Document Type

Class Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Music is a looking-glass into cultural contexts. While timeless, genres of song are like time capsules swirling with people’s thoughts and emotions of far off times and places, and when studied, these emotions are reflected back to the listener. Furthermore, song, and the lyrics they claim, provide insight into the norms of language and how the way of expressing thoughts of the world has changed over time. It can also provide insight into specific issues, such as gender and gender norms, and how they have progressed.

Looking through the lens of gender, this essay briefly discusses the historical role of women in Scottish traditional song, the actions they took to make a space for themselves within the tradition, how they found empowerment through these actions, and ways that these issues are still relevant in modern contexts of traditional song. Through these points, it also aims to explain why it is important to look at Scots song within this perspective: looking at contexts through different lenses can lead to new, and deeper interpretations.