Feminist Aesthetics in Music (Hardback)Sally Macarthur (author)
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Is there such a thing as women's music? Do women write and listen to music differently than men do? While recognizing that the differences among women are as distinct as the differences between genders, this bold new study examines gender's influence on music. The author's unique analytical strategy shows, in its application to actual musical compositions, that there is a fluid relationship between the music and the analyst, between the text and the context, and that 20th-century music is inextricably bound to notions of gender that transcend aesthetics.
Much of the work on women's music to date has failed to deal critically with the actual compositions, settling instead for more biographical or sociological approaches. In this respect, this work fills an important void. Using many concrete examples and careful analyses of the work of such undervalued composers as Alma Mahler-Werfel, Anne Boyd, and Moya Henderson, it grounds the abstract firmly, and fascinatingly, in the practical.
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 503 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
?Building on foundations of feminist musicologists such as Susan McClary and Marcia Citron along with other leading feminist and cultural theorists, Macarthur (Univ. of Western Sydney) argues that "women's music operates according to aesthetic criteria that suggest differences from men's music" and demonstrates that "the sex of a composer influences the production and reception of her work." Two chapters set the context for her study with specifics on the self-perpetuating canon drawn from Australian performance and education repertories. The remaining six chapters apply various theoretical models to create gendered musical analyses of compositions by Alma Mahler, Rebecca Clarke, Elisabeth Lutyens, and three Australian composers (Anne Boyd, Elena Kats-Chernin, and Moya Henderson). The book's strength emerges from the useful summaries of key theorists (e.g., Irigaray, Cixous, Kristeva, Butler, Barthes, and Elizabeth Grosz) in very readable language and their effective application in support of Macarthur's analyses. Addressing current issues for musicology (essentialism-social construction, modernism-postmodernism, identity formation, representation, and the body), Macarthur does not avoid controversial topics and recounts multiple points of view while making her own conclusions clear. A discography of works analyzed and short score examples are provided, adding to the usefulness for class assignment. All levels.?-CHOICE
"In Feminist Aesthetics Sally Macarthur explores complex and controversial issues of gender and sexuality in music through examination of recent developments among European, American, and Australian writers on aesthetic issues and, most important, careful analysis of music by six leading composers--Alma Schindler-Mahler, Rebecca Clarke, Elizabeth Lutyens, Anne Boyde, Elna Kats-Chernin, and Moya Henderson. This book, a major work from one of our leading feminist musicologists, is destined to be the focus of future discussions of feminism and the feminine music."-Deborah Hayes Associate Professor of Musicology University of Colorado