Masculinity and Western Musical Practice  book cover
1st Edition

Masculinity and Western Musical Practice

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ISBN 9780754662396
Published July 28, 2009 by Routledge
350 Pages

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Book Description

How have men used art music? How have they listened to and brandished the musical forms of the Western classical tradition and how has music intervened in their identity formations? This collection of essays addresses these questions by examining some of the ways in which men, music and masculinity have been implicated with each other since the Middle Ages. Feminist musicologies have already dealt extensively with music and gender, from the 'phallocentric' tendencies of the Western tradition, to the explicit marginalization of women from that tradition. This book builds on that work by turning feminist critical approaches towards the production, rhetorical engagement and subversion of masculinities in twelve different musical case studies. In other disciplines within the arts and humanities, 'men's studies' is a well-established field. Musicology has only recently begun to address critically music's engagement with masculinity and as a result has sometimes thereby failed to recognize its own discursive misogyny. This book does not seek to cover the field comprehensively but, rather, to explore in detail some of the ways in which musical practices do the cultural work of masculinity. The book is structured into three thematic sections: effeminate and virile musics and masculinities; national masculinities, national musics; and identities, voices, discourses. Within these themes, the book ranges across a number of specific topics: late medieval masculinities; early modern discourses of music, masculinity and medicine; Renaissance Italian masculinities; eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century ideas of creativity, gender and canonicity; masculinity, imperialist and nationalist ideologies in the nineteenth century, and constructions of the masculine voice in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century opera and song. While the case studies are methodologically disparate and located in different historical and geographical locations, they all share a common concern for a critical revaluation of the role of masculinity (in all its varied representations) in art music practices.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Ian Biddle and Kirsten Gibson; Section 1 Effeminate and Virile Musics and Masculinities: Introduction, Ian Biddle and Kirsten Gibson; Music and masculinity in the Middle Ages, Elizabeth Eva Leach; Music, melancholy and masculinity in early modern England, Kirsten Gibson; Of Mars I sing; Monteverdi voicing virility, Richard Wistreich; Haydn and the consequences of presumed effeminacy, Howard Irving; Virile music by Hector Berlioz, Fred Everett Maus. Section 2 National Masculinities, National Musics: Introduction, Ian Biddle and Kirsten Gibson; Gendered reception of Brahms: masculinity, nationalism and musical politics, Marcia J. Citron; Aspiring to manliness: Edward Elgar and the pressures of hegemonic masculinity, Corissa Gould; 'I am blessed with fruit': masculinity, androgyny and creativity in early 20th-century German music, Claire Taylor-Jay; Hellenism, the divine and ideal masculinity in Manuel de Falla's Atlántida, Esther Zaplana. Section 3 Identities, Voices, Discourses: Introduction, Ian Biddle and Kirsten Gibson; Knives and tears: representations of masculinity in late 19th-century Italian opera, Annamaria Cecconi; Caught in the silken throat: modernist investments in the male vocal fetish, Ian Biddle; Hermaphrodism and the masculine body: Tippett's aesthetic views in a gendered context, Iain Stannard; Select bibliography; Index.

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Ian Biddle is Senior Lecturer and Head of Postgraduate Studies in Music at Newcastle University, UK. He is a cultural theorist and musicologist, working on a range of topics in music and sound-related areas. His work ranges from the cultural history of music and masculinity, music in the Holocaust, theorising music's intervention in communities and subjectivities, sound, soundscapes and urban experience, and the politics of noise. He has interests in memory studies, sound studies, Italian workerist and autonomist theory, psychoanalysis and theoretical approaches to 'affective' states. He is co-founder and co-ordinating editor (with Richard Middleton) of the journal Radical Musicology.


'This book is timely, well organized, and well edited, each chapter thoughtful, provocative, and well written. In its entirety, it represents the most thorough and meticulous of cutting-edge musicology with its deft integration of materials and methodologies from the social sciences, literary studies, and art history. Its historical range from the Middle Ages through the mid-twentieth century is particularly useful at a time when many collections of essays concentrate on only a more limited time-frame and many methodologically current works of musical scholarship especially neglect earlier periods. This anthology is destined to become a classic not only in musical masculinity studies, but also gender studies. It will be useful to students and scholars of musicology, music criticism, the history of music theory, and the broadly-construed field of gender studies, and has real textbook potential for courses in all of these.' Professor Linda P. Austern, Northwestern University, USA ’Having a scope from medieval to modern Western art music, the essays reexamine effeminate composers, national masculinities, how men use music, and the various discourses that have been avoided concerning masculine ideas of creativity, participation, and canonicity. [...] This is a resource for music majors and specialists. Summing Up: Highly recommended.’ Choice