Then of course many of our macho men talk about
Post by Dfirstname.lastname@example.org
approaching the feminine side of their personalities. Is there really
a division like this? Music is neither feminine nor masculine. It's
something else entirely.
Ed is right, it doesn't matter. However...
Apart from Segovia's adolescent comment, this is an interesting topic.
The fact that it would be initiated by a gay man is very provocative,
to my sensibilities, because it might be more fruitfully discussed (no
pun intended) by one who doesn't buy into it.
Do you think your orientation might make you overly sensitive to
traditional gender dichotomies? Are these dichotomies such that you
are unable to relate to them or simply unwilling to relate to them?
In the same vein, could one also say that pitch is not really high or
low? It is a synestheisian metaphor that serves as a useful and
functional convention. So functional that our graphic interpretation
of pitch reflected it on the staff. Likewise the male/female template
serves the interpreter well, provided that he/she understands the
template. One need not live the template to understand its convention.
I do know famous gay guitarists who are wonderful interpreters and who
are able to exploit the male/female musical role when it is needed.
I think one would lose a valuable lexicon of aesthetic understanding
if the masculine/feminine framework were discarded. For example, the
minuet might just float away were it not grounded in the antecedent-
consequent contrast of the male-female introduction.
I have read of analysis where melodies whose accents fall on chord
tones have been characterized as being masculine, non-chord tones
melodies being feminine. That may be a stretch, but that is what we
find in much martial music.
Registers are another aspect that have masculine-feminine meaning by
virtue of the traditional (hormonally based) register of the genders.
Is "heroic" music simply a social construction (I don't recall any
Beethoven's dedication to Madame Bonaparte)? Can a homosexual man (or
a woman for that matter) render a 'masculine' passage as well as a
heterosexual man can render a "feminine" passage?
This brings up the larger question of whether any music, for that
matter, has extra musical meaning? If not, how can we speak of
emotional music? How does music even move us, if we don't have a
constructed bridge between it and us? Is not gender (traditional or
non-traditional) - something that is inherent to every individual and
serves as one of those bridges that connect us, not only to the earth
but to the heavens?
I don't see music as being either masculine or feminine, however, that
paradigm - as are most paradigms that are written in our genes - is a
most useful tool in which to find some meaning in music. I would hate
to discard it simply because it hurt someone's feelings.