We report the magnetic-field dependence of the THz absorption and nonreciprocal directional dichroism spectra of BiFeO3 measured on the three principal crystal cuts for fields applied along the three principal directions of each cut. From the systematic study of the light polarization dependence, we deduced the optical selection rules of the spin-wave excitations. Our THz data, combined with small-angle neutron scattering results showed that (i) an in-plane magnetic field rotates the q vectors of the cycloids perpendicular to the magnetic field and (ii) the selection rules are mostly determined by the orientation of the q vector with respect to the electromagnetic fields. We observed a magnetic field history-dependent change in the strength and the frequency of the spin-wave modes, which we attributed to the change of the orientation and the length of the cycloidal q vector, respectively. Finally, we compared our experimental data with the results of linear spin-wave theory that reproduces the magnetic-field dependence of the spin-wave frequencies and most of the selection rules, from which we identified the spin-polarization coupling terms relevant for the optical magnetoelectric effect.