Women in Music

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Kolohe
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Women in Music

Post by Kolohe » 20 Apr 2018, 09:58

that was great. They're really aren't enough woman-fronted rock bands these days.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Warren » 20 Apr 2018, 10:52

There never are.
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Highway
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Highway » 20 Apr 2018, 11:01

Not in English. There are more in Japanese. And also all woman bands, which there are hardly any that have gotten popular, ever. Bangles, The Go Go's, and The Donnas are about it in the US.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Warren » 20 Apr 2018, 11:27

For bands that play instruments that's true. There have been a lot of female singing groups.
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thoreau
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by thoreau » 20 Apr 2018, 11:45

Interestingly, a lot of the female singers that I've enjoyed lately tour with all-male or mostly-male groups of performers on instruments. Alice Merton, K.Flay, Zella Day, etc., they mostly have males playing instruments. They're doing well in their careers and could presumably get female backing performers if they wanted, but they tour with men. Is there a dearth of women instrumentalists performing in their genre? Do fewer women want to tour? Do their labels and managers and whatnot pressure them to work with men because they have issues with female-heavy touring groups? Do female singers have Queen Bee issues?
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tr0g
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by tr0g » 20 Apr 2018, 12:04

Highway wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 11:01
Not in English. There are more in Japanese. And also all woman bands, which there are hardly any that have gotten popular, ever. Bangles, The Go Go's, and The Donnas are about it in the US.
As much as I like them, I think you might be stretching it to call the Donnas popular.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Painboy » 20 Apr 2018, 12:47

thoreau wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 11:45
Interestingly, a lot of the female singers that I've enjoyed lately tour with all-male or mostly-male groups of performers on instruments. Alice Merton, K.Flay, Zella Day, etc., they mostly have males playing instruments. They're doing well in their careers and could presumably get female backing performers if they wanted, but they tour with men. Is there a dearth of women instrumentalists performing in their genre? Do fewer women want to tour? Do their labels and managers and whatnot pressure them to work with men because they have issues with female-heavy touring groups? Do female singers have Queen Bee issues?
I'd be curious if there was a greater representation of females in things like symphonies and such. I know of many women who grew up taking lessons on various classical instruments like piano, ciello, violin, and so on. I know very few who took guitar or drum lessons.

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Highway
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Highway » 20 Apr 2018, 12:56

I think that there is just not anything resembling cultural support for girls playing instruments in the US. Flute and violin and keyboards is about it. There's no pop culture anything about girls in bands, even wind ensembles and orchestras, so even those groups end up being mostly boys. Compare that, again, to Japan where a wind ensemble or marching band is frequently 80% female. And then they have not just all-female rock bands, but also a greater variety of pop and rock music made by idol groups, and it just seems like to me the main reason girls in the West don't get into instruments is because there's nothing supporting it being a cool thing to do.
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Highway
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Highway » 20 Apr 2018, 12:57

tr0g wrote:
Highway wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 11:01
Not in English. There are more in Japanese. And also all woman bands, which there are hardly any that have gotten popular, ever. Bangles, The Go Go's, and The Donnas are about it in the US.
As much as I like them, I think you might be stretching it to call the Donnas popular.
You're probably right, but they're still probably the third biggest English language all female rock band ever.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Warren » 20 Apr 2018, 12:59

Painboy wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 12:47
thoreau wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 11:45
Interestingly, a lot of the female singers that I've enjoyed lately tour with all-male or mostly-male groups of performers on instruments. Alice Merton, K.Flay, Zella Day, etc., they mostly have males playing instruments. They're doing well in their careers and could presumably get female backing performers if they wanted, but they tour with men. Is there a dearth of women instrumentalists performing in their genre? Do fewer women want to tour? Do their labels and managers and whatnot pressure them to work with men because they have issues with female-heavy touring groups? Do female singers have Queen Bee issues?
I'd be curious if there was a greater representation of females in things like symphonies and such. I know of many women who grew up taking lessons on various classical instruments like piano, ciello, violin, and so on. I know very few who took guitar or drum lessons.
It's been a couple of three decades since I read about that, but IIRC yes female instrumentalists are much better represented in classical music than pop music.
My guess is that while competition is fierce in both genres, the existence of pop groupies changes the dynamics of what winning means.
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Painboy
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Painboy » 20 Apr 2018, 13:50

