Required Texts/Readings:  

Women, Music, and Culture

Critical Thought Paper #2, Units II & III

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Power Lost, Power Regained(?):

Tracing the Roles of Women in Music from the Enlightenment through the 20th Century

Course Objectives Satisfied by this Assignment:

1. Students will identify key female composers from the medieval period to the contemporary moment.

2. Students will describe the methods by which music constructs gender identity.


Part I: Analyzing historical forces of change. Using specific examples from each of the three musical style periods discussed in units II and III (Enlightenment/Classical of the 1700s, Romantic of the 1800s, and various pop and classical styles of the 20th century), describe how the roles of women in music have changed over time.

Part II: Building an argument. In our survey, we saw how the Classical period was the relative high point for women in power. The 19th century then ushered in numerous challenges to these roles, including the rise of private and public spheres due to nationalism, industrialism, and changes in social class. The 20th century was then home to various attempts to regain power resulting in uneven outcomes across classical and popular genres.

Using the evidence provided in part one, respond to the following prompt: Do you think the women of the 20th century ever regained a relative position of power in musical cultures? Why or why not? You may also discuss what challenges you think remain.


A. Length: Minimum of not less than 4 pages (excluding bibliography), double-spaced with one-inch margins; no max.

B. Citations: Footnote citations using Chicago Manual of Style (see style guide on blackboard)

C. Number pages. Include a bibliography on your last page.

D. The essay must include examples taken from both course texts. You are not required to use outside sources.

Points are awarded (not subtracted) for the quality of work in each of the four categories:

Rough DraftComplete and ontime submission25 points
Paper ConsultationAttends required consultation25 points
Writing StyleClear organization at the paragraph level and across the entire essayProper format and use of citationsWriting mechanics (sentence structure, tone, and punctuation)Paper is free from surface errors, typos, and other mistakes150 points
ContentAccuracy of statementsSupports thesis with evidenceLevel of discourse (essay is reflective of college-level analysis)200 points
Total:400 points

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