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Metzelaar, Helen

Women and ‘Kraakgeluiden’: The participation of women improvisers in the Dutch electronic music scene


Organised Sound: Vol. 9 no. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 199-206.

The field of electroacoustic improvisation in the Netherlands is largely male dominated. Flutist, improviser and composer Anne La Berge signalled this and other problems related to gender in ‘Kraakgeluiden’, a Dutch venue for improvisation in electroacoustic music. Four possible factors contributing to gender discrimination are proposed: the stereotypical gendered concept of an improviser, differences in communicative styles, the dominance of male networks, and music technology itself. This is followed by a consideration of gendered differences in music improvisation. It is posited that male improvisers often seek to establish a hierarchy among themselves, while women performers tend to project themselves less to the forefront. Women improvisers may traditionally have a different sense of autonomy, in adherence to gender norms. While music education might offer a means to change behaviour patterns, it appears that these gender norms are internalised at a surprisingly young age. While concentrating on electroacoustic improvisation, this essay also includes relevant experiences of other improvisers. Gender discrimination in electroacoustic music improvisation is a complex issue deserving more research.

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Thursday 14 July 2005, by Leigh Landy