Highway wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 12:56
I think that there is just not anything resembling cultural support for girls playing instruments in the US. Flute and violin and keyboards is about it. There's no pop culture anything about girls in bands, even wind ensembles and orchestras, so even those groups end up being mostly boys. Compare that, again, to Japan where a wind ensemble or marching band is frequently 80% female. And then they have not just all-female rock bands, but also a greater variety of pop and rock music made by idol groups, and it just seems like to me the main reason girls in the West don't get into instruments is because there's nothing supporting it being a cool thing to do.
It's definitely more socially acceptable to play classical instrusments early on for women. From what I've seen often girls get pushed into one of those and so stick with it at least through high school. By contrast only a few guys I knew got pushed into early music lessons and there was a mild peer stigma associated with classical instruments as being rather nerdy. So most guys got into guitar, drums, or bass since they were perceived as being cool.

There's also a pronounced difference in what genders listen to which likely affects who ends up where. Rock, and especially metal, seem much more popular with men. While pop seems to have a more equal distribution, with maybe even a tilt towards women. I don't know if that's primarily cultural or people's ears are just genetically tuned to certain types of sounds.

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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Kolohe » 20 Apr 2018, 13:52

The internet says that the Indigo Girls is an all female band. I don't know if that's right, it could be. I would have guessed they were like Veruca Salt or Heart. (i.e. the women are the front and the soul of the band, but they had other musicians of all genders backing them when performing)

I would have also guessed the Breeders as an all female band, but the internet doesn't have them in those lists.

Looking at the list, I have heard of HAIM, because they were on SNL sometime in the past few years.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by tr0g » 20 Apr 2018, 14:02

You’re getting into some definitional issues here. The band Indigo Girls is 2 women. Do they use additional musicians on stage and during recording? Are some of them male? Yes, but the band itself is Emily & Amy. How meaningful is it to say you’re an all female band when there’s a rotating cast of guys doing some work with you? I dunno.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Painboy » 20 Apr 2018, 14:05

tr0g wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 14:02
You’re getting into some definitional issues here. The band Indigo Girls is 2 women. Do they use additional musicians on stage and during recording? Are some of them male? Yes, but the band itself is Emily & Amy. How meaningful is it to say you’re an all female band when there’s a rotating cast of guys doing some work with you? I dunno.
I would also point out that the reverse, guy frontmen with all women filling out the band, is bascially unheard of.

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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Mo » 20 Apr 2018, 14:07

Couldn't part of that be that female instrumentalists for classical orchestras compete on a level playing field (auditions behind a curtain), while pop music does not have that. Also, the commercial pressures in both markets select for different talents.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by thoreau » 20 Apr 2018, 14:08

Painboy wrote:
tr0g wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 14:02
You’re getting into some definitional issues here. The band Indigo Girls is 2 women. Do they use additional musicians on stage and during recording? Are some of them male? Yes, but the band itself is Emily & Amy. How meaningful is it to say you’re an all female band when there’s a rotating cast of guys doing some work with you? I dunno.
I would also point out that the reverse, guy frontmen with all women filling out the band, is bascially unheard of.
A band like that would be named "Woke Dude Dream"
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Eric the .5b » 20 Apr 2018, 14:10

thoreau wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 11:45
Interestingly, a lot of the female singers that I've enjoyed lately tour with all-male or mostly-male groups of performers on instruments. Alice Merton, K.Flay, Zella Day, etc., they mostly have males playing instruments. They're doing well in their careers and could presumably get female backing performers if they wanted, but they tour with men. Is there a dearth of women instrumentalists performing in their genre? Do fewer women want to tour? Do their labels and managers and whatnot pressure them to work with men because they have issues with female-heavy touring groups? Do female singers have Queen Bee issues?
I think it's a multi-part thing.

Part of it is that the lead singer often isn't the leader of the band. They may be the nucleus of the group, but they may also be the guy recruited last, after the rest of the group has figured out their singing isn't good enough.

