[Smt-talk] Gender Terminology in Music Theory

David Feurzeig mozojo at gmail.com
Wed Apr 30 10:19:30 PDT 2014

I never wittingly use gendered language in theory except to alert students to outmoded usage they may yet encounter. This feels no different than telling them some people label the cadential 6/4 chord with roman numeral I even if "we" choose to label it V; pretending it's not so is not helpful. Eventually it will no longer be necessary.

That said, I never imagined that a "masculine cadence" was supposed to be stronger than a "feminine". As a kid back in the dark ages of mostly unquestioned sexist language, I thought "feminine" here implied "less direct/explicit/blatant". I get that it's no better in principle to invoke less deprecatory but equally broad, dubious archetypes! Still, I never thought it meant "weak".

David Feurzeig
University of Vermont

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