Gender Influences How We Hear Music

A couple of studies seem to indicate that the gender of a performer has an impact on the way we hear his/her music. From Pacific Standard magazine:

One study reported that knowledgeable listeners described the same performance as more “precise” when performed by a man and more “dramatic” when performed by a woman. Another found that people told (accurately) that they were listening to a Brahms symphony conducted by a woman, Marin Alsop, judged the performance as less powerful and more delicate than those who were told the conductor was a man.

Music may be an abstract art, but our reactions to it are shaped by the assumptions and prejudices of our society.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Gender Influences How We Hear Music

  • August 16, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I'm a woman who tends to think more like a man, and my better half is a man who tends to think more like a woman. I wonder what kind of results people like us would produce.


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