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Pirkko Moisala

Pirkko Marjatta Moisala
Born November 14 1953, Taivalkoski

Masters in Philosophy 1982, Musicology, University of Helsinki
Licentiate in Philosophy 1988, Musicology, University of Helsinki
Doctor of Philosophy 1991, Musicology, University of Turku

Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, University of Helsinki 2008-
Professor of Musicology, University of Turku, 1997 (acting) and 2007-2008; Professor of Musicology, Åbo Akademi University, 1998-2007
Associate Professor, University of Turku, 1990-1997
Researcher, Academy of Finland, 1987-1990
Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, Sibelius Academy, 1984-1987
Acting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of Helsinki, 1983-1984

Research interests
Socially aware methodology of music research; indigenous peoples, well-being, and music; constructing ethnicity and belonging through music; music examined from the point of view of gender and feminism

Current Research Projects
Deleuzian Music Research (Academy of Finland), 2012–2016
Indigenous Musics and Well-being (Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki), 2011-

Previous Research Projects
Finland Swedishness Constructed Through Music (Swedish Literary Society in Finland), 2007–2011
Feminist Music Research (Academy of Finland), 1998–2002
Finnishness Constructed Through Music (Academy of Finland), 1993–1997

Awards and Special Accomplishments
Silver Medal, World Didac Foundation, 1988
Honorary dedication, Music Museum of Nepal, 2014

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Pirkko Moisala

Gender Constructed Through Music

Musical conventions participate in creating gender, and, in turn, the gender structure conditions music. Many of the works by Pirkko Moisala deal with the relationships between culture, gender and music. Moisala has written about women classical music composers in order to fill out the gaps in music history. She has also authored a book on the career of Kaija Saariaho, including the reception of her music, her compositional processes and her development as a composer.

“Since practising music combines the creativity of an individual with their bodies and their cultural background, it offers a fruitful basis for researching gender performances in different socio-historical and cultural contexts”, states Moisala.

In her article ‘Musical Gender in Performance’ Moisala takes a look at the four ontological dimensions in music from a gender studies perspective: music, like language, is a primary modelling system, t is bodily action, is socially conditioned and it has the power to change things. Moisala presents the new concept of “musical gender” to examine gender from the point of view of music.

Further reading:

Photo: Mika Federley​


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