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5 forgotten Female music composers

Music is the medicine for every other insatiate soul. The blemish of depression rubs off best with the melodic trance, dripping down like honey dew drops  from the nectar filled voice of the nightingales.

Whether it is the melody, opera, rock, jazz or any other form of music; listeners fix their genre according to their moods and switch to the world of musical ecstasy. A clear rhyme and a matching tune to it, creates a music that lingers all day long.

Music shakes up the chords present inside, by the vibrations of a soul stirring music. Emotions brim with intonations of melody. There is a lot to grasp from music. But, there has been a bias from the era of birth of music; and the planet sort of drew a patriarchal arch over the axes of music. It is sad and unfortunate that the composition of music was considered a taboo for centuries; if it was crafted and tuned by a woman.

This stereotype approach waned off pretty soon and eventually failing all the odds, the women of the times, finally marked their mark and made the world feel it’s importance in the realm of music by fuelling their love with dedication and passion. Though, it is factually true, that compared to men, women always remained less in number when it comes to composing music. But if we search the annals of history there were in fact exemplary evidences of ample performances from talented female composers.

Let’s shine again upon the five most talented female composers ever whom the evolutionary lineage of music has deleted from its history!

Lili Boulanger is considered as the first woman among other female composers of her time to become the winner of the most prestigious award Prix De Rome. Boulanger, at a very young age of 20, won such a glamorous award for the composition of cantata Faust et Hélène in her nativity, France. However, unfortunately her health did not shine the way her talent did. She was fragile right from her childhood days, which ultimately lead to the path of an end to this young and talented character. After her death, Nadia, the younger sister followed the same track and marked a noble place like her late elder sister. Nadia even received the second prize in the same competition of Prix De Rome. Touching popularity Nadia never forgot the existence of her elder sister. She in memory of Lili created a fund for the purpose of boosting the careers of young talents in Boston like her elder sister. Lili’s story was thus cut short before she could kiss the pinnacles of success.

A genius piano player of the 17th century, Amy Beach, was invited by the Boston Symphony to perform when she was only 18 years old. In spite of being an outrageous performer, she had to step aside from her stage career on the request of her husband, who was also a high-flying Boston doctor. But passion always makes its way through to reach where it is supposed to. And hence Amy also found out a better solution to maintain the golden equilibrium between her dream and her family. She embraced her composing convention to a high level and created in 1896, the Gaelic Symphony, which is actually becomes today known as the very first performance of a symphonic bit by an American female composer/pianist.

Hildegard of Bingen

The most critically appreciated work that gained immense popularity was a morality drama by Hildegard known as ‘Ordo Virtutum’. Her musical territory was so large that it enmassed  the volume of a planet. Among all the present talent holders, she became an icon who’s caliber could only be confined to infinity. Hildegard’s talent was actually many faceted, she descended a stream of ever flowing inspiration. She was an abbess, a visionary, a leader, poet, a dramatist, a herbalist and a composer. In the field of music, she had created awesome contents among which 80 pieces were considered as the best of all  bests from the starting of time. She proved her élan in every domain she ever ventured into. Her, Symphony of Harmony of Heavenly Revelations was a compact of the collection that carried the liturgical forms of antiphons, sequences, responsorial and hymns. Boldness was her stamp of contemplating music. Her signature style soon turned out to be the creation of entwined cords of delighted melodies with her use of theatrical flowing lines that jump into wide gaps of fourths and fifths.

Francesca Caccini, another forgotten female composer of (16th century), who’s composition was sadly often misplaced with that of her father Giulio, who was also a renowned figure of that time. Her compositions were so enriched with the emotions and feelings of the Italian mass that it flourished throughout and could be even found in Italian Baroque. She was called by a different name ‘La Cecchina’. Her  musical creations  captivated many with her magic. She was also a teacher, a poet, a Latinist, and a singer. Her ‘comedy-ballet’ had elevated her femdom to the level of the first Italian woman who has an opera successfully staged in her own might. She received her training in music from the Medici Court where she was born. Her father used to work there too and the duo soon turned out to be popular neighbors, considering the fact that they had been dedicatedly following the path to better music with every passing day. Her sweet voice, flattered the Henry IV of France when she sang in his wedding to Maria de’ Medici, and King Henry requested her to stay there.But she retraced her way back to Florence where she got the first position at the court for her carnival entertainment La Stiava. She contributed to the court with sweetest tunes ever and to liturgical settings. Almost 32 songs were composed by La Cecchina but that is not all, in stage works alone she completed almost 16 works of dramas by Michelangelo Buonarroti. She reached the pinnacle of success, within a very short span of her beginning days.

Among all the above-mentioned names of the female composers, this lady occupies the most esteemed position as a musician. Ruth Crawford Seeger, composer of 20th century, had a very modern style of weaving the pieces of music like no other, she produced outrageous scores which were impeccably unique and  unorthodox which were stand alone success altogether. She was a queen of originality and had been always revered so by her fans, when it comes to the composition of music. She became the first women to win the Guggenheim Fellowship,  which she used to travel Europe. Her most well known and notable work ‘String Quartet’ was hatched in Germany along with the Three Chants’. Both the works were equally original and strong in their respective stints. Her better half was also a figure of high esteem, Charles Seeger. She after her marriage she thought of diverting her musical journey to that of meticulous work of gathering Folksongs of America for the purpose of Library of Congress. This was a project which she took because of her aim to immerse herself with full devotion for the sake of music. Ultimately this led to a seminal volume of the American Folk Songs for children in 1948. But when she returned to mainstream music composing, her talent was defeated by the onslaught of the fatal cancer, and her career was cut short as she passed away in 1952.

Social mechanisms throughout the world for ages stereotyped and stigmatized practices as tradition thus falsifying the notion of culture. The aura of music was also infected by the same social virus of confining the limits of women from becoming a cornerstone. But, it is also a fact today that many talented and strong female figures unchained themselves and freed from the clutches of hypocrisy, and it would be a good exercise to remember them occasionally.









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