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Prof Susan Rankin

Prof Susan Rankin

Professor of Medieval Music

Emmanuel College
Cambridge CB2 3AP


Susan Rankin holds a personal chair in the University of Cambridge as ‘Professor of Medieval Music’. She was educated at the universities of Cambridge, King’s College London and Paris (École Pratique des Hautes Études, IVeme section). Her scholarly work engages with music of the middle ages through its sources and notations and through its place and meaning within ritual. Those ways in which music was exploited as an element within church ritual, and especially in dramatic ceremonies, have formed a long-term focus of study. A second focus has been the palaeography of musical sources copied at Sankt Gallen in the early middle ages. Most recently she has edited a facsimile of the early eleventh-century ‘Winchester Troper’ (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 473), demonstrating to what extent it is possible to transcribe the earliest European repertory of two-part polyphony. In Spring 2007 she gave the Lowe lectures at the University of Oxford entitled ‘Impressed on the Memory: Musical Sounds and Notations in the Ninth Century’, and this forms the basis of her current project while based at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. She was elected fellow of the British Academy in 2009.

Subject groups/Research projects

Early Music:

(Medieval Sacred Music)*

Colleges, Departments and Institutes

Emmanuel College:

Key Publications


1 The Music of the Medieval Liturgical Drama in France and England, 2 vols (New York and London: Garland, 1989)

2 (with D. Hiley), ed., Music in the Medieval English Liturgy: Plainsong and Mediæval Music Society Centennial Essays (Oxford: OUP, 1993)

3 (with W. Arlt), ed., Stiftsbibliothek St Gallen Codices 484 & 381, facs ed. with commentary, 3 vols (Winterthur: Amadeus,1996)

4 The Winchester Troper, Introduction and Facsimile, Early English Church Music 50 (London: Stainer and Bell, 2007)


1 ‘Shrewsbury School MS VI: A Medieval Part-Book?’, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 102 (1975/6), 129–144

2 ‘The Mary Magdalene Scene in Visitatio Sepulchri Ceremonies’, Early Music History 1 (1981), 227–55

3 ‘A New English Source of the Visitatio Sepulchri’, Journal of the Plainsong and Mediaeval Music Society 4 (1981/2), 1–11

4 ‘From Memory to Record: Musical Notations in Manuscripts from Exeter’, Anglo-Saxon England 13 (1984), 97–112

5 ‘The Earliest Sources of Notker's Sequences: St Gall Vadiana 317 and Paris Bibliothèque nationale lat. 10587', Early Music History 10 (1991), 201–33

6 ‘Ego itaque Notker scripsi’, Revue bénédictine 101 (1991), 268–98

7 ‘Notker und Tuotilo: Schöpferische Gestalter in einer neuen Zeit’, Schweizer Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991), 17–42

8 ‘The Divine Truth of Scripture: Chant in the Roman de Fauvel’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 47 (1994), 203–43

9 ‘From Liturgical Ceremony to Public Ritual: Quem queritis at St Mark's, Venice’, in Da Bisanzio a San Marco. Musica e Liturgia, Quaderni di “Musica e Storia” 2 , ed. G. Cattin (Venice, 1997), 137-91

10 ‘Between Oral and Written: Thirteenth-Century Italian Sources of Polyphony’, in Un millennio di polifonia liturgica tra oralità e scrittura, ed. G. Cattin and F.A. Gallo, Quaderni di “Musica e Storia” 3 (2002), 75-98

11 ‘Some Medieval Songs’, Early Music 31 (2003), Close Readings: Essays in Honour of John Stevens and Philip Brett, 327-344

12 ‘An Early-Eleventh-Century Missal Fragment copied by Eadwig Basan: Bodleian Library, Ms. Lat. Liturg.d.3, fols. 4-5', Bodleian Library Record 18/3 (2004), 220-252


1 ‘Les Drames du manuscrit 201 de la Bibliothèque municipale d'Orléans’, in Les Sources en Musicologie (Paris: Champion, 1981), 67–78

2 ‘Musical and Ritual Aspects of Quem queritis’, in Liturgische Tropen, Referate zweier Colloquien des Corpus Troporum in München (1983) und Canterbury (1984), Münchener Beiträge zur Mediavistik und Renaissance-Forschung 36, ed. Gabriel Silagi (Munich: Arbeo- Gesellschaft, 1985), 181–9

3 ‘The Liturgical Background of the Old English Advent Lyrics: A Reappraisal’, in Learning and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England: Studies Presented to Peter Clemoes, ed. M. Lapidge and H. Gneuss (Cambridge: CUP, 1985), 317–40

4 ‘Neumatic Notations in Anglo-Saxon England’, in Musicologie médiévale: Notations et Séquences, Actes de la Table Ronde du CNRS à l'IRHT 1982, ed. M. Huglo (Paris: Champion, 1987), 129–44

5 Chapter 8: ‘Liturgical Drama’, in The New Oxford History of Music: The Early Middle Ages to 1300, Vol. 22, ed. R. Crocker and D. Hiley (Oxford: OUP, 1990), 310–56

6 ‘Winchester Polyphony: The Early Theory and Practice of Organum’, in Music in the Medieval English Liturgy (Oxford, 1993), 59–99 (see under ‘Books’ above)

