Gender and the Musical Canon

TitleGender and the Musical Canon
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsCitron, Marcia J.
Number of Pages307
PublisherCambridge University Press

Why is music composed by women so marginal to the standard "classical" repertoire? In attempting to answer this fundamental question, this book examines the practices and attitudes that have led to the exclusion of women composers from the received "canon" of performed musical works. Focusing on the tradition since 1800, the author of this volume makes substantial use of feminist and interdisciplinary theory. After introducing the notion of canon and its role in cultural discourse, she explores important elements of canon formation: creativity, professionalism, music as gendered discourse, and reception. A final chapter provides a critique of many of these ideas with respect to the canon of the university music-history curriculum. The author shows how an understanding of canon formation illuminates some of the basic issues that affect the discipline of musicology as a whole. 

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