A Florida State University professor has received the 2021 Music in American Culture Award from the American Musicological Society, which recognizes the best writing on music in American culture.
Associate Professor of Musicology Sarah Eyerly received the honor for her book, “Moravian Soundscapes: A Sonic History of the Moravian Missions in Early Pennsylvania,” which explores Moravian music in 18th Century America and the sounds that influenced their religious culture. By intertwining ecomusicology and sound studies with religious and Native American studies, Eyerly uncovers the relationships between settlers and Native peoples as celebrated in song and worship.
“I am truly honored to receive this award from the American Musicological Society,” Eyerly said. “As a first-time book author, this project was inspired by my desire to use my background in historical performance and sound design to create a truly ‘sonic’ history of early Moravian communities within the context of the Seven Year’s War and the American Revolution.”
Through Eyerly’s detailed account of how audible and inaudible sounds and music affected the Moravians’ religious beliefs and cultural foundation, readers are compelled to take part in important conversations about settler colonialism and the survivance of Native American music and culture.
“Understanding music’s role in society involves exhaustive research of written sources and also performing and singing the music captured in early hymns and scores,” said Gregory Jones, associate dean of the College of Music. “Dr. Eyerly truly embodies this holistic approach to musicological research, as does our program in the College of Music.”
Eyerly said “Moravian Soundscapes” was a collaborative effort that involved community-based collaborators as well as graduate students in musicology, music performance and geography at FSU.
“I am grateful for the recognition that the Music in American Culture Award brings to collaborative teaching, research and publication in the humanities and to the committee’s recognition of scholarship on early American history that actively attempts to reach non-academic audiences,” Eyerly said.
The book is also a finalist for the Waterloo Center for German Studies Book Prize.
Eyerly is a member of the FSU Native American and Indigenous Studies committee and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Musicological Society and the Mozart Society of America. Her research interests include performance practice, sound studies, Native American music and the geo-humanities.
Her work in the field also has been recognized by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the American Musicology Society, and the Society for American Music.
For more information, visit music.fsu.edu.