Nineteenth-Century Piano Music Essays On Performance And Analysis

The practice usually starts before the age of ten, and unlike many other hobbies the student receives individual tuition – which provides the teacher the opportunity to focus on the student’s own strengths and challenges.The goal in the beginning is to motivate the child to be creative via music and experiment with the limits of their mind and body in a safe environment.One such aspect is related to gender; it is actually noteworthy that the established repertoire consists virtually solely of works composed by (white) male composers.

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I will address the questions posed above through the interviews I have made with three Finnish female professional pianists concerning their experience about gender in piano performance.

Three aspects of piano performance are especially in focus.

Furthermore, De Nora (2002: 31–32) argues that the circumstances and surroundings of the musical performances became to both reflect and construct (gendered) structures of social life in the nineteenth century.

The notion of unconscious dimensions of social heritage is central to philosopher and feminist theorist Moira Gatens’s work.

Research scrutinizing the intersection between gender and music performances have been done since the early 1990’s (Cusick 1994, 1999; Väätäinen 2003; Tiainen 2012; Moisala 2015; Wahlfors 2013).

However, in this paper I will seek to make a modest contribution to performance studies by exploring it through the experience of the musicians.It seems plausible that this marked effect might be also traced in our body image; the reflection and image of ourselves.Gatens highlights the “otherness” in the bodily experience.Tia De Nora (2002: 31–32) argues that it was the development of the instrument technology that caused the piano repertoire to be divided by gendered aesthetics.Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the first composers taking advantage of the instrument’s new possibilities.In addition, the aim is to acquire the skills required to produce the written music as sound.Along with technical skill development, years of musical education encourages the pianist to seek freedom of expression through music, though within the limits of the performance practice of the musical style in question.Bearing in mind Gatens’s (2003) notion of unconscious dimensions of social heritage, I want to explore in this article how gender is constructed and reflected through piano performance considering – as I will later discuss – that the performance ideals of piano are from the historical perspective deeply gendered.Gatens (2003: 4) argues that the body in fact is not a that there is no neutral body.Consequently Beethoven’s music’s extreme contrasts in dynamics, tempo and mood became progressively difficult for a pianist to perform without breaking the aristocratic corporeality and the existing notions of feminine decorum.(De Nora 2002: 29–32.) Moreover, his works opposed the quiet, unobtrusive performing body that was associated with the pianistic femininity. Subsequently De Nora (2002: 30) states that “’forceful’ compositions and virtuosic flamboyance came to be associated with male musical workers”.


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