance in May.
  • Jessye Norman (b. 1945) — An American opera singer
  • Marin Alsop (b. 1956) — The first female conductor of a major American orchestra (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, 2007) and the first female conductor at the BBC’s annual Proms (2003)
  • Claire Chase (b. 1978) — A flutist who began the successful new-music collective International Contemporary Ensemble, also known as ICE. She won a MacArthur Genius Grant for her entrepreneurial skills in 2012.
  • Some additional living, working female composers: Chen Yi, Unsuk Chin, Valerie ColemanGabriela Lena FrankJennifer Higdon, Bun-Ching Lam, Tania LeónMissy Mazzoli, Meredith Monk, Shulamit RanBelinda ReynoldsKaija Saariaho, Hilary Tann, Joan TowerEllen Taafe Zwilich

Also, here’s a free 78-hour playlist of music by female composers over the last 1,200 years, featuring the women in this list and others.

Final thoughts

Sexism hurts classical music — it creates barriers that prevent certain musicians from participating, from making music, or from becoming widely known. It also contributes to the sense that classical music is irrelevant in today’s society. Part of what makes classical music seem irrelevant is its sense of stodgy tradition, and one of the ways that this sense of tradition is expressed is in the ways women (and others) have been unwelcome in its world. It’s difficult — but certainly not impossible — to appeal to audiences if they can’t see a bit of themselves in the music, and classical music has been behind the times in terms of acknowledging, supporting, and celebrating the range of musicians in its midst.

-Dr. J.

 

Questions to get the conversation started:

  • What musical sounds seem “masculine” or “feminine” to you?
  • How have you seen musicians or artists in other fields portrayed differently because of their gender?
  • How have you seen gender affect people’s behavior, judgment, or opinions?

P.S. The first piece in the discussion was by a man: Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849), Nocturne Op. posth. 72 No. 1 in E minor (1827), and the second piece was by a woman: Clara Schumann (1819-96), Scherzo No. 1 in D minor, Op. 10 (1838). Were you surprised to learn the composers’ genders?

98 thoughts on “Music and gender (Online discussion #6)

  1. I originally thought that either piece could have been “feminine”. This first piece was calm and had a low melody, so most people would think this piece is more feminine. But for me i thought the second piece could have been also, because it reminded me of when i used to dance ballet. This piece was telling a story, it was fast and had a high melody, and I think this piece can be just as “feminine”. In some cases today we see women being portrayed as sexy/risky just to make it in the music industry, but for men they can do whatever they want and still get recognition. You hear of people all the time making comments like “let a man do that”, most people are always changing their opinions, and behaviors depending of which gender they are speaking to.

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    1. I agree there are some rules in certain public schools that boys can wear whatever they want but girls can’t wear anything showing their shoulders or butt. Men and women should be treated equally.

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      1. I attended Catholic school all my life, and the uniforms for some people would always be a problem. So times females didn’t want to wear a dress or skirt , and majority of the time they would never allow those individuals to wear pants or shorts.

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        1. How did the girls in your school overcome having to have no say into having to wear dresses and skirts?

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    2. Yes, your right I also believe both pieces of music are from female singers and I get you and I’m on your side women tend to get more Critique from society about their appearances in the music industry. What type of Genre do you believe Female singers or dancers receive the most Criticism?

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    3. Personally I believed the first one clearly sounded more masculine while the second had a more feminine tone, just because of the higher and more frequent sounds. I think our difference in opinion comes from a different idea of what the word masculine and feminine connotes.

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    1. Yes. When I worked in South Korea, I and the other women coworker had to prepare and serve coffee to supervisor and man coworker every in the morning. Whenever I did it, I thought that is not fair.

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    2. Yes. I go through it so often. . I work in a male dominated business, and because I am one of the only female managers I hear people question why is a woman a manager. It’s sad to hear it but it took me years to not allow it to bother me because at the end of the day they can’t do anything to change my position.

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  2. During high school, I have had experience with gender bias in school. My school committee used to give more priority to boys sports than girls sports. The boys were favored the majority of the time. Girls were too sometimes but not nearly as much.

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      1. Yes! I had so much interest as a freshman in high school to join the girl’s volleyball team. As I made it to the end of my freshmen year, I wasn’t even able to try out anymore because it was removed for being unfair to the boys in school.

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    1. I had a similar experience in high school; all of the men’s sport teams would be funded by the school, but some of the girls teams would have the raise money for supplies and events.

