the history of western music is the history of contending with raced, classed, gendered struggle:
“Throughout its history in the West, music has been an activity fought over bitterly in terms of gender identity. The charge that musicians or devotees of music are ‘effeminate’ goes back as far as recorded documentation about music, and music’s association with the body (in dance or for sensuous pleasure) and with subjectivity has led to its being relegated in many historical periods to what was understood as a ‘feminine’ realm. Male musicians have retaliated in a number of ways: by defining music as the most ideal (that is, the least physical) of the arts; by insisting emphatically on its ‘rational’ dimension; by laying claim to such presumably masculine virtues as objectivity, universality, and transcendence; by prohibiting actual female participation altogether…. For instance, Linda Austern and Richard Leppert have demonstrated that one reason the English have produced so little music is that they —more than their German or French neighbors —have long associated music strongly with effeminacy. The English effectively prevented themselves as a society from participating in musical culture, except as connoisseurs and consumers, and Anglo-Americans have followed suit” (17).
might we say, then, that there is an intense interplay between imagination and grounding [to return again to Menninghaus’s “politics of curtailment” following her reading of Kant], an interplay between release and regulation so that what we have in the Anglo-American tradition that is decidedly against the sorta black queerness that makes its economy go is a musical tradition of regulation itself.
that is, there appears to be a philosophy of aversion that allows for the refusal of musical production: this aversion has to do with, i believe, raced, classed, gendered structures that sought to disempower.