Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Committee Chair

Gregory Fuller

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Jonathon Kilgore

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Edward Hafer

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Travis Higa

Committee Member 5 School



Historically, choral conductors draw from Western European choral traditions when programming music. They tend to avoid selecting early American music, mainly due to lack of knowledge and exposure. Shaped-note music was a foundational component to the early American musical tradition. Upon entering college, many musicians have no concept of shaped-note music, and therefore often overlook this unique and rich heritage. Without the resources and skills, a conductor cannot be expected to feature this important genre in their choral programs. When asked about shaped-note music, most musicians reply that they know this music exists, but that is the extent of the matter. Some may refer to Sacred Harp music, also known as the four-shape tradition or fasola music, but there is another important form of this genre known as Convention Style music, or the seven shaped-note tradition. Choral conductors are not adequately educated in the shaped-note tradition; therefore, many of them avoid teaching and programming this music. The research in this document presents two main forms of shaped-note music, the Sacred Harp and Convention Style traditions. This doctoral project will compare their similarities and differences by exploring specific performance practice components including vocal techniques, tonal concepts, conducting approaches, and standing arrangements. Ultimately this research will provide readers with the knowledge and tools to help teach and perform these musical traditions.

Available for download on Sunday, September 01, 2024