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    2. I didn’t feel like my high school favored either gender when it came to sports. Whatever sports team was the most successful would get priority. Our women’s lacrosse, cheerleading and men’s soccer would get new uniforms, go to tournaments and even be excused from classes to prepare for big games. Our baseball and football teams had ratty equipment and the same jerseys year after year.

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  3. When I was comparing the first piece with the second piece the first one seemed feminine to me because of its calm melody and lower scale.The second was enriched with very fast and complex notes which seems like very hard to play. But at the end, I was very surprised by the fact that the second piece was played by a woman.
    It is very heartbreaking to see that females don’t get to be in charge of many roles in our society today.I believe that if women were brought into the world of music to compose music as much as male they would have added some unique melody and different texture into classical music.

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    1. I think so. Musicians write about what affects them and the culture around them. So when men and women write songs or music, they tend to be coming from different places. Music written by women appeals more to emotions and the heart. They write about their children, abuse, friends, boyfriends, spouses, and it seems to be more about love, happiness and peace. Men can sing about beer, riches, apologizing for cheating, proposing love to a lady and all. Music written by women seems sounds softer than that of men. This all is driven by gender. More men are in rock n roll, heavy metallic music and have made more hits that women in that area if there are any. But in soul and country music there is a fair share of women with great hits.

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  4. Normally when you think of feminine sounds you think of sounds that are quiet, soft, low, and charming. For example like the sound of flutes and violins playing a melody. When you think of masculine sounds you think of loud, rough, banging and crashing sounds. For example when you go to a rock and roll concert. But both genders can play both different types of music. Women can “masculine sounds” and men can play “feminine sounds” for example the artist P!ink who is a hardcore rock and roller but also can be soft and quiet as well. They always thought she was to manly and to tough but deep down she is a lady she can just do both.
    Unfortunately gender affects people’s judgement and behavior in our society. Inequality and men and women getting paid the same, people feeling that female role leads in movies ruin it, and having being told that women can’t do things that men can do. I believe men can do anything women can do, and women can do anything men can do.

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    1. I can agree with you that feminine sounds are softer and low like violins while big bangs like percussions for example can be male. I also like how you said women can make masculine sounds and men can make feminine sounds because that’s true. Do you think gender issues will always be a problem not just in music but in general?

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    2. I believe in your emphasis on how a task or job can be done in a better or worse, vice versa parallel for both sexes. I feel like gender use to have a major affect on music until record label’s started noticing their talent. Woman really didn’t see there glory until the 80’s and began to take the industry by storm. Although I have always been a big fan of M.J, Female artist such as Madonna were just as big as Michael Jackson and proved women can have an impact.

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  5. To me, feminine sounds would be from a woodwind instrument or softer sounding string instruments like a violin and masculine sounds would come from percussion instruments and deeper brass instruments like a tuba. As far as the two pieces of music in the beginning of the discussion, when I closed my eyes and listened to the songs, I assumed that both pieces were actually from a male composer because that’s all we have really talked about.

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    1. Oddly enough,Ive had the opposite situation. In my middle school band class, I was first chair for flute and in my opinion, that was simply because of favoritism. I was one of the two female flutists in the class, the rest were male. I know i wasn’t good enough to be first chair, to the point where i didn’t want it. But my music teacher insisted simply because i was his favorite. Kinda unfair to the others.

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  6. I thought that #1 musical sounds seem feminine and #2 musical sounds seem masculine after listened to music. Because I felt that #1 is soft, sorrow and calm and delicate music of piano, and #2 is dynamic, fast tempo and powerful. When I read description of P.S., I surprised to different result and my gender stereotype.

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    1. I think so, woman is the group of people always has label such as “emotional”,”fragile”, and when people talk about man, they will say man are “strong”, “responsible”. This is stereotypes, if we don’t change our thought, it’s hard to make women equal to men.

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  7. I think the whole idea of sexism in music is ridiculous because both genders are capable of doing the exact same thing. It’s just sad to see that it actually affects music a lot. If I had to differentiate sounds and classify them female or male I would say that major chords are feminine and minor chords are male. I don’t think it’s possible to listen to a piece of classical music and be able to tell what gender made it.

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  8. I love to discuss female musicians because they are much more rare and tend to be much more talented because they have to work themselves to death to be recognized like male musicians. Sexism really affects music and society and it is such an old point of view. Men are intimidated by the strength that woman possess. The story of Abbie Conant is extremely disappointing because of the hurdles she had to jump and the fact that her talent was questioned because she was a woman.

