Ars Femina Collection
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Bibliography by Susan Reigler, Ars Femina locutor.


When ARS FEMINA started over a decade ago, there were very few printed and recorded resources about women composers, especially from the time period we decided to embrace, the 17th and 18th centuries. We know that we have made many friends and fans because you are interested in our work, interested in hearing the music by the composers and finding out about their lives. Who would have imagined that we would discover women composing music from the royal courts of Europe to the islands of the Caribbean?

There has been a frenzy of research on baroque and classical women composers in the last decade, accelerating as we near the end of the century. When we first tried to find information on composers you are know familiar with such as Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Maria von Paradis and Francesca Caccini, about the only good reference book was Women Making Music: The Western Art Tradition (IUS ML82 .W67 1987) edited by Jane Bowers and Judith Tick (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986). The book that helped guide our early library hunts was Aaron I. Cohen's International Encyclopedia of Women Composers, 2nd ed. (IUS ML105 .C7 1987 v.1 & v.2) (Westport: Greenwood, 1987.) It listed composers and their works and libraries where the music was thought to be housed.

As we have been finding out more about historic women composers, so have other scholars who are working independently or with universities around the world. Their publications have been a great help in our efforts. For those of you interested in more information about the composers whose work you hear on our concerts, here is a list of some of the more useful new references.

Baldauf-Berdes, Jane L. Women Musicians of Venice: Musical Foundations, 1525- 1855. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. (IUS ML290.8.V45 B48 1993)
Follows three centuries of the musical training of women at the ospedali of Venice.

Blackmer, Corinne E. and Smith, Patricia Juliana. En Travesti: Women, Gender, Subversion, Opera. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.
Some interesting perspectives on "trouser roles" and other gender bending in opera.

Citron, Marcia J. Gender and the Musical Canon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. (IUS ML3890 .C58 1993)
Focuses on "The Canon" since 1800 and how/why women composers were marginalized.

Clément, Catherine. Opera, or the Undoing of Women. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988.
Ever wonder why virtually all the great opera heroines die at the end of Act III?

Fuller, Sophie. The Pandora Guide to Women Composers. London: Pandora, 1994.
English-speaking composers from the Middle Ages to the present.

Jackson, Barbara Garvey. Say Can You Deny Me: A Guide to Surviving Music by Women from the 16th through the 18th Centuries. Fayettesville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994. (IUS ML128.W7 J3 1994)
Bibliography of composers' works .The Ars Femina Collection is cited frequently.

Jezic, Dianne Peacock. Women Composers: The Lost Tradition Found. 2nd ed. prepared by Elizabeth Wood. New York: The Feminist Press, 1994. (IUS ML390 .J45 1994)
Long essays on people you know such as Jacquet. Useful appendices.

Marshal, Kimberley. Rediscovering the Muses, Women's Musical Traditions. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993. (IUS ML82.R43 1993)
Cultural contexts from the Australian Aborigines to the Italian Renaissance.

McClary, Susan. Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991. (IUS ML82 .M38 1991)
Provocative volume that ranges from Monteverdi to Madonna.

Pendle, Karin. Women and Music: A History. 2nd ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. (IUS ML82 .W6 2001)
Very fine period by period treatment of musical women and their cultural context.

Sadie, Julie Anne & Samuel, Rhain. The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995. (IUS ML105 .N67 1994)
One volume supplement to the famous Grove's Dictionary.

Solie, Ruth A. Musicology and Difference, Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
Collection of 15 essays by different scholars on the gender/music question.

Finally, if you have access to the World Wide Web, you will find a wealth of information at the Women's Early Music Chronology & CDs web site. The address: <>.

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