Dr. Heather Sparling

Heather Sparling is a Professor of Ethnomusicology and the former Canada Research Chair in Musical Traditions (2013-2023) at Cape Breton University. She researches Gaelic song in Nova Scotia, vernacular dance in Cape Breton, and disaster songs of Atlantic Canada. She has particular research interests in revitalizing endangered languages with and through music, as well as in memorials, memorialization, and digital humanities. She is currently directing the SSHRC-funded Cainnt is Ceathramhan | Language & Lyrics project. She is also an award-winning teacher who helped develop CBU’s Music program as well as the Gaelic Language and Cultural Sustainability program. She is very active in the Nova Scotia Gaelic community. She is a fluent Gaelic and French speaker and is the principal flutist with the Cape Breton Orchestra.

- H. Sparling, 2023. Disaster Songs as Intangible Memorials in Atlantic Canada. Routledge.
- H. Sparling, 2014. Reeling Roosters & Dancing Ducks: Celtic Mouth Music. Sydney, NS: Cape Breton University Press. Shortlisted for the Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award (East Coast Literary Awards), 2015.

- H. Sparling and W. Marx (co-editors), 2021-Present. Brill book series: Death in History, Culture, and Society.
- MacDonell, E. and H. Sparling (co-editor), eds. 2022. Cànan tro Òrain (Language through Song): Lesson Plans Centred on Gaelic Song. Sydney, NS: Council of Atlantic University Libraries Pressbooks. Available online: https://caul-cbua.pressbooks.pub/gaelicsong/.
- H. Sparling (co-editor) and B. Echeverria, eds. Forthcoming. Special issue on Heritage Language Revitalization and Music. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.
- H. Sparling (co-editor) and C. McDonald, eds. In process. Transatlantic Transactions: Articles from the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention. Aberdeen: Elphinstone Institute, Aberdeen University.
- H. Sparling (co-editor) and N. Hesselink, eds. 2021. Stories of Emergence, Opportunity and Challenge in Canada’s University Music Programs. MUSICultures 48.
- H. Sparling, 2012-2021. General Editor, MUSICultures (semi-annual peer-reviewed journal of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music).
- H. Sparling (lead editor), S. Johnson and K. Harris Walsh, eds. 2015 [published 2017]. Guest editors of a special issue on percussive dance in Canada, Canadian Folk Music 49 (2/3). Available online: http://www.canfolkmusic.ca/index.php/cfmb/issue/view/59. 69 pages.
- H. Sparling (co-editor) and H. Johnson, eds, 2013. Refereed papers from Travelling in Time: Islands of the Past, Islands of the Future, International Small Island Cultures 8 Conference Proceedings; published online by the Small Island Cultures Research Initiative: https://www.sicri.net/isic2012

- H. Sparling, abstract submitted. Hook, Line, and Singer: Creation Processes Among Amateur Songwriters. In Song Studies: Approaches and Perspectives, eds. Morag Grant and Una McIlvenna. Amsterdam University Press (Song Studies series).
- H. Sparling (co-author) and C. McDonald, Submitted. Music & Disasters: Concerts as Commemorative Events. In Rock for a Cause, eds. Nick Baxter-Moore and Peter Grant. Publisher TBD.
- H. Sparling, in press. 21st Century Uses for 20th Century Nova Scotia Gaelic Song Collections: From Language Preservation to Revitalization and the Articulation of Cultural Values. In Cape Breton Island in Cultural and Historical Perspective, eds. Lachlan MacKinnon and Andrew Parnaby. Athabaska University Press.
- H. Sparling, 2019. Taking the Piss Out: Presentational & Participatory Elements in the Changing Cape Breton Milling Frolic. In Traditional Musics in Canada: Contemporary Expressions and Cultural Resonances, eds. Anna Hoefnagels, Sherry A. Johnson, and Judith Klassen, 114-44. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
- H. Sparling, 2017. “Sad and Solemn Requiems”: Disaster Songs and Complicated Grief in the Aftermath of Nova Scotia Mining Disasters. In Singing Death, 90-104, eds. Helen Dell and Helen Dickey. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
- H. Sparling, 2011. Cape Breton Island: Living in the Past? Gaelic Language, Song, and Competition. In Island Songs: A Global Repertoire, ed. Godfrey Baldacchino, 49-63. Lanham & Toronto: Scarecrow Press.
- H. Sparling, 2007. Transmission Processes in Cape Breton Gaelic Song Culture. In Folk Music, Traditional Music, Ethnomusicology: Canadian Perspectives, Past and Present, eds. Anna Hoefnagels and Gordon E. Smith, 13-26. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.  

