Shifting Identities of Feminism to Challenge Classical Music Canon Practices: A Beginners Guide to Guerrilla Gender Musicology

by  Chanda VanderHart and Abigail Gower

Gender studies in musicology, a development closely linked to the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s, have actively worked to challenge the near-invisibility of women within classical music historiography, education and repertoire. Though significant advances have been made, canon practices today—as represented by mainstream repertoire, publication and educational norms—remain largely static. This paper reflects briefly on the origins and state of canon practices in terms of their pervasive and problematic gender bias. It then discusses approaches employed by gender studies in musicology since their establishment in the 1980s and 1990s. It examines case studies involving gender interests with respect to persuasion and change—in terms of both feminist aims (ratification of the equal rights amendment and Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and canon concerns (classical music collections and poetry anthologies), juxtaposing more subtle and more overt approaches, and explores the issue of backlash. Findings from research in behavioral psychology are presented, particularly, studies on persuasion focused on relationships between exposure, liking and resistance in regard to new stimuli. Based on these findings, in combination with evidence from the case studies, an alternative approach for rehabilitating canon practices with regard to gender is proposed. This approach, referred to as Guerrilla Gender Musicology, suggests more subtle, subversive, bottom-up methodologies and may be required to enhance and reframe current efforts in order to effectively reshape embedded canon practices with regard to gender bias in the long term. (registering DOI)

Chanda VanderHart: Viennese Songs of Fashion; Hermann Riedel & Ernestine de Bauduin in Late Nineteenth-Century Vienna

Das Jahrbuch “Lied und populäre Kultur” 65/2020 ist den populären Liedern des langen 19. Jahrhunderts gewidmet, sind diese doch in doppelter Hinsicht Marginalisierungen unterworfen: einerseits dem negativen Werturteil der historischen Musikwissenschaft, zum anderen dem Desinteresse der aktuellen Popmusikforschung. Als Vorschlag zu einer Verständigung sollen diese Lieder als Ausdruck einer die Welt verändernden Epoche zwischen Spätaufklärung und Erstem Weltkrieg betrachtet und in ihren kulturellen Kontexten verortet werden.


Chanda VanderHartSonja Schebeck

This exposition introduces a 2019 collaboration with Australian composer Ross Edwards which resulted in a choreographed performance in City Recital Hall in Sydney of the composer’s Maninyas violin concerto. It combines audio-visual footage, photos, and texts contextualizing the research process, which included contemplation and re-enactment of Edwards’ own musical journey in creating his Sacred and Maninyas styles, a way out of a personal musical crisis. Edwards’ perspectives on the ecstatic and fundamental connections between nature, dance, ritual, and music/sound fed the physical and stage treatment as well as the processual, experimental research of the Freestyle collective as they constructed their own, interdisciplinary performance of the concerto.

Landing page of the Exposition

Chanda VanderHart: “Lied”: Terminology and Usage in the Nineteenth-Century

“In the classical music community, the term “lied” is associated with narrow and highly specific programming practices and general usage largely focused on works from the long 19th century. But during that century, greater variety was common. In the scholarly community since the mid-19th century, the term has long been the source of unease, exemplified today by Danuser’s proposed abandonment of the term in the 2004 Handbuch der musikalischen Gattungen. This article traces various definitions and usages of the term lied over the course of the long 19th century, touching on the aesthetic values, practices and ideologies which have tacitly — and sometimes incongruently — shaped current understanding.”

Musik und Gender im Internet: Ernestine de Bauduin (Lexicon article)

Ernestine de Bauduin war die meistaufgeführte Liedkomponistin der Wiener Konzert- und halb-öffenlichen Salonszene in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Sie war Kirchenkomponistin mit stetiger Präsenz im sakralen Raum Wiens zwischen 1876 und 1903. Darüberhinaus war sie eine medial und gesellschaftlich bekannte Persönlichkeit des Wiener Salon- und Konzertlebens. Es finden sich über eintausend namentliche Erwähnungen in Wiener Zeitschriften der Zeit, sowohl aufgrund der zahlreichen Aufführungen ihrer Kompositionen, als auch ihrer künstlerischen und karitativen Tätigkeiten, sowie auch aufgrund ihres sozialen Engagements.

Ernestine de Bauduin
Titelbild des “Wiener Salonblatts” Jg. 21, Nr. 45 vom 9. November 1890