In the Cloister: The Development and Acceptance of Church Music by Women

Type of Submission

Podium Presentation

Campus Venue

Dixon Ministry Center, Room 162


Cedarville, OH

Start Date

4-10-2013 3:40 PM

End Date

4-10-2013 4:00 PM



During the medieval and Renaissance periods, there were women that were involved in the art of music and music composition. But these women had to leap over some great obstacles first. Women had to endure segregation, forced inferiority, and subordination to men In society and even In the Church. The Church had condemned women to eternal silence and women had no hope In advancing themselves under the male-dominated society. Women could only dream about using their musical skills and talents in their times. There were a few groups of women that were able to make a name for themselves in the music community, especially in composition. These women composers were usually either nuns, women of nobility, or women in professional musical families. The women in cloistered communities had the biggest impact on church music during these periods and is the group that this presentation will be focused on. Nuns, because of their unique position in society, were able to concentrate on developing their musical skills to write compositions that Influenced Church music during the medieval and Renaissance periods. The life inside the convent was drastically different from the outside world, especially when it came to what women could do. Women in the convents were able to advance themselves greatly through the education they received within their sanctuaries. A good portion of their education was toward musical studies and disciplines. This is how many nuns were able to pick up the discipline of music composition and make a great influence on church music during this time period. Some of the composer nuns that we know of today are Kassia, Hildegard of Bingen, Birgitta of Sweden, Sister Burtken, Gracia Baptista, Vittoria Rapheaela Aleotti, and Donna Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana. Even though society tried to silence women in all aspects of life, the Church gave the environment needed to help some women emerge as composers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Apr 10th, 3:40 PM Apr 10th, 4:00 PM

In the Cloister: The Development and Acceptance of Church Music by Women

Cedarville, OH