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#931546 - 09/04/07 10:56 PM Why don't we have very famous women composers?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Teachers, Decided to change this post a bit. You have been so kind to me. Thank you. I did have unanswered questions, music related at 68 years old. You answered all but one long standing question in my mind. Please why do we not have very famous women composers of great symphonic quality music? In todays world at least in the hall of greats with Marvin Hamlisch ? I did read he was the youngest to enter Juilliard at 8 years old. Thank you in advance for your reply. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#931547 - 09/04/07 10:59 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
pianoexcellence Offline
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Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Mendelssohn comes to mind, and A certain mrs. Beach, but maybe you are talking about composers from the classical era...
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#931548 - 09/04/07 11:01 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, we do, at least in piano. Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann each have a large opus, but society didn't give them much of an audience. In the USA, Amy Beech wrote a large number of really delightful pieces, especially for students. There are numerous others, which would fill books (and they do!). If teachers fail to asign them, well, that's their students misfortune.
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#931549 - 09/04/07 11:02 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
193866 Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
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Loc: Manassas,Va
Any period really? Thank you. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#931550 - 09/04/07 11:08 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
193866 Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Thank you John Brook...This is a thought... Through the years piano teachers did not assign students their compositions. Maybe these women composers were not taken seriously though the years, then or now? Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#931551 - 09/04/07 11:56 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
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Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Sandra, you raise an interesting point. How and why do teachers assign various pieces? This is off topic, but would certainly be worth study. For myself, it is a process of finding pieces which meet several criteria: helping students advance technique, providing students something beautiful and interesting to perform, providing students musical insight to different periods, styles, etc. The pieces we have by FM and CS begin at upper intermediate, so most students cannot handle them until many years of study. Twentieth century composers made a point of writing for more levels, which make it easier to incorporate them into lessons.
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#931552 - 09/05/07 12:20 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Morodiene Offline
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I know that in Baroque, Classical, and even into the Romantic periods, there was as certain limitation on women being able to do certain occupations. Women were encouraged to learn an isntrument, but compose? Heavens no! There are women composers, however, just a bit harder to find because they rarely got published. There are much, much more women composers these days, thankfully, but it can be very difficult for a young budding female composer who sees only men composers from past who were considered "great", and not be affected by that.
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#931553 - 09/05/07 12:52 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Beethoven Fan Offline
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Registered: 03/06/07
Posts: 191
I do agree that while women were certianly encouraged to learn to play an instrument, a career in music and composition was frowned upon which is one of the key reasons Fanny Mendelssohn has to 'leech' off her brother's success to be remembered. It's a sad fact but that's life. Today, it would be the duty of concert pianist and such to promote the music of the female composers. And on slightly off topic, other composers that time has forgotten. Personally, you could learn 50 pieces of music and lead a succesful career as a musician. My point is, many people perform what is standard repertoire and nothing more. But back on topic, women have fallen into the category of the forgotten and were not encouraged until the 20th century when rights and such revolutionized.

A few women composers I can think of that have some acclaim are: Cecile Chaminade, clara Schumann, Jeanne Demessieux, Marianne Von Martinez, Marian Agata Szymanowska.

This is just a small amount of which I can name. On my computer, I have a list of over 100 composers I would like to at least look through at some point in my life, many of which are considered obscure.

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#931554 - 09/05/07 01:25 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8888
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Beethoven Fan:
A few women composers I can think of that have some acclaim are: Cecile Chaminade, clara Schumann, Jeanne Demessieux, Marianne Von Martinez, Marian Agata Szymanowska.
With the exception of Demessieux (she was a genius), "acclaim" is about the extent of it. If Chaminade and Clara Schumann had been males, their music would be long forgotten, as is the case with those myriad male counterparts (think Kalkbrenner) composing at the same time.

Chaminade's Conzertstuke for piano and orchestra begins as a total ripoff from Wagner's Flying Dutchman, and Clara's music only reiterates the usual common compositional procedures from the time. Nothing original there.

