“Girling” at the Parlor Piano

Ruth A. Solie

in Music in Other Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238459
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930063 | DOI:
“Girling” at the Parlor Piano

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This chapter sheds light on how cultural developments have changed the thinking of bourgeois society of not allowing women into music field. One of the many enormous social changes which resulted from industrialization, everywhere in the Western world though at varying paces in different countries, was the shift from the relatively large “household” of the eighteenth century and earlier to what the Germans called the Kleinfamilie, the nuclear family. Studying family history can help to understand the kind of intimate situation that provided the context for girls' piano playing and for the mythic system of representation that enfolded the piano-girls. Several themes emerge from the girls' accounts allowing the observer to know all the ways in which their practicing and their playing were part of the family dynamic of the household. The instrument and the piece of furniture that embodied it, is associated with domesticity in women's minds.

Keywords: nuclear family; industrialization; Western world; family dynamics; Kleinfamilie

Chapter.  13967 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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