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Women in Music

A guide to library resources on women composers, conductors, and performers.

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Call Numbers & Subject Headings for Browsing Resources on Women in Music

These are some of the call numbers for locating scholarship about women in music and feminist music criticism in the UO Music Collection.  Using these, you can browse for performance repertoire, histories, and biographies on the physical shelves, or browse by Library of Congress call numbers in LibrarySearch.

  • ML82: Literature about music-- Women and music
  • ML410: Biographies of individual composers
  • ML416-ML419: Biographies of individual instrumentalists
  • ML420: Biographies of individual singers
  • ML421: Biographies of performing groups
  • ML422: Biographies of individual conductors
  • ML423: Biographies of individual theoreticians, historians, critics, etc.
  • ML424: Biographies of musical instrument makers
  • ML2100: Literature about women in opera

These are some of the Library of Congress Subject Headings for locating resources about women in music in the UO Music Collection.  Using these, you can refine your searches in the library catalog, using the "subject" limiter.

  • Feminism and music
  • Gender identity in music
  • Music by women composers
  • Women composers
  • Women conductors (Music)
  • Women country musicians
  • Women jazz musicians
  • Women music patrons
  • Women rock musicians

For many of these, you can add subdivision terms to narrow your search:

  • [Main term]--[subdivision] 
    • e.g.  Women composers--Biography
  • Common subdivision terms:
    • --Bibliography
    • --Bio-bibliography
    • --Biography
    • --Discography
    • --History and criticism
    • --[name of country]  (e.g. --United States)
    • --[century]  (e.g. --20th century)
      • country and century subdivisions can be combined, e.g.: Women conductors--United States--21st century

If you are researching a particular musician, you can also search their name (last name first) as the subject term in your search to find resources about that person. 

Music and Dance Librarian

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Ann Shaffer
Pronouns: she/her/hers

I will be on sabbatical from May 16-September 16, 2024. During that time, please contact with music or dance research questions, or drop in at the Douglass Room for research help at the music desk Monday-Friday 10 am-6 pm. If you need assistance related to room reservations or facilities in the Douglass Room, please contact Jimmy Murray at

I will be available for appointments again starting in Fall Term 2024.
Subjects: Dance, Music