The Impact of Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre on Gender Roles in Music

Ryan Pilcher

Abstract


Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre was a French composer whose career spanned the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Marcia Citron has
argued that female composers have notoriously been excluded from the canon of musicology for various reasons. Among these reasons is the difficulty impressed
upon women of the time to achieve recognition as professional musicians. In examining the societal obstacles women faced throughout history, Citron lists
four benchmarks to musical professionalism: education, publication and repeated performance, critical reception, and to a lesser extent, composition within larger
genres of music. When one considers these criteria for musical professionalism in the context of Elisabeth Jacquet’s career, which was filled with accomplishments, it
becomes clear that she was one of the earliest professional female musicians, and warrants inclusion in the musical canon. This paper examines different aspects of
Jacquet’s career, drawing attention to how it contrasts from the careers of other female composers, particularly those who lived in later time periods, to demonstrate
how she impacted musical gender roles and set an example of success for composers in general.

Keywords


French composers, female composers, gender roles

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