Medieval Cantors and their Craft

March 2017
21 black and white, 3 line illustrations
391 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Writing History in the Middle Ages
ISBN: 9781903153673
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
York Medieval Press
BIC HBLC1, 1D, 2AB, 3H
BISAC HIS037010, MUS048010, REL033000

Medieval Cantors and their Craft

Music, Liturgy and the Shaping of History, 800-1500

Edited by Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis, A.B. Kraebel, Margot E. Fassler

First full-length study of the role and duties of the medieval cantor.
Cantors made unparalleled contributions to the way time was understood and history was remembered in the medieval Latin West. The men and women who held this office in cathedrals and monasteries were responsible for calculating the date of Easter and the feasts dependent on it, for formulating liturgical celebrations season by season, managing the library and preparing manuscripts and other sources necessary to sustain the liturgical framework of time, and promoting the cults of saints. Crucially, their duties also often included committing the past to writing, from simple annals and chronicles to more fulsome histories, necrologies, and cartularies, thereby ensuring that towns, churches, families, and individuals could be commemorated for generations to come.
This volume seeks to address the fundamental question of how the range of cantors' activities can help us to understand the many different ways in which the past was written and, in the liturgy, celebrated across the Middle Ages. Its essays are studies of constructions, both of the building blocks of time and of the people who made and performed them, in acts of ritual remembrance and in written records; cantors, as this book makes clear, shaped the communal experience of the past in the Middle Ages.

Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at St. Martin's University; Margot Fassler is Kenough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy at the University of Notre Dame and Robert Tangeman Professor Emerita of Music History at Yale University; A.B. Kraebel is Assistant Professor of English at Trinity University.

Contributors: Cara Aspesi, Anna de Bakker, Alison I. Beach, Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis, Margot E. Fassler, David Ganz, James Grier, Paul Antony Hayward, Peter Jeffery, Claire Taylor Jones, A.B. Kraebel, Lori Kruckenberg, Rosamond McKitterick, Henry Parkes, Susan Rankin, C.C. Rozier, Sigbjorn Olsen Sonnesyn, Teresa Webber, Lauren Whitnah

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782046301), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Historia: Some Lexicographical Considerations - David Ganz
Liturgy and History in the Early Middle Ages - Rosamond McKitterick
Notker Bibliothecarius - Susan K Rankin
Singing History: Chant in Ekkehard IV's Casus sancti Galli - Lori Kruckenberg
Adémar de Chabannes (989-1034) as Musicologist - James Grier
Cantor or Canonicus? In Search of Musicians and Liturgists in Eleventh-Century Constance - Henry Parkes
Shaping the Historical Dunstan: Many Lives and a Musical Office - Margot Fassler
Female Monastic Cantors and Sacristans in Central Medieval England: Four Sketches - K.A. Bugyis
Cantor, Sacrist or Prior? The Provision of Books in Anglo-Norman England - Tessa Webber
Symeon of Durham as Cantor and Historian at Durham Cathedral Priory, c. 1090-1129 - Charlie Rozier
Reshaping History in the Cult of Æbbe of Coldingham - Lauren L. Whitnah
William of Malmesbury as a Cantor-Historian - Paul A. Hayward
Lex orandi, lex scribendi? The Role of Historiography in the Liturgical Life of William of Malmesbury - Sigbjorn Olsen Sonnesyn
Of the Making of Little Books: The Minor Works of William of Newburgh - A.B. Kraebel
The Cantors of the Holy Sepulchre and their Contribution to Crusade History and Frankish Identity - Cara Aspesi
Shaping Liturgy, Shaping History: A Cantor-Historian from Twelfth-Century Peterhausen - Alison I. Beach
The Roman Liturgical Tradition According to a Twelfth-Century Roman Cantor - Peter Jeffery
A Life in Hours: Goswin of Bossut's Office for Arnulf of Villers - Anna De Bakker
Writing History to Make History: Johannes Meyer's Chronicles of Reform - Claire Jones


The contributions, especially those regarding women, demonstrate the patience and careful attention necessary to flesh out the tendrils of evidence for non-preserved and/or long forgotten history. This volume has much to offer students and scholars of monastic history, liturgical history, and medievalists. MAGISTRA

Also in Series