Please Join our Humanities Commons group!
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This webpage houses resources for music by composers of color. It is not intended to be limited to (a) “traditional” music theory topics or (b) notated music in the Western art music tradition. Analytical notes are being made available, while a Google Sheet summarizes music theory topics that can be taught using the repertoire. We welcome submissions of annotated scores and lesson plans that incorporate the music of composers of color. This site will be continually updated with more resources for music theory instructors.
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As a quick and manageable first step towards diverse and inclusive music theory pedagogy, many of the scores on this site are readily adaptable to the classroom environment. Simply swap out some of the examples by white men that you fall back on when teaching, e.g., the IV chord, and you’ll introduce the representation of voices of color and non-canonic composers overnight. An easy way to get started is to check out the examples collated in the Music Theory Examples by BIPOC Composers. Feel free to suggest examples or new categories, whether or not the music is in notated form, and upload new scores by joining our Humanities Commons group at the link above. You can submit edit suggestions at this Google Form.
Of course, it will be important to consider how to contextualize these examples—and more broadly, how to contextualize all musical examples, including those written by white men. Online resources, as well as more details on music by composers of color are available here, and biographical information for each composer is linked at the composer’s page.
If you find yourself wanting to expand beyond swapping out examples to more thoroughgoing studies of pieces by composers of color, explore the Analytical Notes and Annotated Scores page. There, you’ll find links to a bookmarked Google Doc, which houses crowdsourced notes from group analysis meetings.
If you’re feeling the urge to contribute your own public domain scores, annotated scores, lesson plans, or other materials, request to join the Humanities Commons group. We have also begun a Slack Channel, where you can get involved in deeper conversations about curriculum design and wider initiatives. If you’d like access, or have other questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.