No wonder the darling Clara hated Liszt. She couldn't understand his blazing genius -nor match him as a pianist. And she knew[/b] that.
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#931555 - 09/05/07 01:30 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
193866 Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Wanting to know if the brain of a woman is as developed in this area as a man's? Do we have the ability to complete an advanced composition equal to that of Beethoven? Symphony quality? Also, what if we brought out the women composers compositions now that were written long ago, would there be hidden works of genius among them? Thank you in advance for your post. Sandy B
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#931556 - 09/05/07 01:32 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Well, I disagree about Clara. I have not played any of her piano pieces, but I have accompanied some of her art songs, and they are truly lovely, on par with her husband's lieder. Consider as well that as a woman, one would not necessarily have been taught composition, let alone get the best comp teacher available. I'm not one to say that any woman who happens to compose must be good simply because she's a woman, I simply disagree with you on your assessment of Clara.
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#931557 - 09/05/07 02:09 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8888
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Dearest Morodiene:

I have a fair amount of Clara's music (both recordings and scores) in my library, and it is always competent without being striking in any way. It's just average. But would that I were a composer on that level! Indeed.

Clara seems to be a real hot button here, so as usual the cards are stacked against me. I will simply reiterate that if Clara had not had the magic of that last name, she would be utterly forgotten.

IMHO of course, so don't be crucifying Jason, okay? On the other hand, a bunch of angry females "having their way with me" could be fabulous grist for the tabloids. Think of it: Extra: Clara Militants Lynch Innocent Man at Piccadilly Circus![/b]
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#931558 - 09/05/07 03:11 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11929
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Jason:
Let's leave your personal fantasies out of this :p \:D
I respect that you have an opinion, even if it's wrong (j/k).

As for Sandy B's comment, I don't know if there have been any studies done on the brain scans of males composers vs females composers to really know if there is a difference. I do know women are different from men (not inferior, just different), but I would find it hard to believe that the sex of a person would determine if they were good at something like composing. The parts of the brain used for composing are also used for other things, and I think there has been extensive enough resarch in those other things to cover this subject.

Being a composer and a woman, myself (although, when I get busy, the composing falls to the wayside), I must admit the only disadvantage I feel is that as a child I never knew women could compose, because I was 1) never encouraged to compose, although I did on my own and 2) all the composers I had ever heard of were men. I put the two together and assumed that I must not be a good composer. How silly, and yet, what child wouldn't think such a thing without some positive reinforcement elsewhere? I think that is the sadest part, is that perhaps there were Mozart and Beethoven counterparts, but we never knew of them because they were squelched before they had a chance to blossom. It's been my personal conviction to encourage improvisation and composition in all my students, since not only are the benefits for doing so great, but the repercussions for not doing so are even greater.
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#931559 - 09/05/07 04:00 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8888
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
I respect that you have an opinion, even if it's wrong.
Hoity-toity! \:D She's alive[/b]! Clara would be proud. Certainly someone has to like her, yet you in no way refute my arguments. I think you are wrong.

Ah well, back to the Pianist Corner wherein the level of discourse doesn't hinge so much on an automatic acceptance because of female gender. I always get in trouble on this forum anyway...

I'm not a piano teacher, and frankly, I got screwed over. I had one of the worst ones on the planet, if not the galaxy. Because of that utter incompetence, I lost interest in being a pianist and switched to the mysteries of Anglican church music at uni.

I'll never forget, nor forgive an individual that killed my youthful enthusiasm because she thought she was so right.

Is it any wonder I'm suspicious of this forum? Now a piano teacher is telling me she knows more about Clara than I do. Been there, done that. \:D
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#931560 - 09/05/07 06:24 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 842
I believe it's insufficient to say that because women have not had many female role models, they have not become composers in great numbers. I'm a woman composer, despite my moniker, Candyman. I see a good male composer as a possible role model without a second thought. I love Bach. I don't care if he was male. I love males, and I learn a lot from them in this world.

Throughout history women have blazed wonderful trails in male-dominated fields. Madame Curie, female welders and policewomen, Indira Ghandi, are some people that come to mind. Women have to take some responsibility today for their lack of notoriety as composers.

For myself, it comes down to creature comforts, and an aversion to risk-taking typical of my gender. Anybody who wants a career in composition will face many lean times. Typically men are better at dealing with poverty than women. They can sleep on a hard floor if needed. Many of them can live on hamburgers for a long time. Most women do not want to live in a hole with dirty sheets. So naturally, they spend more of their time keeping up standards. While they make sure the bugs aren't getting to the dishes, a man is more likely to be working on something connected to his field of study.

I'm trying to be a risk-taker this month. But it goes against my natural desire to preserve my image, and maintain security. So far my risks have paid off, but my nerves are almost all used up.

