This dissertation examines how creative women improvisers are subject to gendered representations and receptions by the media, festival, and record producers. Current dispositions towards women, whether deliberate or unintentional, influence future engagements for women improvisers. In addition, the relative exclusion of feature articles on women improvisers or as leaders at festivals leads to what I call the myth of absence - the assumption that women are not interested in participating in the exploration and development of experimental creative improvised music.
This dissertation addresses the question of the decline of improvisation in Western classical music, investigating both its disappearance from performance practice and the scholarly neglect of this phenomenon in music histories and theories. Music historians have traditionally situated the disappearance of improvisation at the end of the Baroque, but improvisation continued to be an important part of Western classical music until well into the nineteenth century.
This doctoral thesis argues that division between jazz and rock is an artifact of journalistic discourse on the subject, making reference to leading journals such as Down Beat and Rolling Stone.