Moravian Soundscapes: Hearing New Histories of Early America

Date/Time
Tue, Oct 26, 2021
5:00 pm EDT - 6:30 pm EDT


This presentation by Sarah Eyerly explores the soundscapes and musical practices of eighteenth-century Moravian mission communities in eastern Pennsylvania. The sonic histories of these communities provide new insights into the ways that music and sound functioned as a site of cultural encounter between European missionaries and Indigenous communities in early America, demonstrating the rich and multifaceted meanings that eighteenth-century music and history hold for contemporary Americans.

Bio

Sarah Eyerly is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Musicology, Curtis Mayes Orpheus Professor of Musicology, and Director of the Early Music Program at Florida State University.

Her recent book and sound mapping project, Moravian Soundscapes (Series: Music, Nature, Place; Indiana University Press, 2020), is a sonic history of Moravian mission communities during the period of the Seven Year’s War and the American Revolution. Her co-authored article and digital project, “Singing Box 331: Re-Sounding Eighteenth-Century Mohican Hymns from the Moravian Archives,” received the Srinivas Aravamudan Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Robert F. Heizer Article Award from the American Society for Ethnohistory, and the Lester J. Cappon Award from the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture. Additionally, she received the Marjorie Weston Emerson Award from the Mozart Society of America for her article, “Mozart and the Moravians.”

Her current projects include a biography and documentary film on the life of eighteenth-century Mohican musician, Joshua, as well as a study of heritage tourism and Indigenous representation at the Gnadenhütten massacre site in Ohio, and sound reconstruction of the Apalachee and Spanish musical culture of Mission San Luis in Tallahassee, FL. She has received grants, fellowships, and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and the Council for Research and Creativity. She has been appointed as a Faculty Fellow in Data Humanities at FSU. She is past president of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music, and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Musicological Society and the Mozart Society of America.

Additional Reading

Moravian Soundscapes: A Sonic History of the Moravian Missions in Early America. Series: Music, Nature, Place (Indiana University Press, 2020): https://moraviansoundscapes.music.fsu.edu

“Music in Unexpected Places: Hearing New Histories of Early American Music,” in Sounding Together: Collaborative Perspectives on U.S. Music in the 21st Century, Charles Hiroshi Garrett and Carol Oja, eds. (University of Michigan Press, 2021): https://www.press.umich.edu/11374592

“Singing Box 331: Re-Sounding Eighteenth-Century Mohican Hymns from the Moravian Archives,” The William and Mary Quarterly 76/4 (October 2019): 649–96, https://oieahc.wm.edu/digital-projects/oi-reader/singing-box-331-rachel-wheeler-sarah-eyerly/.

“Mozart and the Moravians,” Early Music 47/2 (May, 2019): 161–82, https://doi.org/10.1093/em/caz023