National Conference on Undergraduate Research
Woman, women, composer, culture, society, music
Music is an art that has been enjoyed since almost the beginning of time. This art has carried many traditions and ideologies with it that are still prevalent today. One such idea that began early on and is still an attitude that must be fought in today’s musical culture, is that women are unable to be quality composers. For as long as music has been composed, men have dominated in writing and performing their own works. The lack of women composers throughout history is a subject that has interested many music historians. There are reasons behind this issue and many hypotheses about why there is such an uneven male to female ratio among composers. The purpose of this paper is to look into those ideas and explicate the different contributing factors to this issue. It concludes that throughout history, there have been significantly fewer female composers than male composers because of the cultural and social bounds that were put on women. The information presented in this paper is taken from various sources, including historical and social examples, other professors and historians who have studied the field of women in music and personal testimonies from well-known women composers. This paper will discuss why women did not pursue composition with more vigor, who and what was responsible for imposing biased ideas about women composers on society, and finally it will take a look at the impact that women have had on the music industry that would never have happened had they not entered the composing scene.
Brummel, Julia K., "The Woman Composer: Culture and Social Ideologies Behind Her Success in Music Composition" (2015). Music and Worship Student Presentations. 5.
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