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Thread: Female and male instruments?

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    Assistant Administrator Daniel's Avatar
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    Do you think some instruments are more female or more male? Is the violin a more female instrument, the cello and bass more male? Or do you think you can't say that in general, depends on the player?

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    Nox
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    Maybe...the deeper toned instruments tend to sound more male, the higher, more female...

    ...but having said that...I think a piccolo is very male...
    <span style='color:green'><span style='font-family:Optima'>Music is what feelings sound like...Anon</span>.</span>

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    max
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    No, I don&#39;t think so...
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    I don&#39;t know. I&#39;ve known more female cello players than male cellists. I think it does depend on the player.

    I think the exception is the flute, definitely more female flutists. Actually, I don&#39;t think I&#39;ve ever met a male flutist. Another may be the harp, needs small fingers. But for the most part, no, instruments don&#39;t seem to have a specific sex.
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    Nox
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    ...I think I&#39;m confused (small wonder)...:blink:

    ...was the question regarding the sound of the instrument...or a trend in the sex of the musicians playing various instruments?...
    <span style='color:green'><span style='font-family:Optima'>Music is what feelings sound like...Anon</span>.</span>

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    DW
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    LOL...
    I would think that we&#39;re talking about the timbre of instruments here...
    To me it depends on the make of the instrument itself, Caz a cello can sound male , yet another by another manufactorer can sound relatively female.
    And it really depends on the player also...whether he or she is able to bring out that facet of playing.
    Or do u think with varied and good tonal control of the player, one can sound male and female as u please no matter what the instrument&#39;s timbre might be?
    Or do u see the instrument&#39;s original tonal palette as the deciding factor? :unsure:

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    There definitely are some instruments played more by men and some played more by women, but it&#39;s not extremely so. From my observations violin, piano, and oboe seem to be a fairly even mix. I have actually seen quite a few female cellists and male flutists. (Think Jacqueline Du Pre--cello--and Jean Pierre Rampal and James Galway--flute)
    Harpists seem to be mostly women and brass players to be a majority of men.

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    Exclamation

    Originally posted by Nox@Jul 22 2004, 08:20 PM
    ...I think I&#39;m confused (small wonder)...:blink:

    ...was the question regarding the sound of the instrument...or a trend in the sex of the musicians playing various instruments?...
    [snapback]272[/snapback]
    Oh&#33; I guess I misunderstood. For the most part, it depends on the musician, but in Nox&#39;s case, her instrument is all feminine :P

    I don&#39;t think masculine and feminine are words that can be used on the sound of a particular instrument. My instrument may sound (and look) feminine when I play it, but that has a lot to do with my playing. I know others can get completely different sounds out if it, masculine too.
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    Assistant Administrator Daniel's Avatar
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    ...was the question regarding the sound of the instrument...or a trend in the sex of the musicians playing various instruments?...
    I think both are interesting. Actually i think if an instrument has a more female sounding, more women will play it, and the other way round.

    For myself i think, its an individual decision, but there are tendencies in sound, so that flutes are for me more female, also Clarinet and Oboe, brass more male. Violin, well mixed but with tendencies to female; cello, bass more male. Like usual you can&#39;t generalize, but i think that tendency is because of the more soft, higher sounding of those instruments to be more with female sensibilty, and this strong sounding of some instruments to be more male.

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    Yes, and some instruments have more males playing them just because of strength&#33; I have known female bassists and tuba players, but they were girls of a heftier build&#33; I have trouble just holding a bass in position (I haven&#39;t tried in a long time.)
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    DW
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    Jean Pierre Rampal and James Galway--flute
    That&#39;s 2 really cute lads.
    I remember there was a poll on some other site...Who&#39;s the more handsome of the 2 and why?
    I thought that poll was really entertaining. Maybe we should run it also.

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    I thought that at first, but now I&#39;ve realized that it has nothing to do with that. They just play higher notes or lower notes.
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    I think that the violin is somewhat femine, LOL. I think the piano is both feminine and masculan...for some reason I think of my piano as a guy(that is being abused by my terrible playing jk :P ). A bass seems too me more like a masculan instrument...same as the tuba. The flute is more feminane too me. Heh...sorry about my spelling...ack&#33;
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    Default Instruments and gender

    Here is my view:

    Female instruments:

    The flute, I know this is a cliche, but it sounds feminine to me.
    The oboe and the oboe d'amore and cor anglais. I see the oboe as a soprano voice, oboe d'amore as mezzo, and the cor anglais as contralto.
    I think the viola is most definetly female; a contralto voice.
    Oddly the 'cello seems very female to me. It's more male than the viola, but it's tone seems so feminine, especially on two upper strings.
    Bells and metal percussion ( celesta, glockenspiel, steel drums, triangle ect. ) always seem female.
    The organ seems female.
    The harp is female in its lower and middle registers, genderless higher up.

    Male instruments;

    The alto flute; it seems like a male version of the flute.
    The heckelphone sounds so much like a baritone voice, it's amazing. A very male instrument.
    The bassoon to me is the most male woodwind. It can sound like a bass, a baritone and a tenor voice. Even the extreme high notes, like the ones opening the rite of spring, don't sound female. They sound more like an eery countertenor than a woman's voice.
    The horns, trombones and tubas are all male to me, both in timbre and depth.
    Most of the rest of the percussion seem male.
    Harpsichords sound male to me.

    Hard to tell instruments;

    The piccolo seems genderless to me. Too cold to be human.
    The violin's tone is an enigma to me. It's tone reminds me of the pure voice of a child, quite genderless but very human. It doesn't seem female or male.
    The trumpet is too high to be male, to masculine to be female. It combines male and female aspects.
    The saxophone is genderless to me, though the higher ones are more feminine and the lower one's more masculine.
    The piano seems neither male nor female too.

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  15. #15
    Senior Member Harvey's Avatar
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    The more complex sounding instruments tend to sound masculine to me. The clearer, purer instruments sound feminine to me.

    So...
    I think instruments can be adjusted to sound more masculine or feminine. For example, a New York Steinway I would say is male. Compare with Blüthner.

    A note about piano: I've seen more male pianists than female. There is also a difference in the performance depending on what gender is playing. Sometimes I can hear when a girl's playing the piano.
    Last edited by Harvey; Feb-02-2005 at 23:48.
    IF I hit a wrong key its becaus i kind of like it that way.

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