Chant--at AMS Milwaukee!

What is chant?  And, what does it mean to study chant?  The answer, of course, depends on whom you ask.  To some, chant is a seminal repertory of music with core issues revolving around source studies, the development and interpretation of musical notation, the fixity of melody over time and space, the regulation of tonality, and all manner of questions related to performance and performance practice.  To others, of course, chant is more of a cultural practice: a ritual that involves music but is not defined by it.  Such scholars approach chant as deeply entangled i

Medieval Songs for Easter

Here is a YouTube playlist of medieval music for Easter. (It's just that time of year.) I tried to pick the nicest recordings, and ones that seem actually to be medieval scores or arrangements but I don't claim expertise in this area - this is purely recreational.

Form in Performance: Song at the English Institute by Tessie Prakas

This year’s English Institute opened with a paper by Ardis Butterfield entitled “Why Medieval Lyric?” This title, a nod to Jonathan Culler’s benchmark essay “Why Lyric?” (2008), was a fittingly ambitious response to the theme of the conference; the Institute brings together a group of established scholars on a yearly basis to address a specific, typically capacious topic, and this year’s was “form.” Butterfield’s large-stakes title, though, was also fully merited by the skilful and wide-ranging turns in her paper: in asking,

Review of "Psalm Culture and the Politics of Translation"

“Psalm Culture and the Politics of Translation”, held at Queen Mary, University of London, showcased contributions that ranged across periods and disciplines. The 58 papers addressed topics in literature, art, music, and history, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the seventeenth century. While participants focused on works produced in England, many papers brought continental and transatlantic parallels to bear.

CFP: Performance of Women's Voices in Medieval Lyric: Theory and Evidence (May 8-11)

Performance of Women's Voices in Medieval Lyric: Theory and Evidence (May 8-11)
Session Sponsored by Medieval Studies Institute, Indiana University

Sounding out the past

Poet and blogger, Meirion Jordan, reflects on Leah Stuttard’s recent performance of ‘The Wool Merchant and the Harp,’ at Beverley and East Riding Early Music Festival, 2013


Polymerous Plainsong: Or, a coffee break for Foucault

 This post differs somewhat from my usual offering.  Rather than giving a decent review of the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society annual meeting, I will summarise the events of the day only briefly, referring those interested to the PMMS website for detailed abstracts of the papers.  Instead, I have decided to focus on a thought that was planted in my mind by chance at the meeting, and has si

The 30th Harlaxton Symposium, 16-19 July 2013: Language Networks in Medieval Britain

Convened by Ardis Butterfield and Elizabeth Eva Leach, a pair of sessions on music and literature relating to the overall conference theme of language networks comprised three paper-presentations and a linked concert given by the talented performers Ensemble Leones, directed by Marc Lewon ( The three papers took complementary stances on the theme, exploring a wealth of music and lyric from Britain and beyond, and especially the networks of which they formed part.

Sensing the sacred through music: conference review

‘Sensing the Sacred: Religion and the Senses, 1300-1800’ was the brainchild of a dynamic team of postgraduates from the University of York’s Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.

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