7 ‘From Tuotilo to the First Manuscripts: The Shaping of a Trope Repertory at St Gall’, in Recherches nouvelles sur les tropes liturgiques, Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis 36, ed. W. Arlt and G. Björkvall (Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell, 1993), 395–413

8 ‘Carolingian Music’, in Carolingian Culture: Emulation and Innovation, ed. R. McKitterick (Cambridge: CUP, 1993), 274–316

9 ‘The Song School of St Gall in the Later Ninth Century’, in The Arts and Letters in Medieval and Baroque St Gall Viewed from the Twentieth Century, ed. J.C. King (New York: Peter Lang, 1993) 173–98

10 ‘Ways of Telling Stories’, in Essays on Medieval Music in Honor of David G. Hughes, Isham Library Papers 4, ed. G.M. Boone (Harvard: Harvard UP, 1995), 371–94 [Now reprinted in: Oral and Written Transmission in Chant, ed. Thomas Forrest Kelly (Ashgate, 2009), ?–?]

11 ‘Some Reflections on Liturgical Music at Late Anglo-Saxon Worcester’, in St Oswald of Worcester: Life and Influence, ed. N. Brooks and C. Cubitt (London and New York: Leicester UP, 1996), 325–48

12 ‘The Alleluyes, antenes, respons, ygnes et verssez in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale fonds français 146: A Catalogue Raisonné’, in International Fauvel Colloquium, ed. M. Bent and A. Wathey (Oxford: OUP, 1997)

13 ‘Observations on Senleches’ En attendant esperance’ (contribution to Round Table ‘Intertextualität im Lied des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts’) in Musik als Text: Bericht über den internationalen Kongress der Gesellschaft für Musikforschung, ed. H. Danuser (Kassel and London: Bärenreiter, 1998), 314-18

14 ‘Die Musik der Karolinger’, in Beiträge zum Katalog der Ausstellung Paderborn 1999, ed. C. Stiegemann and M. Wernhoff (Mainz: von Zabern, 1999), 718-31

15 ‘Taking the Rough with the Smooth: Melodic Versions and Manuscript Status’, in: The Divine Office: Studies in Honor of Ruth Steiner, ed. M. E. Fassler & R.A. Baltzer (Oxford: OUP, 2000), 213-53

16 ‘The Study of Medieval Music: Some Thoughts on Past, Present and Future’, in Musicology and Sister Disciplines. Past, Present and Future. Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of the International Musicological Society. London 1997, ed. D. Greer (Oxford: OUP, 2000), 154-168

17 ‘Exultent gentes occidentales: The Compostelan Office of St James’, in El Códice Calixtino y la Música de su tempo, ed. J. López-Calo and C. Villanueva (Coruna: Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza, 2002), 311-30

18 ‘St Swithun in Medieval Liturgical Music’, in The Cult of St Swithun, ed. Michael Lapidge, Winchester Studies IV/1 (Oxford: OUP, 2003), 191-213

19 ‘Liturgia drammatica e dramma liturgico’, in Enciclopedia della musica 4: Storia della musica europea, ed. J.-J. Nattiez (Turin: Einaudi, 2004), 94-117

20 ‘Music at Wulfstan's Cathedral’, in: St Wulfstan and his World, ed. J. Barrow and N. Brooks (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), 219-29

21 ‘Making the Liturgy: Winchester Scribes and their Books’, in The Liturgy of the late Anglo- Saxon Church, ed. Helen Gittos and M. Bradford Bedingfield, Henry Bradshaw Society sub. 5 (London, 2005), 29-52

22 ‘De la lune à la terre: musique des sphères, musique des hommes’, in Les représentations de la musique au Moyen Âge, Les cahiers du musée de la musique 6 (Paris, 2005), 10-21

23 ‘Naturalis concordia vocum cum planetis: Conceptualizing the Harmony of the Spheres in the Early Middle Ages’ in S. Clark and E.E. Leach, eds., Citation and Authority in Medieval and Renaissance Musical Culture: Learning from the Learned, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music 4 (Woodbridge, 2005), 3-19

24 ‘Polyphonic Notations in Eleventh-Century Sources from England and France’, in M.C. Vela, D. Sabaino, S. Aresi, eds., Le notazioni della polifonia vocale dei secoli IX-XVII (Pisa, Edizioni ETS, 2007), 151-61

25 ‘The Making of Carolingian Mass Chant Books’, in Quomodo cantabimus canticum. Studies in honor of Edward H. Roesner, eds. Rena Mueller and John Nadas (American Institute of Musicology, 2008)

26 ‘Thirteenth-Century Notations of Music and Arts of Performance’ in Vom Preis des Fortschritts. Gewinn und Verlust in der Musikgeschichte, eds. Andreas Haug and Andreas Dorschel (Vienna, London and New York, 2008), 110-41.

27 ‘ “Quem queritis” en voyage in Italy’, in Itinerari e Stratificazioni dei Tropi. San Marco, l’Italia Settentrionale e le Regioni Transalpine, eds. Wulf Arlt and Giulio Cattin (Edizioni Fondazione Levi, Venice, 2008), 177-207.

28 In Itinerari e Stratificazioni dei Tropi (see above) comentaries on trope sets: ‘Nativitas “in die”’, 243-8; ‘Purificatio’, 304-8; ‘Ascensio’, 353-63; ‘Pentecoste’, 369-74; ‘Assumptio’, 438-43; ‘Martinus’, 466-69.