Cusick and Her Lesbian Relationship with Music

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In the essay “On a Lesbian Relationship with Music: A Serious Effort Not to Think Straight” by Suzanne G. Cusick. she brings up an interesting subject about the connexion between her being a sapphic and her being a instrumentalist. a musicologist. if there exists any.

I’m particularly interested in the “power system” and the nexus between musicalness and sapphism she mentions in this article. Here. I’ll attempt to analysis them in item and associate them with other issues in music and gender. researching them in a more general image. Cusick redefines the construct of gender in her essay. as the manner of “expressing and/or ordaining relationships of familiarity through physical pleasance shared. accepted. or given. ” Harmonizing to her. this procedure of showing and ordaining can besides be found in our musical activities. where the circulation of physical pleasance can be experienced as good. Therefore. she says that our musicalnesss and our genders are “psychically next-door neighbours. ” ( 70 ) I need to claim that this thought of her amazes me. From my old musical experience. I’m pretty sure that music is a capable extremely confidant for me.

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For case. I normally have reluctance when I’m asked to sing or execute a vocal written by myself. even if I think it is a superb 1. And this won’t go on if the vocal is person else’s. In my sentiment. music. particularly my ain music which I’m personally attached to. is an look of my true ego. and that individuality and personal features contained in it makes it so particular that I won’t be willing to portion it with others. unless it’s person truly near to me. Another fact that I think will back up Cusick’s thought is that different people ever have different sentiments towards the same piece of music. No affair how the composer perceives it. the hearer normally has the inclination to associate it to his/her ain personal experiences. which differ from individual to individual. It is sensible to believe that music is a symbol of someone’s personalities and features. because of the familiarity the music creates.

Therefore. I believe that there exists a connexion between the musicalness and the gender of a certain individual. since both of them are disclosures of his/her true individuality. and we can analyze our ain behaviours on both of them. In other words. these two factors are connected because of the individual who they belong to. and they are contained in the system of his/her positions. Cusick besides explains in her article what does it intend to be a “lesbian” and how to specify gender. which are indispensable inquiries if we want to associate it to music. From her point of position. the kernel of one’s gender and the component of all relationships is the power system. An illustration that can explicate this is what musicologists say about the maleness in Beethoven. In Susan McClary’s sentiment. there exist musical buildings of gender and gender.

She regards the field of music and musicology as male-dominated. since the masculine norm and the differentiation between genders are profoundly rooted in music. such as masculine and feminine meters. beat. gendered major and minor threes. etc. ( 7 ) She besides analyzes Beethoven’s music. which to her contains “pounding” . “thrusting” gestures that represent maleness. ( 75 ) On the contrary. in Sanna Pederson’s article “Beethoven and Masculinity. ” she redefines the construct of maleness and the nexus between it with Beethoven. She states that we can happen an alternate attack. reasoning that we regard Beethoven as symbol of maleness because of the overpowering thought that sing adult female as “as unchanging. ageless kernel. as the antonym of the dynamically striving and accomplishing adult male. ” ( 326 ) Matthew Head besides approaches this from another position by analyzing the heroic in Beethoven’s plants. happening many cross-dressed heroines. ( 132 ) It’s noteworthy that although there is importance put on female characters. adult females normally need to hide their gender and offend the gendered norms in order to function as the prototypes in the aesthetic domain.

This shows that. no affair what sort of connexion there exists between Beethoven and maleness. there does be a power system that accent on the inequality between work forces and adult females. where adult females as less – worth less. power less – adult male. in both our society and in music. Whichever statement we believe. we should acknowledge the extended presence of the power system in our society. and in pattern. it can be found both in music and in many relationships between people. particularly heterosexual 1s. The most important point of position of her in this essay. I think. is that she believes being a tribade is an flight from this power system: As a adult female. as a non-dominating and non-power adult female who loves another adult female in her relationship. the flow of power can be in both waies. as opposed to a heterosexual relationship where a adult male typically plays the dominating and powerful portion.

And Cusick believes that this is the beauty of a sapphic relationship: it’s about “organizing the force field of power. pleasance. and familiarity that refuses the simple binary resistance male and female” . The deficiency of resistance creates a universe that scrambles the usual constituents of “man” and “woman” . and a universe “free of fixed classs. ” ( 73 ) This reminds me of the documental “Paris is Burning” . which stunned me with its thought of jubilations of a powerful look of personalities. without any limitation of boundaries. There. what matters is the personal prides. which are to the full showed in the “drag nights” in New York. Cusick further explains the elements in a sapphic relationship as the “power/pleasure/intimacy” three. ( 71 ) From my apprehension. this is so an appropriate manner to detect a relationship.

As I mentioned earlier. power is an of import factor that circulates within the relationship. What’s more. pleasance and familiarity are objectives that we normally want to accomplish when we are involved person we love. and therefore they are indispensable long pillows of a relationship. As Cusick says. this three can be experienced more freely in sapphic relationships. because without the power fluxing merely in one way. the equality and balance between the two lovers can give them more familiarity and pleasance. both physically and psychically. from their relationship. Hence. in Cusick’s article. being a tribade is non simply a sexual orientation ; it is besides the manner one prefers to act. to form the relationship to the universe in a “power/pleasure/intimacy” three. It’s a manner of declining. breakage. and making. and to get by with the universe in a manner that she prefers. And these behaviours can besides be detected in a person’s musicalness. which is besides built in his/her individuality.

