Date of Award:

5-1994

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

History

Advisor/Chair:

Anne M. Butler

Abstract

By drawing on local newspapers and the diaries, journals, and autobiographies of nearly fifty pioneers, this thesis examined the varied musical experiences of Utah's Latter-day Saint women during the years 1847-1900, and sought to determine whether they followed national gender trends in music during this era. Women in nineteenth-century Utah participated in a wide variety of musical activities, including using music in their homes, taking lessons, and teaching. Women also composed and wrote song lyrics. Many women performed in community musical events, such as concerts and operas. Despite their accomplishments, women did face conflict over the demands of family responsibility and the desire to pursue public musical careers. In some cases, women retreated from performance or even abandoned their interest.

Nonetheless, music allowed these women to enrich their personal and social lives, express their feelings on a variety of topics, bond together in both religious and political sisterhood, and involve themselves more fully in their communities. In their many musical activities, women in Utah, often regarded as a singular or isolated population because of their affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reflected changing trends for women throughout the United States. This became especially noticed as music became less a social accomplishment and more an expression of serious study through which women redefined their roles and society's acceptable standards for work and public performance.

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