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August Sheehy

Assistant Professor, History/Theorysheehy

August Sheehy’s research examines the relationship between music analysis and history, with a focus on German-speaking Europe between the French Revolution and WWII. His work demonstrates the ways in which music theory and analysis connect musical experience to other domains of knowledge— politics and law, religion and theology, philosophy and psychology, art and culture—and investigates the personal, political, and social effects of these connections. His current projects examine the historical origins of sonata form as a theoretical concept, the popularization of Roman numeral harmonic analysis, and the entanglements of music theory and biopolitics. He also has research interests in jazz and improvisation.

Recent seminars Sheehy has taught include Music Theory and Biopolitics, The Politics of Musical Form and Schenkerian (Psycho-) Analysis. He also teaches proseminars on techniques of tonal analysis centered on specific pieces (e.g., Beethoven’s Op. 18 String Quartets, Duke Ellington’s songs) and “Histories of Music Theory,” as well as undergraduate courses in music theory, analysis, and improvisation.

Sheehy has presented his work at numerous national and international conferences including the American Musicological Society, Society for Music Theory, Perspectives on Musical Improvisation (Oxford University), and the German Studies Association. His articles have been published in Music Theory Online and Debussy’s Resonance (Rochester University Press, 2018). A recipient of a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship (2015–16) for work in religious studies and ethics, Sheehy was also the co-editor, with Margarethe Adams, of a special issue of the Yale Journal of Music and Religion on “ Sound and Secularity.” 


  • PhD in Music History and Theory, University of Chicago
  • MA in Music Theory, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • BM in Composition, Berklee College of Music