Men don't mind as much if they make fools of themselves in the beginning of their careers. Women are more likely to seek people's approval passively. I see it in my students and my friends all the time. I counteract it in my students by encouraging my female students to compose too. But a true composer doesn't need this encouragement either. Every day, she is thinking about music and creating.

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#931561 - 09/05/07 07:27 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
The relieving cavalry is at hand fan,

You are right on the money in your gentle critique of Clara Schumann’s music. Robert and Clara offer an ideal comparative of the two sexes under conditions of similar tuition ... both being taught by the same leading professor of music at Leipsig ... Dr. Wieck (father of Clara).

Wieck opposed Robert as a son-in-law ... it took 3 years for the courts to support what proved to be an ideal marriage ... during the courtship, Schumann told his fiancee that " we will lead a life of poetry and blossom, and we will play and compose together like angels, and bring gladness to mankind".

But why is it that the man hits the jackpot and the woman is an also-ran.

IMHO the difference lies purely in the roles ... the man is essentially "the hunter" relying on his individual ingenuity to capture the prey ... while the nurturing woman plays the submissive role in grooming family harmony.

No great work of art was ever designed by a committee ... and the woman’s role to date has largely been that within a committee ... but who knows ... women’s lib might change all that in the New Age ... and a future Clara might just outdo hubby Robert .

But please let me topple off “this mortal coil” to the strains of Maurice Chevalier singing “Thank Heaven For Little Girls”.

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#931562 - 09/05/07 07:54 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Amy Beech wrote a large number of really delightful pieces,
Just about says it all.

 Quote:
both being taught by the same leading professor of music at Leipsig
Not quite. Robert was an adult beginner compared to Clara. The fact the she was a genius pianist and, as hard as he worked, he couldn't match up may have added to his mental instability.
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#931563 - 09/05/07 08:14 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Being able to rattle the ivories isn't indicative of genius klutz,
Anybody who could write the PC in A ... and my own personal gem ... every last note in the playing of the "Kinderscenen" opus 15 ... can't
have gone dotty because of Clara's panache at the keyboard.

But sorry you chaps ... can't sit around here idly chatting ... must get to the cricket at the Oval ... see you later ... let's hope India draw level to make the Saturday final at Lords the
decider.

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#931564 - 09/05/07 08:17 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Clara was one of the greatest pianists of her age - of any age! I think that makes her a genius.
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#931565 - 09/05/07 09:56 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
I've seen this discussion before, but I guess I have to make sure it does not end without mentioning Agathe Backer Grøndahl who was a composer and a close friend of Edvard Grieg - this year it is also 100 years since she died.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agathe_Backer_Gr%C3%B8ndahl

Unfortunately one might say, her best compositions were songs with piano or "romanser" -a style that is not very popular today.

As a student she made a Scherzo for orchestra that shows she had the taste for instrumentation, but she got far to busy with her pianist career and also with home and children to go on with large-scale compositions.

I'd also like to mention that Norwegian piano-education litterature has some sweet pieces by Anna Lindeman (about English grade 2 or 3) and Sandra, I hope that makes some female piano students think that of course there are female composers !

Ragnhild
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#931566 - 09/05/07 05:31 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Always a lifetime student of classical and other styles of piano performance here...Thank you for your continued educational contributions to me. I am reflecting now and will be for some time upon your academic based answers. One more thought and wondering if anyone has input please? My stepfather is a now retired Senior Genetic Research Scientist, Georgetown Unv, his is only 2 years older than am I, he is appx. 70 now. We still discuss genetic predisposition, etc.
Could it be because women have not in general, to date, had the mind set to compose, their hardwiring of this talent has been ignored? What about the offsprings of the famous classical composers who are women? Dormant talent available to them upon command? Women becoming responsible members of our composers society? I so value your input as educators and thank you in advance for your replies... The old story we do not have equal rights, as women, is no longer an excuse? Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#931567 - 09/05/07 05:37 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11929
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
I respect that you have an opinion, even if it's wrong.
Hoity-toity! \:D She's alive[/b]! Clara would be proud. Certainly someone has to like her, yet you in no way refute my arguments. I think you are wrong.

Ah well, back to the Pianist Corner wherein the level of discourse doesn't hinge so much on an automatic acceptance because of female gender. I always get in trouble on this forum anyway...

