Nicholas Shea

Nick is a graduate student in music theory and member of the CSML at OSU. His research focus can be best described as an empirical approach to music theory. Some of his recent projects include a corpus analysis of metric schemata in 19th century French and Italian operas, a longitudinal evaluation of performer tempo preferences in Chopin’s mazurkas, and a corpus/behavioral study that measures affect associations to descending bass (i.e., “lament”) schema in common-practice and popular songs. Continuing work performed with Christopher White as a master’s student in music theory at UMass Amherst, he has also helped to develop a sequence of perceptual studies that on the relationship between tonal hierarchy and metric emphasis. A summary of this project can be found on the So Strangely podcast . For his dissertation, he is in the process of developing a corpus of fully realized popular music (ca. 1950-present) to address how physical instrument and pitch[class] spaces interact to define harmonic function, formal boundaries, and even genre. For more information on these projects and access to his data, see his personal website.

Select presentations:

Shea, N. (July, 2018) “Do Descending Bass Lines Signal Sadness?” International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Montreal, QC, Canada. [Long Format Talk]

White, C. Gill, D. & Shea, N. (July, 2018). “Some Influences of Chord Progression on Accent.” International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Montreal, QC, Canada. [Long Format Talk]

Shea, N. (April, 2018) “How Guitar (Hero) Performance Can Convey Harmonic and Formal Function in Pop-Rock Music.” Music Theory Society of New York State, Hunter College, New York, NY.

Hansen, N. & Shea. N. (April, 2018). “‘Too Fast for Comfort’: A Historical Performance Analysis Relating Performer Age, Recording Year, and Musical Apprenticeship to Tempo Choice in Piano Recordings.”  Music Theory Society of New York State, Hunter College, New York, NY.

Shea, N. (November, 2017). “Meter in French and Italian Opera, 1809-1859.” Society for Music Theory 40th Annual Meeting, Arlington, VA.