Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Music Gender Identification Survey

I just took this Music Gender Identification Survey that is run by the International Music Education Research Centre in England (hence the "centre") that I heard about by way of Peter Kaye. I learned a great deal from listening to the excerpts and trying to determine if the performer was male or female (if it were a test I would have failed miserably).

Isn't it amazing that we now live in a time when it is virtually impossible to assign gender classification to a person's sound, touch, or sense of musical line? Of course, while listening to the excerpts I realized that there are typical types of phrases and types of pieces, mostly music written before the 20th century, that one could label "masculine" or "feminine." Also as listeners and as human beings participating in a (mostly) two-gender society, we are unconsciously trained to notice masculine and feminine elements in art, music, clothing design, accessory design, handwriting, interior decoration, plays, movies, and marketing and packaging of products. Still, performing "classical" music at a high level is something that requires much more than the biological or genetic make up of a person. It makes me happy to realize that participating in a survey like this one makes it so blatantly obvious.


Anonymous said...

You say you would have failed if it were a test; did you get the results? I just took it, but at the end wasn't told how I did. Hmm. I'd sure like to know!

I honestly just couldn't tell at all. On a few wind instruments I heard breathing and I believe that may have given things away. Otherwise heck if I could tell.

Elaine Fine said...

I only know I would have failed because I guessed at just about every question. Maybe the people doing the research will publish the "answers" one of these days.

Wei Li said...

hi, im a musician myself. what you do seem interesting. I wana know if you have any other research or survey that i can have a look?