It is difficult to identify female music theorists throughout history for various reasons. Just like for composition, historical circumstances and pervasive institutional sexism prevented women from publishing their works.  Even women who did theoretical work did not identify as a “music theorist.”

We have broadly defined music theoretical work and included women whose work intersects with music theory in some way. Here we have highlighted the theoretical works of these amazing women. Please, help us explore the many contributions of women to the study of music theory and share with us any we may have missed.

Finally, there are many, many female music theorists working independently and in universities around the world today. We have chosen to focus on the generations of theorists living and working before the 21st century.

(ca. 3rd Century BCE)

(ca. 355-415 CE)

(Mid 19th-Early 20th c.)