Guitar Music by Black Composers
Before engaging with this spreadsheet, please read the information below on how to avoid tokenizing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) composers
To submit music, please use our submission form.
This spreadsheet will be an ever-updating resource for music written by Black composers for guitar/other plucked instruments, updating both as older works are rediscovered and new works are commissioned.
We want to work towards a world where we all commission so many new works by Black composers, and integrate the new works and the already existing works into our year-round repertoire, as to make this spreadsheet completely unnecessary.
More than playing any music here and paying its creator for the score, commissioning a composer to write new music is the most effective way to financially support Black creators.
Looking to commission a work but unsure of how to go about it? Email us us for info, tips, or to start a conversation about how to find a composer to work with.
Composers: we have tried to make sure that we have explicit permission from all of the living composers for their work to be listed on this spreadsheet. If your music is listed and you want it removed for any reason, or if you would like to request any edits, please email us.
THOUGHTS ON TOKENISM AND HOW TO ENGAGE WITH THIS SPREADSHEET
“In terms of allyship and elevating BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, People of Color] voices, it is not enough to program a single BIPOC composer and call it a day. Doing this often treads the line of tokenizing a BIPOC composer. Consider deepening and widening your allyship by asking yourself, “other than just programming a non-white composer, why else am I programming this piece?” A myriad of correct answers can be had
-I like the music!
-I think my audience needs to hear this.
-thematically this composer has a place in my program
If the piece contains content about or is based on a racialized or potentially traumatic experience, ASK the composer or at the very least tell them you are planning to program this work. Worst comes to worst, they say “no thank you that makes me uncomfortable” and you will have an opportunity to learn and better your knowledge of this composer and true allyship through music. Consider whose voice should be centered in the program and in the performance.
Finally, and this should go without saying, PAY THE COMPOSER their requested amount of money or compensation 🙂”
“Actually spend time with the work and be invested in the work. DO NOT reduce an artist down to just their race or ethnicity. They are a full person and their art surely expresses that.
Don’t use the spreadsheets as an easy way to slap on a composer to “be diverse” use it to reach out and build an artistic relationship with the work and the artist.“