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Faculty and Staff Profiles

Shaugn O'Donnell

Department Chair, Associate Professor/Theory


Division of Humanities and the Arts




Shepard Hall 72C

p: 212-650-7683


  • Profile

    Shaugn O’Donnell is a guitarist and theorist specializing in twentieth-century music. His research interests include post-tonal analysis, transformation theory, and popular music, particularly psychedelia and rock improvisation. He is also a member of the music theory faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center.

  • Education

    Ph.D., Music Theory (1997) Graduate Center, City University of New York
    M.A., Music Theory (1991) Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, City University of New York
    B.A., Music, Secondary Education (1989) Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, City University of New York

  • Courses Taught

    Graduate Courses:

    • MUS V2100 – Tonal Harmony
    • MUS V2200 – Post-Tonal Theory
    • MUS V6801 – Rock Analysis
    • MUS 74100 – Introduction to the Analysis of Post-Tonal Music [Graduate Center]
    • MUS 84200 – Rock Analysis [Graduate Center]

    Undergraduate Courses:

    • MUS 13200 – Theory I: Diatonic Harmony and Voice Leading
    • MUS 23100 – Theory II: Chromatic Harmony and Voice Leading
    • MUS 23200 – Theory III: Tonal Form and Analysis
    • MUS 33100 – Theory IV: Twentieth-Century Techniques
    • MUS 40011 – Pink Floyd
    • MUS 42000 – Rock Analysis
  • Publications

    2010. American Chaos: Charles Ives and the Grateful Dead. In The Grateful Dead in Concert: Essays on Live Improvisation, edited by Jim Tuedio and Stan Spector, 58–70. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Publishers.

    2007. Embracing Relational Abundance. Music Theory Online 13.3.

    2007. Bobby, Béla, and Borrowing in “Victim or the Crime.” In All Graceful Instruments: The Contexts of the Grateful Dead Phenomenon, edited by Nicholas Meriwether, 38–51. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press.

    2006. Review of What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis by Ken Stephenson (Yale University Press, 2002). Music Theory Spectrum 28.1: 132–140.

    2005. “On the Path”: Tracing Tonal Coherence in Dark Side of the Moon. In “Speak to Me”: The Legacy of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, edited by Russell Reising, 87–103. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing.

    2002. Sailing to the Sun: Revolver's Influence on Pink Floyd. In “Every Sound There Is”: The Beatles' Revolver and the Transformation of Rock and Roll, edited by Russell Reising, 69–86. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing.

    1999. Space, Motion, and Other Musical Metaphors. In Perspectives on the Grateful Dead: Critical Writings, edited by Robert G. Weiner, 127–135. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

    1998. Klumpenhouwer Networks, Isography, and the Molecular Metaphor. Intégral 12: 53–80.

    1996. Linear Ordering of the Chromatic Aggregate in Classical Symphonic Music, co-authored with Henry Burnett. Music Theory Spectrum 18.1: 22–50.

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