Diversifying Music Theory
Diversifying Music Theory

Diversifying Music Theory

During the past semester I tried to augment my music theory classes with music by women and BIPoC composers. In doing so, I was delighted again and again to see how well these fit into my teaching, and to discover pieces that I hadn’t been aware were existing. There is so much more that is worth listening and analysing beside the so-called classical canon (which I didn’t want to exclude, but to enhance with lesser-known compositions), and I got a number of very positive reactions from the students, so there’s no reason not to continue in this manner. Promoting diversity in the music theory curriculum turned out so easy that I feel I should have done this so much earlier.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of composers from whose music I took the most inspiring and rewarding examples offered during the last four months: Maddalena Casulana, Raffaella Aleotti, Francesca Caccini, Anna Amalia of Prussia, Joseph Bologne de Saint-Georges, Juliane and Louise Reichardt, Maria Theresia Paradis, Sophie Westenholz, Maria Szymanowska, Louise Farrenc, Emilie Mayer, Pauline Viardot, Ella Adaïewsky, Cécile Chaminade, Mélanie Bonis, Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach, Leokadiya Kashperova, Elena Gnesina, Florence Price, Germaine Tailleferre, and Lili Boulanger.

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