Part of it is how the band forms. The famous "I want to meet chicks" motivation of many guys who start bands might make it less likely to get a female friend in on the project, and it might make it more difficult to recruit female strangers.

(I don't think these two issues apply, in this case. More the next one.)

There also seems to be a huge bias in rock towards women being lead vocalists, often not even playing an instrument. It actually strikes me when I notice a woman in a band who's not a vocalist. I dunno if it's a matter of who's more likely to learn to sing, or lack of crediting female instrumental ability.

Add to that a tremendous press bias towards bands with attractive lead singers, especially women. I remember a self-consciously indie music magazine about ten years ago doing one of those perennial female artist issues, with a gatefold cover of women musicians, and it was very obviously in declining order of conventional attractiveness with a dolled-up Joss Stone at the lead.

I'm sure the musicians among us can give more details.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Highway » 20 Apr 2018, 14:11

Even expanding out of rock doesn't exactly open up the list significantly. And expanding to duos as well (I personally think you need to be at least a 3 piece to be a band, but that's a personal definition. And you can even allow for additional musicians for live performances and even studio work depending on who is writing the music.

I still think it comes back to there being almost zero visible instances of women playing instruments that girls would look up to.

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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by nicole » 20 Apr 2018, 14:12

No love for Sleater Kinney?
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Highway » 20 Apr 2018, 14:17

There's also the well known phenomenon of rock bands fronted by women getting horribly unbalanced coverage, most of the time causing big strife because it becomes the woman singer's band with a bunch of no-names. This has killed or significantly harmed a bunch of groups like No Doubt, Paramore, and Evanescence. Even if they know it's coming or try to lampshade it (like No Doubt did).
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Eric the .5b » 20 Apr 2018, 14:31

nicole wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 14:12
No love for Sleater Kinney?
I don't know if they're bigger than the Donnas, which is sad, because the Donnas were the one-trickiest of one-trick ponies last I heard anything by them.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by dead_elvis » 20 Apr 2018, 14:33

Warren wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 12:59
Painboy wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 12:47

I'd be curious if there was a greater representation of females in things like symphonies and such. I know of many women who grew up taking lessons on various classical instruments like piano, ciello, violin, and so on. I know very few who took guitar or drum lessons.
It's been a couple of three decades since I read about that, but IIRC yes female instrumentalists are much better represented in classical music than pop music.
Women have reached the 50% mark in american orchestras. There are still biases in individual sections (brass particularly tends to be a macho boys club, with women expected to be down with a certain level of ribaldry), but it's changing. I think it's been easier in strings because there are so many more positions so there is more opportunity for turnover. Other sections you might only have 2 or 3 positions per orchestra, and there might be only one audition per generation for something like tuba. Because of that, change can be very gradual in certain areas.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Highway » 20 Apr 2018, 14:34

Eric the .5b wrote:
nicole wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 14:12
No love for Sleater Kinney?
I don't know if they're bigger than the Donnas, which is sad, because the Donnas were the one-trickiest of one-trick ponies last I heard anything by them.
The Donnas had a lot of "exposure" because Atlantic Records got them in as many video games and movies as possible. I may have heard of Sleater Kinney once before but never listened to more than 2 of their songs and never more than once each.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by Eric the .5b » 20 Apr 2018, 14:37

Elastica only had one guy, the drummer, and everyone played instruments. But they kind of fell off the world and later dissolved.
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Re: Good Cover Versions

Post by dead_elvis » 20 Apr 2018, 14:43

Painboy wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 14:05
tr0g wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 14:02
You’re getting into some definitional issues here. The band Indigo Girls is 2 women. Do they use additional musicians on stage and during recording? Are some of them male? Yes, but the band itself is Emily & Amy. How meaningful is it to say you’re an all female band when there’s a rotating cast of guys doing some work with you? I dunno.
I would also point out that the reverse, guy frontmen with all women filling out the band, is bascially unheard of.
Which is odd because while this isn't *exactly* it (since they didn't actually play), there clearly was a market for it.
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