Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Committee Chair

Maryann Kyle

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Kimberley Davis

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Edward Hafer

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

Taylor Hightower

Committee Member 5 Department



This dissertation offers a performer’s guide to six song cycles by Mississippi composers, including the structure and form of the songs, possible poetic interpretations, and performance practice techniques. The song cycles addressed are Samuel Jones’s Four Haiku, Howard Keever's Dreams, Raymond Liebau's Song Set I and Song Set II, and James Sclater's Three Songs on Texts of Emily Dickinson and Songs from “Telephone Poles.” For the purposes of this study, a Mississippi composer is defined as one who has a significant connection to Mississippi, either by birth or by having worked as a musician in the state for many years. Furthermore, each of these song cycles shares several commonalities that serve as limiting factors for this inquiry: none of these cycles has been included in the current literature on American art song; each cycle is written for voice and piano; and each contains poetry by published American writers. This performer’s guide to these six cycles provides the information necessary for curious musicians to sing, teach, and perform any of these song cycles.