I'm not a piano teacher, and frankly, I got screwed over. I had one of the worst ones on the planet, if not the galaxy. Because of that utter incompetence, I lost interest in being a pianist and switched to the mysteries of Anglican church music at uni.

I'll never forget, nor forgive an individual that killed my youthful enthusiasm because she thought she was so right.

Is it any wonder I'm suspicious of this forum? Now a piano teacher is telling me she knows more about Clara than I do. Been there, done that. \:D [/b]
Jason:
I keep forgetting that in spite of wriitng smileys and "j/k" (which stands for just kidding), that people really don't get humor on these forums. It was an honest joke, and nothing more. I never once said I knew more about Clara than you did. I simply said that in my opinion, I really enjoyed her art songs. You obviously do not, and so the conversation pretty much ends there, as opinions can't really be debated. No offense was intended, I just have a wierd sense of humor, I guess. I apologize.
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#931568 - 09/05/07 05:41 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Ignor please as I double posted. Sandy B
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#931569 - 09/06/07 05:43 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Candywoman Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 842
Don't forget that Clara probably did most of the household management. Her eldest daughter did a lot of the housework, but Clara had eight children, at a time when men didn't do much in the house. She sent them to boarding schools, all the while dealing with a crazy husband and concertizing. We can't blame her much for anything.

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#931570 - 09/06/07 05:56 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8888
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
I just have a wierd sense of humor, I guess. I apologize.
All the more reason why I would adore meeting you. Over a few drinks we could have a blast!

Cheers,
_________________________
Jason

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#931571 - 09/06/07 07:21 AM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by Candyman:
Don't forget that Clara probably did most of the household management. Her eldest daughter did a lot of the housework, but Clara had eight children, at a time when men didn't do much in the house. She sent them to boarding schools, all the while dealing with a crazy husband and concertizing. We can't blame her much for anything. [/b]
In ages past, what woman has had time to create amidst all that pro-creating? And how many women could afford to avoid joining the marriage merry-go-round?

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#931572 - 09/06/07 01:33 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11929
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
I just have a wierd sense of humor, I guess. I apologize.
All the more reason why I would adore meeting you. Over a few drinks we could have a blast!

Cheers, [/b]
I'll let you know if I ever make the trip across the pond \:\) .
_________________________
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#931573 - 09/06/07 04:56 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
Two reasons.

1. Kids.
2. Female IQ curve - in a typical population they have less idiots, but also less geniuses than males.

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#931574 - 09/07/07 03:33 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
When touring Hyde Park, New York, years ago, a visit to the Rooseveldt mansion, I kept noticing in all the family photos, 5 children, I believe, how sad the mother, Eleanor looked. She was not an attractive woman by contemporary standards, but her sadness was overwhelming to me, also a parent of 5 children.

I read a quote she made once and it stuck with me: "There are two kinds of marriages, his and hers. His is better."

My comments would be that a wife and mother (especially in that era) had a host of family responsibilities that took precedent, and she of course, had political responsibilites, too. I would think that the things she, herself, longed to do, were not even on the daily "to do" page while she was primarily at the disposal of her family.

A lot of music did not get played, nor composed, a lot of books not being written, a lot of dreams by the wayside, because the day only has 24 hours. For many women, it was a struggle to find time and space to be themselves. Fortunately, that is changing because societies expectation of women changed, and more opportunites have presented themselves.

I don't think the "IQ curve" has anything to do with it, by the way. Here's to achieving women!

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#931575 - 09/07/07 04:10 PM Re: Why don't we have very famous women composers?
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
I agree with Betty.

Even in the era of my own mother, beyond being a housewife there were only a couple of acceptable professions for women: school teacher, nurse, and ...? and did I mention that a lady would (have to) quit teaching school as soon she fulfilled her true purpose in life and married?

Most women taking piano lessons in the piano-happy late-1800's were primarily being allowed to do so to have a cultured way to court a future husband in their parent's parlor. A career in music? Pardon? Perhaps offering lessons for a time inconspicuously.

But compose? Maybe a composed salad.

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Rubinstein teaching style
by phantomFive
09/21/14 01:52 AM
Question regarding "technique"
by Francisco Scalco
09/21/14 12:29 AM
How about this Knabe Studio Piano?
by Paul678
09/20/14 11:49 PM
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