This research project examines Clara Schumann, a woman composer from the nineteenth century, and analyzes why she was not recognized for her composing. Clara Schumann has been recognized for being a brilliant pianist, but not for being an accomplished composer. This project uses a literary review, a case study, and an analysis of Clara’s compositions to determine the answer to why she has remained under recognized as a composer. The literature used draws from a number of different scholars and their arguments on Clara as a pianist and composer. Starting from the premise that the music world is gendered, I explore why scholars focus on male composers and fail to acknowledge hundreds of women composers. The case study section however uses biographical evidence from letters written between Clara and her husband Robert Schumann in the time before they were married. Excerpts used from these letters show what kind of factors influenced Clara’s personal and musical life. The analysis of Clara’s compositions shows how her pieces sound compared to other male composers’ compositions from that time period. While this project focuses on Clara Schumann, it does show that women in general are capable of being composers, contrary to what others may believe.


Biro-Walters, Jordan


Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Music

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Madeline R. Boreman