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A recent discussion by David Huron, Corralling the Chorale: Moving Away from SATB, presented a compelling argument for finding new ways to present voice leading without the constraints of Baroque chorales. Commenting, I picked one bone of contention with the statement quoted below. I copy my response after in the hopes that we might discuss the topic further.
Throughout history and in nearly every documented culture, we have evidence of a pervasive prejudice against women. In many cultures, women's participation in music making was actively discouraged, highly restricted, or simply forbidden.
This applies to public music-making. A mother or stand-in is and has been, of course, the primary singer of lullabies to her children. Interesting to note that this tends to be a solo performance (my wife and I sing in harmony and heterophony, in addition to monophony, to our children). I wonder if there is any reason thus that we tend to be conditioned to hearing highest-voice melodies. In barbershop perhaps we don't seek the same effect since the voices are male. [So, the female voice tends to be the first singing voice a person hears in their life.]