Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Women of Country Music

Women's History Month: Women in Country Music

From cowgirls to "redneck women," women have been performing country music since its early days. The style was the same but the subjects were often different from men's songs. While men sang about hard-drinking and honky-tonks, women sang laments about the rough choices facing the women who love hard-drinking men.

The Music Collection has music by women from every generation of country music:

Patsy Cline

Tammy Wynette

Loretta Lynn

Dolly Parton

Emmylou Harris

Bonnie Raitt

Carrie Underwood

Reba Macintire

Wynona Judd

Lee Ann Womack

Kathy Mattea

Mary-Chapin Carpenter

Faith Hill

Shania Twain

Trisha Yearwood

Dixie Chicks

Gretchen Wilson

Taylor Swift

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Women's History Month: Researching Women in Music

Researching Women in Music

Because women have been involved to some degree in every period and genre of music, researching women in music should start with a general background in the styles of your subject(s). The most famous, and sometimes infamous, women of the period are usually represented in general music history books. Unfortunately, some period histories leave out out women completely. This is where specialized bibliographies and subject-specific search strategies come in.

The keywords for Library of Congress official subjects vary. For biographical books about a specific woman, use her name and "biography" as general keywords. To see all biographies about women musicians or composers (LC differentiates), use these keywords in a subject search:
women and biography and (musicians or composers). For a specific woman, use her name and "biography" in a keyword search.

Databases on BSU's Articles and Databases Music Subject page include online versions of reference books as well as periodical indexes. The Oxford Music Online includes the New Grove online and the Encyclopedia of Popular Music.

Periodical indexes outside of RILM (the main music index) may include articles about women in music because music is part of the broader culture that would be studied as history or feminist studies. Use MultiSearch to search RILM, CardCat, and other databases simultaneously.


Search CardCat for compact discs of Women and Music

Search CardCat for books on Women in Music

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Have an Irish Sing-Along for St. Paddy's Day!

...or tap your toes to music from the Music Collection! The Music Collection can supply you with CDs and scores to make your celebration more authentic. Use the libraries' World Music Media Finder to search for music by country. You can select recordings, scores (sheet music) or books.

The Irish have a great sense of humor and you can join in the fun with Sing Up! Irish Comic Songs & Satires for Every Occasion. If you're really adventurous, pick up a fiddle and play some Celtic Fiddle Tunes

If toe-tapping and dancing are more to your liking, check out CDs by these artists:
The Chieftains (traditional music)
Clannad (popular music)
Sinéad O'Connor (modern rocker)
Eileen Ivers (fiddler)

Or some fun compilation albums:
Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea
Play On: Celtic Fiddle Festival
Live in Belfast (The Irish Tenors)

The Music Collection also has books on every facet of Irish music:
Music in Ireland: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture

The Making of Irish Traditional Music

Exploring Irish Music and Dance

Tuned Out: Traditional Music and Identity in Northern Ireland

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Women Rock! (Women's History Month)

book cover titled Girls RockRock & Roll was dominated by men in its infancy, and throughout its history, women have been a tiny minority amongst top rockers. Notable exceptions of the 1960s were Grace Slick, lead singer of the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and Cass Elliott of the Mamas & the Papas.

The singer-songwriter movement was only slightly more welcoming, opening the doors for such artists as Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell.

A few women crossed over the divide between R&B and rock and again were notable as exceptions, such as Patti Labelle and Gladys Knight, and Tina Turner.

Later, women carved a niche for themselves in the "alt" or "indie" rock scene, returning to the singer-songwriter or R&B roots for inspiration. The 1990s saw an explosion of unique voices coming from theh "fairer" sex.

The Music Collection has compact discs by these and many other women:

Tracy Chapman

Eva Cassidy


Fiona Apple

Sarah McLachlan

Alanis Morissette


Tori Amos

Scholars in such diverse fields as Music History and Sociology have started to study the role of women in popular music and the unique message women bring to the airwaves. Use the subject Women Rock Musicians
to find more books on this unique facet of women's history in the Music Collection. For stories of individual musicians, you can search through the selections of biographies using the subject Rock Musicians Biography

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.