History shows that women were not as big of participants in music as men until later in the medieval era. This is due to many obstacles that faced women disabling them from singing, playing any instruments, or even composing music. Although barriers were present, many women and nuns were able to surpass them, and make use of their abilities and skills. Women composers had many barriers to pass in order to be able to use their skills and compose music and chants. One main obstacle blocking their way was the inability to learn and understand the art and sciences due to the lack of schooling. Education was vital for such musicians; especially that acceleration of specialization in western music broke many of the traditional links between women and music. The complexity required notation, sometimes separating the composer from those who performed the score. Development of musical establishments and institutions, to which women were denied access, was a main obstacle in the way of women who desire to pursue their musical interest. Women were required to fulfill their “traditional roles “, and forget the idea of pursuing music. As illustrated in a dialogue between Christine de Pisan and Reason: [Christine]”My lady, since they [women] have minds skilled in conceptualizing and learning, just like men, why don’t women learn more?” She [Reason] replied, “Because, my daughter, the public does not require them to get involved in the affairs which men are commissioned to execute. It is enough for women to perform the usual duties to which the are ordained.” (Marshall, 141) These “usual duties” were meant to be those of keeping a house and mothering children; they did not include developing specialized musical skills. It is easy to explain the scarcity of musical works by women as a result of the educational and social obstacles confronting female musicians. However, few clearly managed to overcome these obstacles and their …
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