Gendering the Semitone, Sexing the Leading Tone: Fourteenth-Century Music Theory and the Directed Progression

Published as Elizabeth Eva Leach, “Gendering the Semitone, Sexing the Leading Tone: Fourteenth-Century Music Theory and the Directed Progression” Music Theory Spectrum 28/1 (2006): 1-21. © 2006 by The Society for Music Theory Inc.

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Full text of article

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Prizes

WINNER OF OUTSTANDING PUBLICATION AWARD, 2007 OF THE SOCIETY FOR MUSIC THEORY

This year’s Outstanding Publication Award recognizes an article that uncovers sedimented meanings of scale design and counterpoint in fourteenth-century music-theoretical treatises.  Through persuasive, original interpretations of these medieval sources, the author documents both the gendering of the semitone and the extension of this gendering into the realm of voice leading.  The author’s intricately wrought argument reveals theoretical associations between musical chromaticism and effeminacy, lasciviousness, and exoticism.  In its perceptive and original use of sources, this article provides the deep history for more recent accounts of musical gendering.

HONOURABLE MENTION FOR THE PAULINE ALDERMAN AWARD OF THE INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR WOMEN IN MUSIC

The award in the article category was won by the companion article to this one: Elizabeth Eva Leach, “‘The Little Pipe Sings Sweetly as the Fowler Deceives the Bird’: Sirens in the Middle Ages,” Music & Letters 87 (2006): 187-211.

RESPONSE

Details of a rebuttal of this article by Sarah Fuller, together with my reply to her criticisms are available here.

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