Skip to main content

Black Composers in Classical Music

A research guide for finding recordings, music, and information on classical music written by black composers.

Library Search

Library Search is your gateway to discover books, journal articles, and much more at Temple University Libraries. Additional information can be found in our Library Search FAQ's.

African American Music Reference

African American Music Reference includes thousands of pages of encyclopedias, biographies, liner notes, sheet music, and images online.

Google Books

Google Book Search searches thefull-text of the books in its inventory.   This means that  Google books allows you to search within the book!  Google Book Search lets you see a table of contents or an index or just a portion of a book.  You can find out if the book is relevant to your subject or topic, and then locate the book in a nearby library!

Google Books

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

de Lerma, Dominique-René, and Marsha J. Reisser. Black Music and Musicians in the New Grove Dictionary of American Music and the New Harvard Dictionary of Music. CBMR Monographs, no. 1. Chicago: Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College, 1989.

Hitchcock, H. Wiley, and Stanley Sadie, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. 4v. London: Macmillan, 1986. 

Peterson, Bernard L. A Century of Musicals in Black and White: An Encyclopedia of Musical Stage Works By, About, or Involving African Americans. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Sadie, Stanley, John Tyrrell, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. New York: Grove, 2001. 29 v.  *Also online.  Temple University authorized users only.

Smith, Eric Ledell. Blacks in Opera: An Encyclopedia of People and Companies, 1873-1993. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1994.


Bibliographies

De Lerma, Dominique-Rene.  Bibliography of Black Music.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981-  4 vols.

Floyd, Jr., Samuel A., ed. Black Music in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Reference and Research Materials. Millwood, N.Y.: The Scarecrow Press, 1987.

Gray, John, comp. Blacks in Classical Music: A Bibliographical Guide to Composers, Performers and Ensembles. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.

Johnson, James Peter. Bibliographic Guide to the Study of Afro-American Music. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Libraries, 1973.

Skowronski, JoAnn. Black Music in America: A Bibliography. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1981.

Southern, Eileen, Josephine Wright, comps. African-American Traditions in Song, Sermon, Tale, and Dance, 1600-1920: An Annotated Bibliography of Literature, Collections, and Artworks. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.

_______. Images : Iconography of Music in African-American Culture, 1770s-1920s. New York: Garland Pub., 2000.

Selected Bibliography

Caldwell, Hansonia LaVerne. African American Music: A Chronology 1619-1995. Los Angeles: Ikoro Communications, 1996.

Cheatham, Wallace.  Dialogues on opera and the African-American experience. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1997.

Floyd, Jr., Samuel A. The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. [BCM]

Greene, D. Richard.  An Overview of Black Composers and U.S. Symphony Orchestra Repertoire: 1899-1970.  Ardmore, Pa.: 2006.  

Haskins, James. Black Music in America: A History through Its People. New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1987.

Holland, Ted. This Day in African-American Music. San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1993.

Keck, George R. and Sherrill V. Martin, ed. Feel the Spirit: Studies in Nineteenth-Century Afro-American Music. Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies, No. 119. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.

Lovell, Jr., John. Black Song: The Forge and the Flame. New York: Paragon House Publishers, 1972

Locke, Alain. The Negro and His Music -- Negro Art Past and Present. New York: Arno Press and New York Times, 1969.

McGinty, Doris Evans.  A Documentary History of the National Association of Negro Musicians.  Chicago, IL : Center for Black Music Research, 2004.  

Patterson, Lindsay, ed. The Afro-American in Music and Art. International Library of Afro-American Life and History, v. 6. Cornwells Heights, Pa.: Publishers Agency, 1978.

Roach, Hildred. Black American Music: Past and Present. 2nd ed. Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Publishing, 1992.

Stone, Ruth M. and James Porter, ed.Africa: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music.  New York: Garland Pub., 1998 -   Temple University authentication only.