Monday, March 1, 2010

Women's History Month

book cover for Notable Moments of Women in Music

March is Women's History month, and music has been one of the few fields that welcomed women at the highest levels throughout history. Still, women composers were the exception rather than the rule until recent times. Women were permitted on the stage as singers and pianists, but rarely in other capacities. Similarly, in popular music styles, more women have been performers than songwriters but still in the minority.

Historians have worked hard to discover and uncover the music of women, and fruits of this work are represented in books, CDs, and scores available in the Music Collection. For an overview, check out the score & CD set by James Briscoe, The New Historical Anthology of Music By Women. Use the subject Music by Women Composers to find books, CDs, and scores in the Music Collection.

The Music Collection has CDs, books, and scores (sheet music) by women composers and performers from every era and in every genre.

Female classical composers usually needed special circumstances to have their music heard. Hildegard von Bingen, musician, artist and philosopher of the Middle Ages is an example. Being a nun gave her the opportunity to express herself. Later women composers also relied on special circumstances or support. Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel benefitted from her social position to have her music heard, but published some of her songs under her famous brother's name.

Use the subject keywords Women Musicians to find books, CDs, and scores in the Music Collection, and DVDs in Educational Resources.

Women and Music: A Research and Information Guide, is an excellent bibliography to help you get started on a research project. It is available in the Reference Books area of the Music Collection.

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