By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:
- Give examples of women composers of classical music and their compositions across the centuries
- Describe aspects of cultural history that kept women composers from emerging
- Explain why they are finally being discovered
- Describe the diversity of styles and works of various composers
Your online learning will include the following methods:
- Reading academic and non-academic articles
- Listening to music
- Participation in written discussions with other students
- Participation in videoconference seminars
For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.
Week 1: 1179 to the 16th century
We meet some early composers, then leap to the 16th century, where we find music to sample. We continue to the end of the 17th century to consider important composers at the birth of the baroque epoch. We begin to explore the contrasting conditions, limited opportunities and restrictive social conditions that obstructed women composers well into the 20th century.
Week 2: Late 15th century to mid-19th century
Some well-known family names emerge, including Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schumann. We look at the role wealth, family circumstances, the courts and patronage played in the limited opportunities women found for their works. We discover some firsts, including publications and performances in male-dominated music spheres.
Week 3: Mid-19th century to mid-20th century
We look at the beginnings of serious opportunities for study and the opening of important performance venues for women composers. We ask why women composers were often known in their own circles or local musical cultures, but fell into obscurity soon after they died. We will discover outright prejudice in critics’ writings and, on the other hand, early, enthusiastic rediscoveries.
Week 4: 20th century to the present
We consider the modern “double standard of sexual aesthetics” and how the world is beginning to recognize the unfair treatment women composers have suffered. We discuss implications of the realignment of bygone processes and values regarding inclusivity. We revisit issues of “quality” and discuss how it is measured across time.
Books, materials and resources
You will access course resources using SFU's online course management system, Canvas.