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    1. It will be difficult to combat sexism because you can not change someone’s mindset in one day. We can start by steps by teaching the future youth that everyone is equal. By starting early, those kids will grow and teach others the same and their kids. The cycle will repeat and repeat and get people to respect both sex.

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      1. I agree. It’s nearly impossible to combat sexism, man and woman have the difference in Physically and psychologically. However, one thing we can make equal is the respect each other’s gender. Man have to respect the characteristic women, women in the same way.

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  9. The role of women in the music industry has become an increasingly controversial topic as women within all sectors continue to flourish in this male-saturated business, although there’s still a way to go. Sexual dissonance is seen as embodied in the contrasting characteristics of first and second themes in sonata form (McClary, 2002, p. 124). Masculinity and Femininity can be ambiguous because a male or females perception can me distinguish based on their musicality experience.Women’s speech moves over a wider pitch range, and has greater dynamic flexibility, with more rapid pitch excursion, whereas men’s speech is characterized by less dynamism (Daly and Warren, 2001). Women are commonly believed to be more emotional, more moody, more trusting, sympathetic, tender-hearted, community-spirited, more conservative in their use of language.Men are viewed as more rational, assertive, less trusting. The great majority of composers have been male, and it would not have been possible to find sufficient recorded works by women composers to enable matching pairs of works in the sequences. I found this informative discussion of the Battle of Sexes, compelling because it had been mention, “Overweight men in opera, who sang lead roles, could pretty much expect to be judged on their voice and their acting, with no mention of their size. But a large woman would always be criticized for her size, often before any comment was made about her voice or acting.” ( Deborah Voigt, soprano). This was crucial to read about because of the judgements, and high volume of criticism seen between the gender comparison.Sexism is alive in all different fields– causing many restrictions and difficulties both socially and structurally. In business situations, women compete with men less competent than themselves for jobs– and often lose the position to them. This along with still being paid less for the same or greater jobs. It’s sickening that this gap still exists and to see how prejudices still plays such a large role in the lives of so many.

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    1. Do you think gender inequality will always be an issue ? Or can we say its likely for women to soon dominate these male dominant industries.

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  10. Masculine musical sounds always sound deeper. People mostly associate tenor and bass voices to male. While on the other hand feminine voices sound higher. Thats where you get the soprano and alto voices.

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    1. I definitely agree. I would think that feminine sounds sound more higher pitches than masculinity sounds would. I would definitely think that masculine sounds are a lot deeper. It’s like our voices, females always tend to have higher pitched voices than males do.

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  11. Why is sex used more for female artists and unlike for male artists? Males will be dressed and decent and women will be having less than enough clothing, why is that?

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    1. The music industry likes to sell attractive single women’s image to generate more sells on mass producers albums etc. An example can be Keisha who currently is having problems with those exact people.

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  12. We should admit man and woman are treated differently and is hard to change because the Physically and psychologically man and woman are different, even in music. We all say music is there for everybody, but when we determine the music there are differences between man and woman, and I don’t think the difference is totally bad and unequal. In the past, people may neglect achievement on music for the woman, think woman don’t have the ability involved with music, but nowadays the role of women becomes more and more important, we are fortunate to hear music that made by women. The difference between man and woman’s voice really promote the development of music. Masculine mostly sounded by man, the deep, strong and heroic, but feminine often sounds tender, clear and sharp. Those difference make music various when those two sounds come together, chorus makes the music more exciting. We are lucky to have the difference between man and woman in sound, so we can have different sound in different ways

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  13. I think it is unfortunate that people have any type of stereotypes, especially when it’s comes to sexism. I don’t think it matters if you’re a man or a female. Everyone should be given the chance to be looked at equally no matter what the circumstance. I’ve heard so many artist complain about how men run the industry, while woman have to work extremely hard to even be looked at. I think stereotypes are taught from childhood. If parents show their kids all people are equal, no matter where they’re from, who they are, them maybe stereotypes might disappear. I remember listening to Madonna voicing how unfair the music industry is.
    Here’s that video.

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    1. Do you think those stereotypes of woman in the music area will change in the future since there are more and more woman become Musician?

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    1. I think it’s more about the perception of both genders in the music industry being uneven that is the problem, less because of the ratio. The female perception in music has a big part to why many women don’t pursue music more seriously.

