Author Topic: Violins against women  (Read 4563 times)

Pete at Home

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Violins against women
« on: February 19, 2016, 02:38:26 PM »
Random feminist thoughts.

A violin has the shape of a woman and also is made to approximate a feminine voice range. 

For centuries it was very frowned on for a woman to play a violin.

Hypothesis: the presumably male violin player was seen as controlling the female singers and dancers that accompanied the violin music, and a female violinist was a threat to the phallarchy.

I wonder if that was the subtext to the nimrods on AGT that told Linsey Stirling that she should not dance while playing violin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrutzRWXkKs
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 02:49:44 PM by Pete at Home »

Fenring

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 02:48:37 PM »
Lindsey is a treasure.

Interesting thought, but for centuries it was not considered proper for a woman to play any instrument at all at a serious level. They were often given lessons to keep them busy, but they weren't supposed to try to master an instrument to performance level. I would suggest that in terms of a violin this was more a part of a general subduing of women than anything to do with this particular instrument.

Pete at Home

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2016, 02:56:20 PM »
Women have played harps and flutes in western countries without reproach, IIRC.  But you are probably right about performance level. 

Fenring

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 02:59:34 PM »
Women have played harps and flutes in western countries without reproach, IIRC.  But you are probably right about performance level.

It's not that they couldn't play instruments. In fact for quite a while I think it was rather common for women to play an instrument at an amateur level as a hobby more so than for men. The issue specifically was the attempt to master an instrument, and worse, to attempt to play it in public before an audience.

Pete at Home

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Fenring

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 03:09:29 PM »
Anyone with a subscription?
https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-1581581981/when-women-play-the-relationship-between-musical

The abstract is a bit broad, but in Europe it was the case that men dominated both in playing musical instruments as well as in singing. Opera in particular was focused heavily on the male performers, notably the Castrati, while the women typically got second fiddle both in amount of songs given to them as well as honorifics. However women were nevertheless still important in 17th and 18th century opera and some had reputations for being divas just as the men could be. So I would say it was certainly more normal for a woman to be a singer than to be an instrumentalist, but it's not the case that singing in Europe was in any sense something associated more so with women than with men. Maybe in the household, but not in public performance.

D.W.

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2016, 03:11:45 PM »
+1 for Lindsey proving that assembly line pop culture is worse than worthless.  (by succeeding wildly despite their efforts to shut her down)

I have no comment on the sexuality of classic instruments or the symbolism involved in playing (with) them...

Pete at Home

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2016, 03:13:32 PM »
I was hoping that deeper into the article we'd see if I am right that even given the truth of what you say (which I don't dispute) that some instruments were considered more off limits to women than others.  My sources on the violin are not as credible as the linky

Pete at Home

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2016, 03:17:11 PM »
+1 for Lindsey proving that assembly line pop culture is worse than worthless.  (by succeeding wildly despite their efforts to shut her down)

I have no comment on the sexuality of classic instruments or the symbolism involved in playing (with) them...

+1 for the phrase assembly line pop culture.

For bonus points, access netflix, DARK MIRROR series, episode 3 of season 1.  Doesn't end like you might expect. Classic example of subversion containment.

Warning: while under the guise of sci fi, the show is allegory for the status quo, IMHO.

D.W.

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2016, 03:26:57 PM »
Not sure if I got to ep. 3 or not.  I watched a few of them.  Some strange stuff on that show.  May take a peek again later. 

edit:  NM, as is relevant to this topic, I'm pretty sure I did see the one you are referring to.

Fenring

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2016, 03:33:04 PM »
I was hoping that deeper into the article we'd see if I am right that even given the truth of what you say (which I don't dispute) that some instruments were considered more off limits to women than others.  My sources on the violin are not as credible as the linky

I'm not knowledgeable about harp and flute performance history, so you may be right about that. I have no idea. Right now it seems evident to me that for some reason harp and flute playing is associated with women, since the vast majority of people I've met who study on either are female. The same is probably true of the viola. Why this should be I'm not sure.

Pete at Home

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2016, 03:44:42 PM »
Not sure if I got to ep. 3 or not.  I watched a few of them.  Some strange stuff on that show.  May take a peek again later. 

edit:  NM, as is relevant to this topic, I'm pretty sure I did see the one you are referring to.

Ep 3 was the only one that I saw.  My girlfriend introduced me to it last night.  It's a truly amazing demonstration of what language gurus call "subversion-containment."  I.e.the relationship between the State and the dude with the glass shard in the final 15 seconds of the show resembles the relationship between the Roman Empire and Christianity during the reign of Constantine.  Or the relationship between Chinese "socialism" and capitalism in the 1990s.

Pete at Home

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Re: Violins against women
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2016, 03:48:00 PM »
I was hoping that deeper into the article we'd see if I am right that even given the truth of what you say (which I don't dispute) that some instruments were considered more off limits to women than others.  My sources on the violin are not as credible as the linky

I'm not knowledgeable about harp and flute performance history, so you may be right about that. I have no idea. Right now it seems evident to me that for some reason harp and flute playing is associated with women, since the vast majority of people I've met who study on either are female. The same is probably true of the viola. Why this should be I'm not sure.

My guess is that the harp falls into the loom archetype, and that we are just more comfy with women than men putting phallic objects in their mouthes.  Male predominance of the bagpipes throws a monkey wrench into my theory, but *those* dudes wear skirts ... :)