Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The world of the female flutist

Today's featured obituary is of Frances Blaisdell, "girl flutist," as the headline put it, quotes and all, who was one of the first women to play flute professionally in a major symphony orchestra.

Here's the part that really got me: Her father "was in the lumber business, but his own love was the flute, and he started teaching her to play when she was 5. He wished she were a boy and called her Jim."

OK, how many men in the lumber business do you imagine have the flute as their first love?

I think nowadays most people think of the flute as an almost totally feminine instrument, James Galway notwithstanding. I remember going to a National Flute Association Convention back in the day; it wasn't exactly a world of opportunity for matchmaking, let's just say.

I just find it very interesting how it seems that men and boys abandon things that seem to be tainted with femininity. Boys playing flute nowadays have to deal with all sorts of crap. What is that about?

Wonderful obit, btw. I recommend it.


qoe said...

When I started singing, in my last year of high school (having been a violinist since 3rd grade), I was put into the tenor section. I was one of 3 girls in the tenor section (two of us had red hair!). There were no boys in the tenor section.

Even in 1978, the boys had come to the wacky conclusion that unless you were in a garage band, singing high in your range was an indication that you were less than masculine.

And so, even if some of them could sing below D in the bass clef, they were still, all of them, in the baritone section.

Heck, I could hit notes lower than some of them, and this was before I had received any training...

Concerts were a real hoot.

The one kid who was a real baritone still sings and directs his church choir in Ohio. we found each other on facebook and it has been fun catching up, in this, our 30th class reunion year...

qoe said...

Sorry... that third paragraph should read:

"And so, even if some of them could NOT sing below a D in the bass clef..."