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Faculty of Music

Prof Susan  Rankin


Emeritus Professor of Medieval Music


Susan Rankin is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Music at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. Her research interests lie in two directions: on the one hand, the manuscript transmission and forms of writing of music in the early middle ages, and, on the other hand, ritual expressed in music throughout the middle ages. Her most recent publication is a monograph on the music scripts and notations invented by the Carolingians (Writing Sound in Carolingian Europe, CUP 2018), and she has recently finished a second ‘Carolingian’ book (Sounding the Word of God: Carolingian Books for Singers) based on the Conway lectures delivered at the University of Notre Dame Indiana in 2017.  In 2019–2020 she is a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, working with Margot Fassler towards a book in which dramatic modes of action in and alongside the medieval liturgy – from dramatic liturgy of the ninth century to sequences composed in the fifteenth – will be examined.  She was awarded the Dent Medal in 1995 and is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Academia Europaea, Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and Corresponding Member of the American Musicological Society.



Key publications: 



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


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


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


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


(with Eduardo Henrik Aubert), ed., Actes du colloque d’Auxerre. Notarum figura: l'écriture musicale et le monde des signes au IXe siècle (= Études grégoriennes 40, 2013)


Writing Sounds in Carolingian Europe. The Invention of Musical Notation (Cambridge: CUP, 2018)





Carolingian and earlier music

(including Gregorian chant, manuscript sources, and notations)


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


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


Catalogue entries for seven items (one ivory and six mss) in the 1999 Paderborn exhibition: Katalog der Ausstellung Paderborn 1999, ed. C. Stiegemann and M. Wernhoff, 2 vols (Mainz 1999): XI.30 (829–30), XI.31 (830–31), XI.34 (836–38); XI.44 (855–56); XI.46 (857–58); XI.47 (858–60); XI.48 (860–62)


Review of J. McKinnon’s The Advent Project (University of California Press: Berkeley, 2000) for Plainsong and Medieval Music 11/1 (2002), 73–82


‘The Making of Carolingian Mass Chant Books’, in Quomodo cantabimus canticum. Studies in Honor of Edward H. Roesner, eds. David Butler Cannata, Gabriela Ilnitchi Currie, Rena Charmin Mueller and John Louis Nádas (American Institute of Musicology: Wisconsin, 2008), 37–63


Terribilis est locus iste: The Pantheon in 609’, in Rhetoric beyond Words. Delight and Persuasion in the Arts of the Middle Ages, ed. Mary Carruthers (Cambridge: CUP, 2010), 281–310


‘Calligraphy and the Study of Neumatic Notations’, in The Calligraphy of Medieval Music, ed. John Haines (Musicalia Medii Aevi 1), (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), 47–62


‘On the Treatment of Pitch in Early Music Writing’, Early Music History 30 (2011), 105–75


‘La “notation oratoire” de Dom Mocquereau : un nouvel examen’, Études grégoriennes 38 (2011), 21–36


‘Typologies of Ninth-Century Music Notations’, Études grégoriennes 39 (2012), 33–49


‘Écrire les sons: créations des premières notations musicales’, Cahiers de civilisation médiévales 55 (2012), 379–92


‘Capturing Sounds: The Notation of Language’, in Cantus scriptus. Technologies of Medieval Song, ed. Lynn Ransom and Emma Dillon (Piscataway: Gorgias, 2012), 11–41


‘Beyond the Boundaries of Roman-Frankish Chant: Alcuin’s de laude dei and Other Early Medieval Sources of Office Chants’, in M. S. Cuthbert, S. Gallagher and C. Wolff, eds., City, Chant, and the Topography of Early Music. In Honor of Thomas Forrest Kelly, Isham Library Papers 8 (Cambridge, Mass.: University of Harvard Press, 2013), 229–62


‘Identity and Diversity: The Idea of Regional Musical Notations’, in ‘Nationes’, ‘Gentes’ und die Musik im Mittelalter, ed. Frank Hentschel and Marie Winkelmüller (Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter 2014), 375–93


‘Carolingian liturgical books: problems of categorization’, Gazette du livre médiéval 62 (2016), 21–33


‘Vor Sankt Gallen: Klänge einfangen – Notationen gestalten – Musik aufschreiben zwischen 800 und 900’, Beiträge zur Gregorianik 65/66 (2019), 53–74


‘Singing the Psalter in the Early Middle Ages’, in Daniel DiCenso and Rebecca Maloy (eds.), Chant, Liturgy, and the Inheritance of Rome. Essays in Honour of Joseph Dyer, Henry Bradshaw Society Subsidia 8 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2017), 271–89


‘Writing and Reading. Word and Sound in the Ninth Century’, in eds., Christelle Cazaux-Kowalski, Christelle Chaillou-Amadieu, Anne-Zoé Rillon-Marne, Fabio Zinelli, eds. , Les noces de philologie et musicologie: Textes et musiques du Moyen Âge, Rencontres 281 (Paris: Garnier, 2018), 175–94