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  14. In my mind, the “feminine” music will have a soft melody or high pitch. Because when I think about female, the first impression is tender, soft, caring. And most female have a higher-pitch voice than male, such as the first piece of music I heard in our reading. The first piece of music is very soft and quiet, it sounds like a tender woman is talking to the audience or dancing alone. And the “masculine” music could have a heavy melody, strong beat and low pitch. For me, it is like the way I think about a man, he might has a deep voice and full of energy, In the second piece of music we heard, even though it is also played by piano, but the main key is lower and the tempo is faster than the first one. We can easily recognize the strong beat from it. The second piece is more like a man full of ambition and start to do something great, but then he failed, he is a little bit sad, however, the failure can’t beat him so he picks up his ambition and start over.

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    1. Based on immediate thought I agree with this. Do you think about why our perception of gender is like this?

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    1. I don’t think stereotype will be ignorance. there are three mainly ways we create stereotype, 1. from parents (our first and most influential teachers)2. peers 3. media
      and also, stereotype is a natural function of human mind. it helps us understand and predict the social world.
      but I am not say stereotype is good and we shouldn’t stereotype people. everyone is different and have their own characteristic. if we want to know a person, we should spend time to get along with them rather than use the group information to judge individuals.

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  15. i feel like R&B is a little more feminish than masculine , since there is a lot of singing involved and persoonally i think that most female singers could sing better than guys.

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  16. When it comes to gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual then what is it? Is it feminine, or masculine? In my opinion, music doesn’t have a gender.

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  17. In my opinion, music doesn’t have gender. Both women and men can write a piece of music that is masculine or feminine. Some of the “feminine” music that I like to listen to have been written by men, one of them is “All That Remains” by Josh Kramer, also there is pieces of music that seem masculine and have been written by women. To me those pieces of music are unisex. Although there will be people that will disagree with that. People will judge musicians when it comes to what type of music they are playing, writing or singing like if a woman is singing, writing, or playing rock and roll or metal, or if a man is singing a song that is too “girly” for him. What exactly puts a gender in music? We do, but is it really even there? Music can come from anyone, with any type or form.

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  18. In the first and Second piece of music i believe they were both females because of the tone. In the world females get higher criticism then men do. Society believes that females only go far if they have a nice body or how they actually can sing in the music industry that is. Although both pieces of music can be a guy or just one of the pieces can be a guy. Guy’s also have a higher pitch then most females do. Does anyone else agree that females get criticism for the way they look or if they are talented in singing?

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  19. In my opinion, no matter the musical genre women are allows subjected to failure because men don’t like to see women dominate and it’s sad honestly. Women have so much potential to do great things but yet even in modern society women are oppressed.

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  20. Its sad that in the music industry, females are looked down and treated unfairly. In my opinion, there should be regulations and punishments for those who discriminate people because of their sex. Females are not the only ones, but guys like my friend was not seen worthy of a reward to lead an orchestra because he did not act like a guy. It’s a sad reality but he overcame the problem and went somewhere where he was appreciated for his talents and not criticize for his sex

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    1. Its sad that women are always put bellow, not even only in music. It goes to even professional athletes. Women who play sports are paid much lower then men are. We can say we have grow as a society and we all support equality but when we look at the actuality much hasn’t changed.

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  21. When i was comparing the first and second piece, I honestly didn’t know who wrote which because female or male could’ve written either one. But i do see why most people would say the women had written the first one and the male had written the second one. Since the first piece was slow and calm, people would assume it’s feminine. And since the second piece is a lot more fast and outgoing, it is assumed to be made by men. It’s kinda sad when people judge who wrote pieces of music just by the way they sound.

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    1. Discrimination is a hard topic to discuss about. I feel it’s your area and where you as a person is brought about. I am Hispanic who was born in East New York, and have nothing but black and Hispanic friends. When someone for example in North Carolina is brought to hate others for their skin just because it runs in the family or something.

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  22. This sounds pretty accurate about how the world works but its most like due to that fact that old white men are always at that top and only give each other validation and rule out everyone else and because they continue going in that circle of elitist they find themselves in such a minimalist world as where If they listen to everyone it would be more verity and interesting. If anyone knows an artist minority or female or both that really needs more recognition I would like to know?

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  23. I have a friend, his dream is to be a nurse, but other people feel like this is a job for woman not for man and some even give him nickname like Angela… which makes him feel really terrible. he ask me; “is there anything wrong I choose a career I want to do? why people are so mean? why man cannot do this job? I encourage him ignore those voices and focus on yourself. however, unfortunately, he changed his major to business.
    since then I realize the stereotype can really influence people’s behavior and opinion, we can not ignore its power, but what we should care more is just be yourself and think about what’s the reason makes you live in this world.

