Jordan College of Fine Arts
School of Music

Sarah Eyerly, Music History

Sarah Eyerly

Sarah Eyerly, Assistant Professor of Music History, holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology and criticism from the University of California, Davis, and a M.M. in historical performance practices from the Mannes College of Music. As a Fulbright Fellow to the Netherlands, she studied historical performance practices, including baroque rhetoric, gesture, and ornamentation at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague. Her research (supported by the American Musicological Society, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Consortium for Women and Research, and competitive fellowships from the University of California) explores the close relationship between the art of memory, literacy, and improvisation, as represented by archival records from the eighteenth-century German and American utopian communes of the Moravian church.

She is currently working on a book manuscript, Utopia Improvised: the Heavenly Lotteries of the Moravian Church, which details the literate practice of Moravian improvisers, and incorporates recent research in neurophysiology and neuropsychology linking the patterns and information ordering utilized by improvisers to structural patterning in the human brain. Her chapter on memory and improvisation will be published in 2009 by the Lehigh University Press in an edited volume on educational traditions in early America, and she will chair a session titled Improvisation in the Eighteenth Century on behalf of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music at the national meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies in March, 2010. She is currently writing articles on the sonic worlds of eighteenth-century religious utopias, and the pedagogical link between memory and music in the educational curricula of the Jansenist academies of Port-Royal and Moravian schools in Germany and the colonies. Her research interests also include the folk music of the bituminous mining communities of the Appalachians, and the music of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century pirate utopias of Morocco and the North African coast.

She has presented papers at the national meetings of the American Musicological Society and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the annual meeting of the International Musicological Society, and has been invited to speak at the Newberry Library, Moravian College, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. She has previously taught at UCLA and the University of Southern California, and has been appointed as a visiting scholar with UCLA's Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.

Courses taught:


  • Music History & Literature: 1850 to Present
  • Music History & Literature: 1680 to 1850
  • Music History & Literature: Antiquity, Middle Ages, and Renaissance
  • History and Analysis of Music: The Eighteenth Century
  • History of Rock and Roll
  • Music and Gender
  • History of Opera: Romantic Period
  • The Art SongWorld Music
  • Performance Studies
  • History of American Music
  • Introduction to Music Theory
  • Keyboard Methods
  • Early Music Ensemble


  • Introduction to Graduate Study
  • Research in Music
  • Improvisation in the Eighteenth Century

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