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Women Composers: Want to Dig Deeper?

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

Beyond the Bios

Check here for a sampling of  resources that can guide you into a deeper take on some of the contextual issues from the lives of women composers.

Works by Marcia Citron

Marcia Citron is a contemporary American musicologist who has written extensively on the topics of opera, film, and women and gender.  Duke University Libraries has a number of her books, essays, and contributions, which you can browse here.

Databases, Collaborations, and Other Online Resources

Below is a selection of online resources that may inspire you to investigate other related research topics.

The Expanding the Music Theory Canon and Music Theory Examples by Women websites provide illustrative materials to support instruction of undergraduate scholars in core Western music theory.  

All examples in Expanding the Music Theory Canon are written by composers who are women, Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC).  Each example includes a musical excerpt to illustration the theory concept being taught; a public-domain link to the full score of the work from which the excerpt came; when available, a public-domain link to a recording of the work; and a link to a biography of the composer.

Music Theory Examples by Women includes examples -- all written by women composers -- categorized by music theory concept and short biographies of women composers categorized by era.

A Seat at the Piano serves as a platform to encourage communication and collaboration among musicians and composers of diverse gender and ethnic heritages, and to promote inclusion in piano repertoire.  The website includes a composer index and a searchable database of piano works.

Similarly, the Chamber Music America Composers' Equity Project includes a database of resources by and about chamber music composers who identify as female, gender-non-conforming, African/Black, Latinx, Asian/South Asian, Arab/Middle Eastern, or Native American.

The website of the International Alliance for Women in Music has a resources page that includes a long list of international radio stations that often play music by women composers  Underneath that list on the page are links to many other resources about women composers and musicians.

A Modern Reveal has a wealth of information and resources related to women composers, primarily those who wrote Italian art songs and early Latin music.  The website's resources page includes links to several online sites, databases, and other resources devoted to promoting the music of women of many musical periods.  The bibliography page includes sources used by the website's creators in their own research.

The Kassia Women's Art Song Database was created to assist musicians,teachers, researchers, and music lovers in discovering art song by women composers. The database covers compositions from the Baroque period through the 21st century, with content categorized by level, voice type, language, composer, and composer dates. 

Many, Many Women is a compendium website with links to the individual websites of over 1200 women composers, improvisation artists, and noise artists.  Listings are presented both alphabetically by artists' surname and by musical genre.

Darren Scott Rumsey has created a website called No Broken Links, which includes instrument-specific directories of solo and chamber repertoire written by underrepresented composers.  The website currently includes repertoire directories for flute, oboe, and clarinet, with plans to add directories of repertoire for bassoon, horn, and saxophone.