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  24. Musical sounds that sound feminine to me are pieces that are slower and softer as opposed to something fast paced where you can tell the person making the music is using more force in their movements. So yes I was a little surprised to find out they were actually the opposite. For example in the musical pieces above, piece 1 sounds more feminine compared to piece 2. I personally have not seen musicians or artists in other fields portrayed differently because of their gender. But I have seen gender affect how people behave in other fields. For some reason certain people are stuck in this mindset that certain genders have certain roles and if someone goes against it, its wrong.

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    1. Media, especially social media. Because a lot of standards are now created via social media. If a bunch of famous people say that they feel something is wrong, then a lot of their followers will share the same beliefs. Same with stereotypes. I think if a celebrity posted a meme that was stereotypical or sexist a lot of people would laugh, repost it, and even agree with it just because of the influence social media has on us these days.

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  25. To get get one thing clear music is for everyone, no matter the gender. I have seen women be portrayed differently because of their gender through Hip-Hop. To many men in the Hip-Hop industry women are portrayed as objects. Men just brag about how much money and girls they get and most women won’t have the fan base like many men do. However, women are respected in Hip Hop by their lyrics and the way they handle themselves. I can be wrong but it’s just my personal opinion. Women can pursue anything, it’s just that people need to respect your music not fantasize your bodies.

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  26. To me, feminine music are sounds are very delicate and soft. I really think of the flute as a feminine instrument. As for masculine sounds, more rugged and rough sounds. That’s just my opinion, but at the end of the day music has no gender. Women and men can choose to make whatever sounds they like and play the instruments of their choice.

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  27. As culture changes, certain things like gender roles change. However, I don’t think that because classical music is associated with stongy tradition, it shouldn’t appeal to a diverse audience. Its part of history which is unfortunately offensive to some but I’m nit for the idea that because it was a male dominated society, people today shouldn’t enjoy the music. Embracing history is all we can do, we cannot change it but learn from it.

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  28. “Assumptions about what people of a particular gender can or cannot do, or should or should not do, create the social structures in which we live.” As someone who plays in a female fronted band, sometime I worry my singer may not be taken seriously. Even though right now is the best time for women in music, sexism in music is ongoing and not ideal. In the 90’s we had the Riot Grrrl movement. A conglomeration of feminist punk bands and fans coming together, male and female, to fight sexism all over the country. When I play in this specific band, we go out of our way to write songs that are out of my singer’s comfort zone because I don’t want her gender to be a restriction in her music.

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  29. Do gender stereotypes exist solely because of the ideas we were taught growing up? If so, how come it still exists when equality has been emphasized in our schools?

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    1. Its most likely because in reality there is no equality between genders. Yes there should be equal opportunity, privileges, respect and so on. But to say that both genders should be equal is really just dumb for a lack of a better word. Should men be able to to give birth, should women have penises. Schools teach us that men and women are equal but they never stress the boundaries of that equality since biologically they really are different, so i don’t think stereotypes will ever go away because to be me or you, men or women we all have to be different.

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  30. I believe that music is very unisex but one genre i think is the most controversial right now is rap. it started out as a more masculine but as the years go on females are popping out saying “hey im here too”. the funny thing is there are definitely some females that are way better than males.

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  31. In the past, musical sounds that have sounded feminine are soft sounds that are soothing. Things that create calmer vibes. Sounds that I found to be masculine are really strong and bright sounds. Things that really open your eyes and wake you up/keep you focused. Now I don’t believe any type of sound, song, project, genre, or artist should be grouped because of how diverse things are and can be in the world. It’s not just male and female, there’s religions, cultures, and more to cater music to.

    Does anyone think that there are artist that make all of their music targeted to the opposite gender?

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  32. In my opinion, certain types of music should not be attached to a certain sex by any means. Women have always been a large part of the music community, and should be seen as equally capable to men in this field and any other. Hopefully the music industry will continue to evolve and gender differences will not be as significant, but men and women will only really be seen as equal when they are treated equally in all other aspects of life as well.

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    1. Also, I believe the second piece of music was the more “feminine’ piece, simply because of the higher pitched sounds and faster tempo. The ideals we learned growing up have formed this subconscious stereotype, and hopefully the next generation will see complete equality between gender, color, etc.

