World Wide Web Review:
Women and Music on the Web

by Nancy M. Lewis

The scant attention to women's role in the composition and performance of music through the ages is well known. There is now a long-awaited move to recognize both women of the past and those currently writing and performing. The Internet has allowed this movement to expand from print to electronic resources, thus increasing the speed and the audience with which information can be shared.

International Alliance for Women in Music
URL: http://music.acu.edu/www/iawm/
Developed/maintained by: Members of the IAWM Web Team
Last updated: Unknown
Date of review: 12/18/98

The International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) promotes the composition, performance, and recording of women's music, as well as research on and advocacy for women in music. Their website is comprehensive, with the stated objective of furthering education, communication, and research about women in music.

The beginning student will appreciate the list of historical women composers, with links to additional information. Librarians will be interested in the discographies of recent recordings. Composers and researchers can find calls for scores and papers, lists of festivals and concerts, and useful links to organizations, ensembles, publishers, and bibliographies. Connecting to others interested in women's music is made easy through the IAWM listserv and the "Women's Music Chat Room." There are links to some audio files from IAWM members, but these require a variety of plug-ins to activate. It would be better if the required plug-in for each file were listed, along with ways to download the software.

Online since 1996, the site is updated regularly by a well-organized team of volunteers. The site can be navigated from categories on the home page, through a guided tour (web ring), or with an internal search engine. Although there are many print sources that provide some information on women in music, this site illustrates the power of electronic communication to identify and expand the growing interest in the field.

Early Music Women Composers
URL: http://150.252.8.92/www/iawm/pages/
Developed/maintained by: Sara L. Whitworth
Last updated: 9/11/98
Date of review: 12/18/98

Romantix: Women Composers Born 1760-1899
URL: http://150.252.8.92/www/iawm/pages/romantix.html
Developed/maintained by: Sara L. Whitworth
Last updated: 3/98
Date of review: 12/18/98

Sarah L. Whitworth has created two Web sources that provide information on women composers. The first, Early Music Women Composers, provides lists of composers, by time period, born before about 1765. Of these, forty-five percent have annotated discographies, including Hildegaard of Bingen and Barbara Strozzi. These annotations provide information on available recordings and often include brief biographical notes. Special topical sections appear from time to time; at this writing there is one entitled "Celebration of the Feminine Divine in Women's Early Music," which groups together several composers from the main list. Some sound files are provided, mostly in the MIDI format. Information on downloading and using MIDI is included.

Librarians will appreciate the "Starters Kit," which provides recommendations for a beginning recording collection. The "Reference and Publishers" section links to useful, albeit brief, bibliographies, to information about publishers, and to sites on early music instruments. Illustrations of women's art from comparable time periods are also included.

Whitworth additionally created and maintains Romantix: Women Composers Born 1760-1899. This site provides both alphabetical and chronological access to lists of composers, with about a third of these linked to lists of recordings. Some entries also have MIDI files, but none has biographical information.

The greatest contribution of each website is its discography of current recordings. This information is not easily accessible in any other one place, so Whitworth's efforts are greatly appreciated.

Women Composers: A Bibliography of Internet Resources
URL: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7282/women.html
Last updated: 10/8/98
Date of review: 12/18/98

Lesbian/Feminist Music Links
URL: http://pobox.upenn.edu/~amazon/music.html
Last updated: Unknown
Date of review: 12/18/98

There are many sites that provide lists of links to music written and performed by women. Two that are worth highlighting are Women Composers: A Bibliography of Internet Resources and Lesbian/Feminist Music Links.

Tara Guthrie, Acquisitions/Instructional Services Librarian at Carteret Community College, began the Women Composers site while at library school. This list of links includes sites of individual composers, such as Mary Elizabeth Caldwell and Louise Talma, sites of researchers in the field, links to repertoire lists, performing ensembles, publishers, and lists of women composers. This is a useful page, but the updating is a bit sporadic, with ten percent of the links broken at last viewing.

The Lesbian/Feminist Music Links site is part of the Amazon Country/WXPN radio show web page. These links are divided into three sections: "Music Resources," "Artists' Pages," and "Lesbian and Feminist Choirs." The "Music Resources" section is a good jumping-off point,including publishers, organizations, and further lists of links. All the links in this section were valid. The next two sections, "Artists' Pages" and "Lesbian and Feminist Choirs," provide convenient access to sometimes hard-to-locate sites. However, as seems usual with lists of performers' sites, about twenty-five percent of the links were broken. Also, there is no indication of how often the site is updated.

All the above described sites, and many others, can be found on WSSLINKS (http://www.library.yale.edu/wss/), the web page of the Collection Development Committee, Women's Studies Section, Association of College and Research Libraries, under "Music."

[Nancy M. Lewis is a musician and a Reference Librarian at Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine, whose specialties include both Women's Studies and Music. She maintains the ACRL's Women's Studies Section music page: http://vega.ursus.maine.edu/lewisn/wsslinks/wommus.htm. ]

 

 


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