The musical traditions of New Orleans are largely patriarchal. As the predominant sonic signifier of New Orleans, the brass band amplifies this gender bias more than any other musical tradition in the city. Brass band song lyrics can at times revolve around the subjugation and objectification of women, which renders the brass band canon tricky to access for female musicians. These symbolic issues become socially reified in the male control of instruments and the barriers to professionalization experienced by female musicians. Indeed, female brass band musicians are in the minority, constituting few more than ten musicians in a city with somewhere in the vicinity of fifty bands, all of which feature about ten musicians. The available literature on brass bands has thus far focused almost exclusively on black men and, mostly due to the relative absence of women in brass bands, neglects to view gender as a category of analysis, reflecting the gender bias of the scene at large. Using black feminist theory, this thesis seeks to introduce gender as a key element to brass band research by studying the only current exception to male dominance in New Orleans’ brass band community, an all-female brass band named the Original Pinettes Brass Band. Their example forces us to reconsider the domain of brass band music not only as one where brass band instruments articulate power, but where gender is a primary element in the construction and consolidation of this power.
|Commitee:||Haugeberg, Karissa, Sharp, Danial B.|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 55/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Black studies, Cultural anthropology, Music, Womens studies, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Brass bands, Ethnomusicology, Feminism, Gender, New orleans, Race|
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