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Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) musicians

Use this guide to explore the musical traditions, compositions, and scholarship of Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) individuals.

Repertoire search tools and general resources

  • African Diaspora Music Project
    • Online resource for artistic administrators, performers, and conductors to program the orchestral music of black composers; provides publishing information and score samples where possible
    • List of composers and links to their websites
  • …and we were heard 
    • Provides a platform to underrepresented composers to have their music heard by hosting audio tracks of their compositions on the website
    • Explore their databases with repertoire lists for band and orchestral music
  • BIPOC Canadian Composers
    • Dataset comprising a list of composers who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour (BIPOC) with a connection to Canada (e.g. are Canadian, working in Canada, or from an Indigenous nation situated in what is now known as Canada)
    • Includes two additional datasets: one identifying publishers that produce scores by these composers, and one with other sources for identifying works by BIPOC composers
  • BIPOC Voices
    • Assists orchestras, opera companies, and chamber players program works for solo voices and instruments by composers who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour (BIPOC) 
    • Creates and showcases orchestral recordings of previously-unrecorded works or excerpts
    • Browse their curated lists of repertoire for chamber ensemble, orchestra, and voice
  • Black Composers - Scores
    • Links to library holdings of scores of Black composers of classical music
    • Clicking on a name will yield the composer's scores in Worldcat (a worldwide library catalogue) 
    • Clicking on the title of a work will show the libraries that own the work
  • Catalogue of the Musical Works of the Archive of Mexico City Cathedral
    • Catalogue of the music manuscripts and music books of the archive of Cabildo Catedral Metropolitano de la Ciudad de México
  • Institute for Composer Diversity
    • The Institute encourages the discovery, study, and performance of music by composers from underrepresented groups
    • Search the Composer Diversity Database using various criteria, including demographics, gender and sexuality, genre, and location. Users can consult their advance search options for its database for instruction
    • Resources include best practices for diverse programming and an extensive bibliography of resources about diverse composers
  • Music by Black Composers
    • Provides several repertoire lists and directories of living and historic black composers
  • Música colonial scores
    • Transcribed scores from the Música Colonial Archive, drawn from the original collection at the Cathedral in Guatemala City
    • Vocal and choral music
    • Crowdsourced wiki
  • New Muses Project
    • Database provides composer recommendations based on parameters such as historical era, influences, genres composed, location, style, and sound, with the objective of promoting underrepresented composers

Sheet music collections

  • African American Sheet Music
    • Digital collection selected from the Sheet Music Collection at the John Hay Library at Brown University
    • Approximately 6,000 pieces of music by and relating to African Americans, from the 1820s to the present day 
    • 1,700 items are fully catalogued and digitized
  • Louisiana Sheet Music
    • This collection is comprised of sheet music published in, or with topical relevance to, Louisiana (with an emphasis on New Orleans)
    • Covers 100 years in the history of local publishing (1838-1938) and represents a wide range of styles of popular and vernacular music
    • Many important local composers are represented
  • Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives

Location and contacts

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Music Library Staff
Marvin Duchow Music Library
Elizabeth Wirth Music Building
3rd floor - 527 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E3
Subjects: Music

Resource key

  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library use
  • Catalogue record

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