Category Archives: Unit3

Women making music in 19th-century fiction [research]

The readings for today’s class illustrate how novels by authors like Jane Austen can provide evidence about women’s music making in the nineteenth century, particularly in domestic settings. Can you add to the list of examples? Search 19th-century works of fiction. Post your findings in the “Fiction” thread on Blackboard (a link to Google Books will work, or you can type in the excerpt), and include a few words about how your example compares to the ones in the readings.


Virtuosa in 17th- and 18th-century Europe [research]

As opera became one of Europe’s most popular forms of entertainment in the 17th and 18th centuries, many women became singing stars. Using and other scholarly resources, find out about one of them.

Post about this performer in the “Opera singers” thread on Blackboard. Give us links to biographical information and, if possible, a recording of a piece of music she may have sung.


Men’s and women’s musical spheres [critical writing]

As Jennifer Post points out in her article, “Erasing the Boundaries between Public and Private in Women’s Performance Traditions,” historically, cultures have tended to separated music making into “men’s” and “women’s” spheres. Summarize how these two spheres differ–what associations do we have with each? How are they oppositional, and how do they overlap?


2/13 The rise of the virtuosa / Male & female sopranos

The rise of the virtuosa: women on stage – Male & female sopranos

Reading: “Fancying Tenducci” from Helen Berry, The Castrato and His Wife, pp. 67-89.

Optional reading: “The Pig Man Arrives in Monte San Savino,” from Helen Berry, The Castrato and His Wife

Listening: Luzzasco Luzzaschi, O dolcezz’ amarissime d’amore”
Claudio Monteverdi [?], “Pur ti miro” from L’incoronazione di Poppea
Georg Frederich Handel, “Caro, bella,” from Giulio Cesare


2/11 Public vs private in women’s performance traditions

Reading: Jennifer C. Post, “Erasing the Boundaries between Public and Private in Women’s Performance Traditions,” in Cecilia Reclaimed: Feminist Perspectives on Gender and Music, ed. Cook and Tsou, pp. 35–51.

Optional reading: Jennifer C. Post, “Professional Women in Indian Music: The Death of the Courtesan Tradition,” in Women and Music in Cross Cultural Perspective, ed. Koskoff, pp. 97–109.

Viewing: Vidya Shah: “How Women Shaped Indian Classical Music”