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Dr. Stephen Shearon
Professor of Musicology
Stephen Shearon has served on the School of Music faculty since 1994, including twelve years as Director of the Graduate Program and one year as Interim Director. He teaches the history of Western art music, American music, and Christian music traditions, as well as courses on music research and reference tools, and broad overviews of human music-making. Shearon also has served on the faculties of The North Carolina Governor’s School (1994-1995), St. Andrews College (NC) (1992-1994), and North Carolina State University (1989-1990). The recipient of numerous grants and awards, he was a Fellow in the NEH Seminar on Palace Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Rome (American Academy in Rome, 1998) and at The Newberry Library in Chicago (1991). In 1979 he founded The North Carolina Bach Festival, leading it for nine years. Shearon holds degrees from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (MA, PhD) and Northwestern University (BMus).
Trained in historical musicology, Shearon also employs ethnomusicological methods in his research. His primary research interest currently is gospel music. As a specialist in gospel music history, he and Robert Darden revised and expanded the article of that name for The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2d ed. (Oxford University Press, 2013). As an historical ethnomusicologist, he studies the seven-shape-note convention-gospel tradition of the American South. He and videographer Mary Nichols produced the film documentary “I’ll Keep On Singing”: The Southern Gospel Convention Tradition (2010), which was broadcast on WNPT, Nashville Public Television, and can be viewed online at the Folkstreams website. MTSU’s Center for Popular Music, then under the direction of Paul Wells, produced with Shearon “Farther Along”: A Conference on the Southern Gospel Convention-Singing Tradition (April 4-5, 2008), which brought together both scholars and practitioners. He also has contributed numerous articles on gospel and related subjects to the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology (Canterbury Press, 2013), Music in American Life (ABC-CLIO, 2013), the Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music (Routledge, 2005), and the journal American Music.
Shearon also has done extensive historical research on the Christian music of seventeenth and eighteenth-century Europe, especially that of Naples and southern Italy and that of J. S. Bach during his Leipzig years. Some of the results of that research have been published in Puzzles in Paper: Concepts in Historical Watermarks (Oak Knoll Books; The British Library, 2000), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (Macmillan, 1992), and the Spanish journal Revista de Musicología. Over the years Shearon has presented papers at meetings of the International Musicological Society, the International Council for Traditional Music, the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for American Music, the American Folklore Society, the Società Italiana di Musicologia, the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Christian Congregational Music Conference (Oxford), the Music of the South Symposium, and the International Country Music Conference, among others.
COURSES RECENTLY TAUGHT (2005-2008)
MUHL 1620 - Music History II (Western classical music of the 17th & 18th centuries)
MUHL 2610 - Music III (Western classical music of the 19th & 20th centuries)
MUHL 3010 - History of Western Art Music I (Antiquity through Baroque)
MUHL 4630 & 5630 - 17 th and 18 th-Century Music (in the Western classical tradition)
MUHL 4650 & 6040 - Twentieth-Century Music (in the Western classical tradition)
MUHL 5070 - Music History Survey (review course for graduate students)
MUS 6620 - Bibliography and Research
MUS 6630 - Music Seminar: Populist, Progressive, and Socialist Ideals in American Music
MUS 6630 - Music Seminar: Music and Music-Cultures in American Protestantism
MUS 6640 - Thesis Research