Notes on some paradoxes of feminist musicology


In the last two decades of the 20th century, numerous female composers and their works were recovered by investigators in feminist music, providing us with evidence and written information on the existence of these creative artists throughout the history of western music. There is still plenty to do and discover in this field, both regarding investigation and publication of the results.
As well as evaluating how this investigation has influenced present day music, questions have arisen with reference to some aspects of new feminist musicology, particularly in North America. From the most radical opinions related to this tendency, it is considered, either explicitly or implicitly, that the historical recovery or works is a mistaken strategy, and that the idea of the composer herself is to perpetuate the values embodied in a patriarchal and bourgeois society. In the criticism of traditional musicology (and by comparison, of the very art of music), concepts like musical autonomy, music in itself, authorship, etc. are criticised and an alternative musicology is proposed, which instead on concentrating on studying the authors and their work, centres on the social and ideological context, directing it towards a sociological and political context.

Obvious perpetuators of neo-Marxist criticism of culture and at the same time linked in their preferences to the weak post-modern thinking, some or the inaccuracies, contradictions and problematic aspects of these studies, in the author's opinion, in conclusion only maintain ideologically the status quo of musical neo-liberalism; this is now camouflaged as progressive thinking, and therefore means an additional obstacle to claim a place and a value in feminine musical creation.

Keywords: music and feminism, women in music, new musicology.

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