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  33. I witness this issue between genders everyday in my household. My mom always seem the just favor my brother more. im not sure if its just me but im pretty convinced this happens in other families as well. ive always heard the saying “daddys girl” or “mommas boy” but never the other way around.

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    1. I hate that, I’m the only girl out of 5 boy first cousins and they treat me either one of two I’m fragile or I’m too boyish after growing up surrounded by boys. They treat them like that can do anything and i have to be protected.

      Have you ever pointed it out to her? If so what did your mom say ?

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  34. Like the question the Professor has asked before “what is the most important thing that determines what music means to you?” A persons point of view to me is what gives a music its gender. If someone has only heard music from a man then that person will always consider it something only men can do, but in reality even a women can sing like a man (masculine). To me such a thing as gender should never be applied to art because a women could look like man and a man could look like a women.

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    1. from the multiple comments that i have read I could see that how we listen to music is already biased. I can see that most people would consider a low soft voice or a high pitch sound to be a women, while a low grumble and more deep and pronounced voice to be a man. I wondered isn’t it sexist to think like this? Why cant a man be considered high pitched and a women low pitched with a deeper voice?

      After learning about castrati and their capable performances I have noticed my own simple minded view

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  35. i cant really tell if a piece sounds feminine honesly they can go both ways.between the two pieces one was very calm and sounded much like the song played in twilight. the second one was much faster and upbeat. music all depends on how the listener listens

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  36. If I could sit here and talk about the amount of times I’ve seen gender affect behavior, judgment and opinion it would probably be never ending. While I do think things have gotten better today in society, it’s still not where it should be at. I see it everyday at work. I’m a host at one job, and why was I hired? Simply because I have a “pretty face”. At my other job, customers are constantly asking why there are no girls. My bosses idea? Hire more girls to work the counter. I often times see that, at least in a work environment, that people don’t think females are as capable. For example, at one of my jobs my bosses don’t allow females to be baristas, simply because they don’t think they’re capable of handling all the work. They actually don’t let males waiter either, why? Because females attract more attention. Luckily I don’t see the gender differences in school as much, but I can go on and on about how much it affects people’s behaviors in work environments and businesses.

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    1. I couldnt agree with you more, i worked in food service in the past & a man said to his friend after i had cleaned the table “ this is where women belong, in the kitchen.. and when they’re finished, in the bedroom” i was so disgusted! Sexism is horrible thing. Hopefully as human beings we can all get it together

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      1. I am so thankful to work in a place with all female heads. My CEO is a black female and everyday I see men come in and try to talk down to her as if she isn’t the head of a major corporation it’s so disgusting how men can see hard working women and try so hard to bring them down because they feel inferior

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  37. I personally dont believe you can label a piece of music as masculine or feminine with the intent to say, a man will relate more to this & a woman would relate more to that. We live in a day & age where men are embracing their femine sides & women are exploring masculinity, it can all depend on how the composer is feeling at the time of writing the composition. There may be a day when the composer is feeling vulnerable & worried in which the piece may sound a little more feminine .. as opposed to another day when the composer may be angry & write something more loud & powerful which may sound more masculine. As for sexism, as bad as it is.. it has become one of the harsh inescapeable realities we are stuck dealing with. I believe that We should all be giving equal chance, equal pay, and equal opportunity.. regardless of our sexes. Women work extremely hard & have had such a positive impact on this world from the beginning, & it isnt fair to discredit them simply because they have different reproductive parts.

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  38. How would you cope with being financially abused or treating differently by producers, booking agents etc who are taking advantage of you simply because of your sex?

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  39. Finding out the second piece was composed by a female was surprising. It sounded similar to the many pieces we listened to in class. There was alot of texture so I assumed it was a male composed piece and the first piece which was more mellow was by a female. I feel like in today’s music , men and women are portrayed differently. We can start that women in music have to be sexualized in order to sell and be classified successful in comparison to men. An example would be new artist when then release are usually reserved and in order to expand their brand they are pushed to be sexy. Most pop artist and even female rap artist have to sell them selves when in comparison to men its truly their music, lyrics or beats that people are judging.

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  40. Throughout history everything has been effected by sexism so it’s weird that I haven’t thought about it having an effect on the music industry and music history. To see how widespread it is and the things I never noticed it has a hand in is incredibly alarming.
    Even today girls don’t have many musical role models they can look up to with many women following the “sex sells” method.

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