Women in music

Published 30 Jun 2017

It has been written that Western Music originated in the Western world which includes Western Classical music, Western and Country, American Jazz, Pop music, and Rock and Roll. Western Music was also related to old an English, Scottish, and Irish folk ballad which were originally composed by the people from Western America and Western Canada as well. It is also influenced by Mexican music, particularly in the American Southwest, which added to its development. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia).

Women’s involvement in western music have different roles such as audience, as participant, as a sponsor and as a creator (Cyrus, 2003). According to Touliatos (1996), during the period of early Christianity in Byzantium, Byzantine women are considered inferior to men in intellectual and spiritual aspect. With this, we can assume that women’s involvement in music is very minimal. We have known before that few numbers of women are associated with prostitution so they are forbidden to perform using musical instruments, specially the unmarried women. Also in Byzantine society the result of being a single woman who cannot act freely chooses between marriage and the monastery (Touliatos 1996).

As I read the life of this woman named Fanny Mendelssohn, I realized that she is a good example of a woman who has a unique talent in music but surpassed so many trials before her music became known. Fanny expresses an exceptional ability in music as a child and she loves to write music. However, his father did support her with her desire to write compositions but she is being tolerated at least.

The reason behind this is the notion that women should only stay at home and later will become a housewife. Abraham, her father, was a well-off banker at that time. Fanny has a brother named Felix who is also talented so they became well gifted composers and pianists. However, Fanny’s talent as a composer was quite comparable to those of her brother but her father is having a contrasting attitude towards this calling which he considers inappropriate for a young lady. With this Felix carried on this opposition after their father’s death until Fanny decided to pursue what she wants to do and finally she got married. Felix becomes supportive with her sister about her composition and performance at last but he was also being cautious for family reasons so he published Fanny’s works under her own name and some of her songs are published under his own name as well. In turn Fanny helped Felix by to constructive his own pieces by criticizing it. It was then that her music becomes known through concert performances and by the released of CD’s on labels. Fanny’s repute has been highly developed by a research for female musical creativity, where she is one few exemplars during early 19th century (Pendle, 1991).

In conclusion, women don’t always appear inferior to men when it comes to music. As of this generation, the 21st century, there are top female artist in the field of music, who continually inspires people by their song compositions and the like. Similar to Fanny, and the rest of the women of their times and the present, it is indeed a good experience from the past that women are deprived of getting involved into music, because they only proved that everybody is accepted whether men or women in the music industry. Many women are living proof that we are splendidly proficient in creating an important and long-lasting cultural contribution such as being composers, performers, patrons, poets, and subject of musical expression. Widely know from being criticized in olden days, what is important is the involvement that women made to the world of Musical history.


  • Cyrus, C.J., (2003) Medieval Women and Music.
  • Touliatos, Diane. (1996). Women Composer: Music Through the Ages, vol. I Composers Born Before 1599, eds.Martha Furman Schleifer and Sylvia Glickman. New York: G.K. Hall, pp. 1-24.Pendle, K. (1991), Women in Music: A History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Did it help you?