More interestingly. Cusick negotiations about the “lesbian relationship” she has with music. She treats music as a adult female. and a adult female that can be a lover. and besides the darling – as in a sapphic relationship where the power circulates both ways and cross without boundaries. ( 78 ) In the article “Musicality. Essentialism. and the Closet” written by Philip Brett. he besides discusses music be perceived as feminine. Brett says that in history. music has frequently been considered a unsafe substance. “an agent of moral ambiguity ever in dander of confering aberrant position upon its practicians. ” ( 11 ) By depicting music as a adult female that “ravish” our sense or our psyche. people from the medieval and early modern times allow us see how close music and gender can be. This besides makes Cusick’s handling music as a female lover more reasonable.

Another thought of her that involvements me is that she thinks her pick of music can reflects her gender. She says that her love for concealed relationships and the tenseness between the apparent construction. which represents the tenseness between a societal norm and “a really high grade of eccentricity. ” suggests her flight from the power system. Besides. she dis-prefers music hat upset this power equilibrium. ( 77 ) She explains this by stating that her “lesbian self” let her prefer certain sorts of music and reject some other sorts. This makes me believe about in general. how people’s picks of music reflect their gender and individuality. and to what grade. I agree that the picks of music can reflect that person’s personality to some extent. but I besides believe that the music he/she listens can determine that individual into the qualities and personalities that the music wants him/her to hold. The same as Cusick’s relationship with her music. there is a counter-influence here every bit good.

Rentfrow and Gosling found in their research that people’s music penchants are related to a broad array of personality dimensions and self-views. If the links between music penchants and personality do be. we can easy deduce that our picks of music reflect our individuality. which besides links to our gender. Besides. we can ever see the influences of music on people. It has been shown by Frederick H. Martens that music exerts its corporate influence in the class of history. He besides says that as an single influence. music is one of the factors in the life of male monarchs and swayers. which besides “has exerted a more or less direct influence on the fates of states and peoples. ” We can see clearly from his article that music can significantly impact one’s positions and ideas on this universe. therefore it is an of import component in directing people’s personality and features.

Hence. the relationship between a individual and the music he/she listens is a common 1. People’s penchant of music decides the music they choose. and what they choose can reversely alter them every bit good. directing them into the qualities that can be defined through that music. This can besides exemplify Cusick’s point that her relationship with music is about the power moral force that circulates both ways between music and her. and this relationship extremely resembles the 1 between sapphic lovers. Therefore. the nexus between music and gender is obvious. Furthermore. I’m inquiring about how the connexion between individuality and gender plants in other topics and Fieldss of survey. Cusick says in her article that she does non turn to the texts of music because she thinks that they tend to flim-flam us into remaining in a “power-over paradigm that is mightily close to the government of mandatory heterosexualism. ”

Personally. I don’t wholly agree with her on this. In my sentiment. other topics such as literature and art can besides exemplify one’s individuality. therefore they can stand for people’s qualities through the ““power/pleasure/intimacy” three every bit good. and so does texts in music. The ground why Cusick thinks that concentrating on texts can divert us is that her love and professional involvements in music leave her lone looking at music as an confidant lover. But for people from other Fieldss and spheres. their topics can be treated as lovers and beloved every bit good. For illustration. it is sensible to conceive of a poet feels utmost familiarity in his relationship with verse forms. Cusick mentioned by herself in the notes that she can besides happen enormous joy from cooking. and she loves to skin fruits and veggies without a knife. because she believes it will make entirely enjoyable experiences. ( 83 )

I would non state Cusick is besides in love with veggies. but what she says can propose that pleasance and familiarity do non entirely exist between people and music. As Pygmalion can fall in love with the statue he carved. why can’t a songster construct a romantic tie with the texts of music he wrote? In other words. every bit long as we have passion. the relationship between people and his/her topic of survey can be developed in any country. within which we can happen its connexion with gender.

This essay of Cusick is non really long. but the impressions it contains. I believe. are truly valuable beginnings of ideas if we want to research the relationship between music and gender. particularly when we want to detect it from a position about our ain individuality and personal features. Cusick has nicely shown that the boundary between music and sex can be a bleary 1. where both are agencies of negociating power and familiarity through the circulation of pleasance. Here. the most of import is the people that involves both with music and with sex. closely sing them and entirely mixing with them. As Cusick says. what truly affairs is neither music nor sex. but “the transcendent joy of being alive. non dead. and cognizant of the being. ” ( 69 )

Plants Cited:

Brett. Philip. Elizabeth Wood. and Gary Thomas. Thwarting the Pitch: the New Gay and Lesbian Musicology. 2nd erectile dysfunction. New York: Routledge. 2006.

McClary. Susan. Reading Music: Selected Essays. Aldershot. England: Ashgate. 2007.

McClary. Susan. Feminine Endings: Music. Gender. and Sexuality. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1991.

Rentfrow. Peter J. and Samuel D Gosling. “The do re mi?s of mundane life: the construction and personality correlatives of music penchants. ” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84. 6 ( 2003 ) : 1236-1256.

Frederick H. Martens. The Musical Quarterly. Vol. 11. No. 2 ( Apr. . 1925 ) . pp. 196-218

Burnham. Scott G. and Michael P Steinberg. Beethoven and His World. Princeton [ N. J. ] : Princeton University Press. 2000.

Head. Matthew. “Beethoven Heroine: A Female Allegory of Music and Authorship in Egmont. ” 19th-Century Music 30 ( 2006-07 ) . 97-132.

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