Chant, beyond the early middle ages


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


‘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)


‘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



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), commentaries on trope sets: ‘Nativitas “in die”’, 243–8; ‘Purificatio’, 304–8; ‘Ascensio’, 353–63; ‘Pentecoste’, 36–74; ‘Assumptio’, 438–43; ‘Martinus’, 466–69


‘Old Hispanic Amplifications of the Trisagion and Sanctus in the Léon Antiphoner’, in El canto mozárabe y su entorno. Estudios sobre la música de la liturgia viejo hispánica, ed. Ismáel Fernandez de la Cuesta, Rosario Álvarez Martínez and Ana Llorens Martín (Madrid: Sociedad Española de Musicologia, 2013), 469–86


‘The Juxtaposition of Music and Grammar. Some Case Studies’ in R. H. Bremmer Jr. and Kees Dekker (eds.), Fruits of Learning. The Transfer of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages, Storehouses of Wholesome Learning 4 (Leuven: Peeters, 2016), 15–33




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


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


Review of W.L. Smoldon’s The Music of the Medieval Church Drama (Oxford: OUP, 1980) for Journal of the Plainsong and Mediaeval Music Society 4 (1981/2), 81–3


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


‘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


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


‘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


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


‘ “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





Early Polyphony


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


‘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


Organa dulcisona docto modulamine compta: Rhetoric and Musical Composition in the Winchester Organa’, in Anna Zayaruznaya, Bonnie J. Blackburn and Stanley Boorman (eds.), Qui musicam in se habet. Studies in Honor of Alejandro Enrique Planchart (American Institute of Musicology: Wisconsin, 2015), 763–780


‘A Tenth-Century Fleury Organum’, in Beredte Musik. Konversationen zum 80. Geburtstag von Wulf Arlt, ed. Martin Kirnbauer, Schola Cantorum Basiliensis Scripta 8 (Basel, 2019), 335–43



English Music (including manuscript sources and notations)


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


Entries on eight manuscripts in Cambridge Music Manuscripts, ed. I. Fenlon (Cambridge, 1982): 1 (3–6); 3 (10–13); 5 (17–20); 7 (24–29); 9 (32–37); 18 (62–66); 25 (81–84); 28 (90–94)


Report on Lincoln Cathedral MS 52 (14th-c fragment) within ‘New Sources of English Polyphony’, R. Bowers and A. Wathey, Early Music History 3 (1983), 137–53


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


‘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


‘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


‘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


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


‘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



‘Music at Wulfstan’s Cathedral’, in: St Wulfstan and his World, ed. Julia Barrow and Nicholas Brooks (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), 219–29                   


‘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 Subsidia 5 (London, 2005), 29–52


Review, with Michael Gullick, of K. D. Hartzell, Catalogue of Manuscripts written or owned in England up to 1200 containing Music (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2006), for Early Music History 28 (2009), 262–83


‘Music Books’, in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, I: c.400-1100, ed. Richard Gameson (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 482–506


‘Fragments of a Missal from the Old Minster, Winchester (Oslo, Riksarchivet Mi 14)’, in Latin Manuscripts of Medieval Norway. Studies in Memory of Lilli Gjerløw, ed. Espen Karlsen (Oslo: Novus Press, 2013), 67–81



Sankt Gallen


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


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


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


‘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


‘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


‘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

[rep. in Oral and Written Transmission in Chant, ed. Thomas Forrest Kelly (Ashgate, 2009)]


‘Notker bibliothecarius’, in Katie Buygis, A. B. Kraebel and Margot Fassler (eds.), Medieval Cantors and their Craft. Music, Liturgy, and the Shaping of History (800-1500) (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press with Boydell and Brewer, 2016), 41-58


Ut a patribus audivimus: Tuotilo as framed by Ekkehard IV’, in David Ganz and Cornel Dora (eds.), Tuotilo. Archäologie eines frühmittelalterlichen Kunstlers, Monasterium sancti Galli 8 (Basel: Schwabe, 2017), 195–211







Review of E. Roesner’s Les quadrupla et tripla de Paris, Le Magnus Liber Organi de Notre Dame de Paris I (Monaco: Editions de l’Oiseau Lyre, 1993) for Journal of the Royal Musical Association 122 (1997), 281–8


‘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), 31–18


‘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


‘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


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


‘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


Naturalis concordia vocum cum planetis: Conceptualizing the Harmony of the Spheres in the Early Middle Ages’ in Suzannah Clark and Elizabeth Eva Leach, eds., Citation and Authority in Medieval and Renaissance Musical Culture: Learning from the Learned, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music 4 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2005), 3–19


‘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


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Emmanuel College