A Discourse on the Nature of Women in Musicology

Vladimir S. Orlov


The article discusses the phenomenon of gender musicology (a trend of the so-called new musicology), viewed
through the lenses of a foreigner, of a representative of a different national school of musicology (namely, Russian).
The article questions the basic fundamental concepts of feminism in musicology – particularly the black-and-white
vision of almost everything, from barlines to musical genres and forms – where we always forced to recognize
masculine and feminine features. The focal point of the essay is the criticism viewpoints of Susan McClary, who is
one of the founders of this discipline. Another case is constituted by the discussion of one of the most well-known
and picturesque examples of feminist critique: Bizet’s opera Carmen, which is the showcase for numerous ideas
of musical feminists – namely, the juxtaposition between the body-oriented outlook of Carmen and spiritual and
bourgeois outlooks, the music- and gender-related mechanism of creating the musical and conceptual ‘desire’ to kill
Carmen, and so on. Additionally, of positions critical gender musicology are discussed – epitomized by Peter van
den Toorn’s critique of musical feminists, and his subsequent counteraction against their position. Finally, the essay
questions the essential role and value of feminism, part of whi ch is formed by gender musicology.

Keywords: masculinity and femininity in music, Gender Musicology, Anglo-American musicologist.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17674/1997-0854.2017.1.099-105


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