'New Music' as Patriarchal Category

Redhead, L. 2015. 'New Music' as Patriarchal Category. In: C Haworth and L Colton, eds. Gender, Age and Musical Creativity. London: Routledge, pp. 171-184. [Book Section]

Lauren Redhead New Music as Patriarchal Category.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (176kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

The term ‘material’ is highly conceptualized and important within New Music discourse. In many respects it could be seen as central. However, far from being a neutral term, ‘material’ and thus its position in (linguistic and musical) discourse is gendered as male. This, then, has consequences not just for the inclusion of, but the judgement between, women who wish to enter into the musical discourse and workplace as composers. This leads to the construction of gendered difference between female composers, and a process of immerization of those women who do meet the terms of the discourse. By a comparison of the music, and reception, of composers Rebecca Saunders and Jennifer Walshe I will explain how the musical discourse of material can be described as a practice of social closure which takes place under the auspicious label of musical quality, thereby highlighting that terms such as ‘material’ and ‘composer’ are used as barriers to exclude women from contemporary music practice. I will conclude by explaining how the male discourse of material functions to preserve the ‘New Music’ norm and retain the character of ‘New Music’ as historical and patriarchal category.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



28 May 2015Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Oct 2018 10:14

Last Modified:

28 May 2020 01:26



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)