Posted by Emelye on April 24, 1998 at 14:48:24:
In response to Interesting, written by Ken on April 24, 1998 at 08:21:12
] ] That's a really good question (and I can't say I actually know the answer!), but I think the harp and the piano were *the* only instruments a true lady would play. My reasoning is, that "orchestral" instruments e.g. violin, trumpet, etc, would be played just by men, as it was just men who played in orchestras (as far as I know). I don't think it would have been respectable for a woman to "exhibit" herself by playing in an orchestra- any "exhibitions" a lady made were in the home or private parties only. (Unless Nannerl Mozart is counted, but she wasn't considered a lady:-)
] ] So- the harp and the piano were considered a lady's "domain", leaving orchestras to men. (Wildly surmising here:-)
] Well, violin wouldn't have been just an orchestral instrument by any means. It's true that in France at least, and a century earlier, it would have been considered indelicate for a lady to play a violin, but that had passed on by JA's time. Certainly, there were women gambists; I don't know if ladies (as opposed to "women") played the viol or the later cello, however. But given that a good deal of music was published for amateurs, I think it likely.
] As for keyboards, no, that was not a woman's domain. There were plenty of males playing them from the get-go. That's how we get Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, with its implications for the rest of western music, after all. If anything, women played keyboards to accompany their singing, though playing instrumental pieces probably wouldn't bother anyone.
Actually, it was less the "exhibitionist" bit than that it would still have been considered indelicate for ladies to play woodwind instruments. (something about women blowing into things being not quite the thing, you know}. Guitars were OK, as were the other instruments that have been discussed. By the end of Miss Austen's life, however, I believe that the stigma of woodwind instruments was disappearing; but I would guess that in the country it would still be looked down upon.
- Emelye Caroline 15:42:14 4/24/98 (4)
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