The choral music of Keaton Lee Scott: a comprehensive study of an Alabama native

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University of Alabama Libraries

K. Lee Scott, a resident of Birmingham, Alabama, is a living composer of choral, instrumental, and vocal music who has received commendation from conductors, composers, musicologists, and publishers. Scott has composed over three hundred works with both sacred and secular texts. Ninety percent of Scott’s works are commissions from university, high school, church, and community choirs throughout the United States and from choirs in Canada, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Several university and professional choirs have recorded Scott’s music, including The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), The University of Mississippi, Brigham Young University, The University of Miami, The Lee Scott Singers, and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. His compositional attributes include an avoidance of trivial rhythmic motives, controlled diatonic harmonic structure, an inclination towards reflective and insightful texts, and an obvious understanding and appreciation for ancient church traditions and their continued relevance and application. Further, Scott understands for whom he composes, their musical and technical abilities, and creates music that is accessible to both singers and audiences. The influence of composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Paul Hindemith, and Igor Stravinsky is identified in Scott’s specific use of rhythmic and harmonic devices. These facts act as a catalyst for this study and have led to the discovery of three basic issues: (1) in no known source has the entire body of work been examined for style or musical content; (2) Scott’s compositional style, including text selection, melodic construction, rhythmic motives and development, and harmonic structure techniques, have been minimally studied in previous research; (3) there are no conclusive comparisons of Scott’s use of traditional sacred texts such as Te Deum with that of other known composers. This study enables conductors, composers, teachers, and scholars to gain a better understanding of the music of K. Lee Scott and his distinct compositional style. Further, knowledge of Scott’s compositional style allows the choral conductor and teacher to engage in an informed performance of Scott’s Te Deum. Through analysis of several key works within Scott’s oeuvre and subsequent comparison to other well-known composers, teachers and conductors will be able to find new teaching and programming opportunities.

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