How to Use This Document
Thank you for visiting the Percussion Pieces by Black Composers Database. We would like to highlight a few critical items to consider before utilizing this resource:
1. Explore Each Composer’s Unique Voice
In creating this resource, we relied on existing composer databases, exploring the catalogs of many Black composers with varying musical backgrounds and compositional styles. Lumping a large set of composers together like this runs the risk of focusing on the surface identity (in this case race) of a composer rather than their art. In using this document, we hope you explore each composer’s unique voice by checking out more of their works.

If you are a composer whose works are listed in this document and you would like them removed, please contact us (contact information listed under the Submissions/Edits tab). If you would like to explore the resources referenced throughout this document, as well as more additional resources, check out the ‘Extra Resources’ tab.
2. Avoid Tokenizing BIPOC (Black, Indigienous, People of Color) Composers
Here’s some great advice about using this document and others like it, from Yang Chen:

"I do want to add an open word of caution to anyone accessing these docs because I do want to highlight a potential pitfall.

In terms of allyship and elevating BIPOC 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 who’s voice should be centered in the program and in the performance."

I’d like to add here: Even if you have paid for the score/music, the composer has the right to refute, criticize, and discuss your programming as it is ultimately their intellectual property and potentially a very personal experience.

Finally, and this should go without saying, PAY THE COMPOSER their requested amount of money or compensation 🙂"

In addition, if you have to contact a composer directly to obtain their music, please make the message about their music -- not their race, and not yourself. Keep the above points in mind.
3. Continue the Conversation
We hope this database can start (or continue) conversations about the lack of representation of Black composers in our concert halls, universities, classrooms, and more. Please utilize this resource as a tool to select repertoire that fits your students/needs/programs and not as a substitute for significant conversations about representation in the arts.