Dr. Stephen Shearon
Professor of Musicology
Stephen Shearon is professor of musicology and coordinator of graduate studies in the School of Music. He teaches courses to both undergraduates and graduate students on the history of Western classical music, the history of American music, and research. He also is involved in curriculum development and development of the Philip C. Howard Music Library.
Shearon seeks to understand music as a global phenomenon found in all human cultures at all socio-economic levels and believes that students studying music should have a foundation that helps them understand it in its global and cultural breadth. Within that purview his research interests center on sacred music: in particular, certain Christian sacred-music cultures. Currently he is studying the world of southern gospel convention singing, an amateur musical tradition based primarily in the southern United States. This tradition emphasizes the ability to read music using seven-shape notation, by which people sing, play, and lead newly written gospel songs by amateur songwriters. The tradition is supported by a broad network of churches and singing schools and is served by a handful of publishers in the tradition of James D. Vaughan and Stamps-Baxter. Since 2005 Shearon has presented papers on this subject at two MusicoftheSouthSymposia (Oxford, MS), the SocietyforAmericanMusic, the Tennessee Music Educators Association, the International Country Music Conference, and most recently at the "Farther Along" Conference, which he helped conceive and organize. During Fall 2008 he will speak at the annual meetings of The Society for Ethnomusicology (Wesleyan University, October 25-28) and the American Musicological Society (Nashville, November 6-9). During Spring 2009 he will speak at the annual meeting of The Society for American Music (Denver, March 18-22) and at "'The Train Just Don't Stop Here Anymore': An Interdisciplinary Colloquium on the Soundscapes of Rural and Small-Town America" (Millikin University, Decatur, IL, April 3-4). With videographer Dr. Mary Nichols (Department of Electronic Media Communication) he received a grant to undertake a documentary on this important American musical tradition. He also is completing a modern edition of the Reminiscences of Aldine S. Kieffer, an important early figure in the tradition.
In prior years Shearon's research interests included Italian and German vocal music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Western art music of the twentieth century, and American music of all types. He presented papers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy, and his publications included articles on both Neapolitan sacred music of the early eighteenth century and the southern American shape-note tradition. In 1998, he was one of fifteen scholars selected to participate in the NEH Summer Seminar on "Palace Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Rome" at the American Academy in Rome, and in 1997 served as president of the South-Central Chapter of the American Musicological Society, hosting their annual meeting at MTSU.
Before coming to MTSU, Shearon was a visiting assistant professor at St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and held temporary posts and graduate assistantships at North Carolina State University, the Duke University Chapel, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shearon received his Bachelor of Music degree in music theory and composition from Northwestern University and completed the M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with studies on Johann Sebastian Bach's Leipzig choirs and sacred music in early eighteenth-century Naples, respectively.
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