The Songs of St. Godric: A Neglected Context

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Helen Deeming


Music & Letters, Volume 86, Number 2, p.169–185 (2005)



The songs attributed to St Godric are the earliest English songs to survive with musical notation. They are preserved in manuscripts of the saint's biography, but the precise relationship between the music and its manuscript context has never before been established. That the songs came to be written down at all, at a time when plainchant was the only music routinely recorded in writing, is testament to the significance attached by the scribes of these manuscripts to the saintliness of the songs' authorship. Close examination of the sources has revealed new information about how and why the songs came to be copied in them, and new discoveries about their notation have facilitated new critical editions.


{ArticleType:} research-article / Full publication date: May, 2005 / Copyright © 2005 Oxford University Press