Introduction: 'We Need to Hear Your Voices'

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Women's Music for the Screen Diverse Narratives in Sound, 2022, pp. 1-11
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Women’s Music for the Screen: Diverse Narratives in Sound addresses a current gap in screen soundtrack studies, focusing on the work of female-identifying composers. Using Hildur Guðnadóttir’s acceptance speech for her 2020 Oscar for Joker (2019) as an anchor, this chapter outlines the global phenomenon of women’s problematic underrepresentation in screen music, collating empirical data from several recent international surveys to impart a more nuanced understanding of the key issues and make a clear case for change. The book’s structure is outlined; 12 chapters present individual profiles of some of those women who have achieved the greatest visibility at the international level in the last 80 years: Bebe Barron, Delia Derbyshire, Wendy Carlos, Shirley Walker, Lolita Ritmanis, Laura Karpman, Anne Dudley, Rachel Portman, Lisa Gerrard, Mica Levi, Hildur Guðnadóttir, and Winifred Phillips. The book’s three case study chapters are also outlined: a survey of the barriers female-identifying screen composers face; an history of Japanese women’s music for video games; and a survey of Australian women’s music for television. This inaugural publication about women’s screen music sees several consistent threads emerge– namely, women’s rich contribution to electronic music scores; women’s skill at negotiating adaptive career paths as wives, mothers, and minorities; their capacity to tap the emotional vein of narratives to enrich screen scores, and their advocacy against the gendered disadvantage so prevalent in their field.
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