- H. Sparling. Forthcoming. Silence, Absence, and Forgetting: Traditional Music and Dance Contests of Gaelic Cape Breton. MUSICultures.
- Echeverria, B. and H. Sparling (co-author). Forthcoming. Introduction. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, special issue on “Revitalizing Heritage Languages and Music.” (Non-peer reviewed introductory article.)
- MacIntyre, P. and H. Sparling (co-author). 2023. A Tartan Weave: Connecting the Experience of Flow in Traditional Music and Gaelic Language in Pursuit of Heritage Language Survival. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, special issue on “Revitalizing Heritage Languages and Music.” https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2022.2146124
- Baker, S., H. Sparling, and S. Baker (contributing author). 2023. A good return on investment? Cultural identification through learning traditional music and language in Gaelic Nova Scotia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, special issue on “Revitalizing Heritage Languages and Music.” https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2022.2143509
- H. Sparling (lead author), P. MacIntyre and S. Baker. 2022. Motivating Traditional Musicians to Learn a Heritage Language in Gaelic Nova Scotia. Ethnomusicology 66/1: 157-81.
- Hesselink, N. and H. Sparling (co-author). 2021. Music in Canadian Higher Education: Institutional Histories and Entanglements. MUSICultures 48: 171-7. (Non-peer reviewed introductory article.)
- L. Higgins, P. MacIntyre, J. Ross, and H. Sparling (contributing author). 2020. The Terror Management Effects of a Disaster Song. Psychology of Music 48/1: 137-49. P. MacIntyre, J. Ross, and H. Sparling (contributing author). 2019. Flow Experiences and Willingness to Communicate: Connecting Gaelic Language and Celtic Music. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 38/4: 536-45.
- H. Sparling. 2018. Squaring Off: The Forgotten Caller in Cape Breton Square Dancing. Yearbook of Traditional Music 50: 165-86.
- P. MacIntyre, S. Baker, and H. Sparling (co-author), 2017. The role of music in motivating Gaelic heritage language preservation on Cape Breton Island. Modern Language Journal. Special issue on Second Language Acquisition, eds. E. Ushioda and Z. Dörnyei. 101/3: 501-16.
- H. Sparling, 2015-16 [published 2017]. Canary in the Mine and the Concerns of Research Councils, Applied Ethnomusicologists, and Museum Professionals. Material Culture Review, special issue on Intangible Cultural Heritage, 82-83(2-1): 190-206.
- Scanlon, J, N. Johnston, A. Vandervalk, and H. Sparling (contributing author). 2012. 101 Years of Mine Disasters and 101 Years of Song: Testing the Accuracy of Folk Songs about Mine Disasters. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 30(1):34-60.
- C. McDonald and H. Sparling (co-author), 2010. Interpretations of Tradition: From Gaelic Song to Celtic Pop. Journal of Popular Music Studies 22/3: 309-28.
- H. Sparling, 2008. Categorically Speaking: Towards a Theory of (Musical) Genre in Cape Breton Gaelic Culture. Ethnomusicology 52/3: 401-425.
- H. Sparling, 2007. One Foot on Either Side of the Chasm: Mary Jane Lamond’s Gaelic Language Choice. Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures 1/1: 28-42. Available online from: http://www.shimajournal.org/issues/v1n1/f.%20Sparling%20Shima%20v1n1.pdf.
- H. Sparling, 2003. “Music is Language and Language is Music”: Language Attitudes and Musical Choices in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Ethnologies 25/2:145-171 (invited). Available online from: http://www.erudit.org/revue/ethno/2003/v25/n2/008052ar.html
- H. Sparling, 2000. Mitigating or Marketing Culture? Promoting Mouth Music in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Canadian Journal for Traditional Music 27:1-9. Available online from: http://cjtm.icaap.org/content/27/27_sparling.html