Category Archives: Unit4

Women’s music clubs and orchestras [research]

Using the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database, the Library of Congress’s online resources, and other databases that will allow you to search historical documents, research the activities of a particular women’s club or orchestra. You could even head over to the Western Reserve Historical Society’s library and see if you can track down any Cleveland groups.

Post information, images, links, etc. in the “Clubs and Orchestras” thread on Blackboard.


Women in opera plots [participation]

In the chapter of her book we are reading for today, Catherine Clément critiques the plots of operas that end in the heroine’s death. In other sections of her book, she shows other ways that things don’t seem to turn out well for female characters and demonstrates that operas can reinforce gender stereotypes in a number of different ways.

Search through the opera plots in the Metropolitan Opera’s plot summary database (see or a similar site. Pick an opera or two from the nineteenth or early twentieth century. How are the female characters treated? Can you identify any strong female characters? Be prepared to BRIEFLY summarize the plot for the class. You should also try to find an audio or audio-visual example of a key scene for one of the female characters.


Answers to the “woman composer question” [research]

Critics like George Upton who thought that women could not write great music were faced by a number of counterexamples: women who could and did compose well. Find at least three examples of women composers active at any time before Upton wrote his essay in 1880.

In the “Composers” thread on Blackboard, give a brief bio of each composer and include links to reliable sources about her life and work (books, scholarly articles, etc.) and, if possible, recordings of her music.