Skip to Main Content

Women Composers: Getting Started

This research guide suggests resources that may be useful in researching the lives and works of women classical composers.

General Music Resources

Here are some online music databases and general resources that can be helpful as you start your research.

Oxford Music Online, which requires Duke login credentials, includes several valuable online music references, including Grove Music Online, the Oxford Dictionary of Music, and the Oxford Companion to Music

Wikipedia can also be a good screening tool, too:  it can be useful either for browsing or for initial research into a specific composer.  

General Resources on Women Composers

Databases with Recorded and Printed Music

There are several online databases of music recordings and printed and manuscript music that can help you in your research.  

Alexander Street Press, which requires Duke login credentials, includes many recordings that may be of potential interest to researchers of Women composers.  Here, for example, is a short list of search results in the Classical Music section.


IMSLP provides free access to digitized images of myriad printed and manuscript musical works of many composers and genres.

The Naxos music library has a wealth of recordings and resources categorized by genre and ensemble type, themed playlists, essays, and easily searchable collections.

More Subject Headings

If the suggested resources in this guide don't include what you're looking for, remember that the Libraries have a wealth of other resources available. Try some of these subject headings to explore further:

Head, Music Library

Profile Photo
Laura Williams
113 Biddle Music Building
Call me:(919) 660-5952
Subjects: Humanities, Music

Music Librarian for Public Services

Profile Photo
Sarah Griffin
113B Biddle Music Building


Created by Barb Prillaman, 4-2021