About

Karen Desmond (Ph.D. 2009, New York University) is an Assistant Professor of Music at Brandeis University, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Harvard University in 2018. Previously she held postdoctoral research positions at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University (2014-16), and the University of Cologne (2012-13), and taught at University College Cork, Ireland (Lecturer in Musicology, 2011-13). Her monograph Music and the moderni, 1300-1350: The ars nova in Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, August 2018) challenges prevailing accounts of the ars nova. Awards include an NEH Research Fellowship, an SSHRC Banting Fellowship, and a Provost’s Innovation Grant from Brandeis University. She has begun work on her second monograph, tentatively titled Torso: Understanding the Polyphony of Late Medieval England from its Fragmentary Remains. Other completed projects include her translation of Lambert’s Ars musica, edited by Christian Meyer (Ashgate, 2015), The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle, a collection of essays co-edited with Catherine Bradley (The Boydell Press, 2018), and a website of late medieval motets digitally encoded in mensural notation, available at http://www.measuringpolyphony.org.

Publications

Monograph

1. Karen Desmond, Music and the moderni, 1300-1350: The ars nova in Theory and Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018). 300 + xxiv pages.

Edited Books & Translations

1. Catherine A. Bradley and Karen Desmond, eds., The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle. Contents, Contexts, Chronologies (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2018).  333 + xviii pages.

2. Christian Meyer, editor, and Karen Desmond, translator, The Ars musica attributed to Magister Lambertus/Aristoteles, RMA Monograph Series 27 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015). 130 + xxxviii pages. Reviews published in The Medieval Review, Music and Letters, Speculum, Theoria.

Digital Projects & Editions

1. “Measuring Polyphony: Digital Editions of Late Medieval Music”, currently presents editions of 64 fourteenth-century motets in mensural and modern notation, and downloable XML files, PDF, and MIDI, available at http://www.measuringpolyphony.org.

2.Omni desideranti notitiam,” presents an online edition of a fourteenth-century theory treatise on ars nova notation attributed to Philippe de Vitry,” available at http://www.arsmusicae.org.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

1. “Jean des Murs and the Partes prolationis of BnF lat. 7378A.” Erudition and the Republic of Letters (Fall 2018, in press). 8,900 words.

2. “‘One is the loneliest number . . .’: The Semibreve Stands Alone.” Early Music 46 (August 2018).  8,300 words.

3. “Did Vitry Write an Ars vetus et nova?” Journal of Musicology 32/4 (2015), 441-493. 60 pages.

4. “Refusal, the Look of Love, and The Beastly Woman of Machaut’s Balades 27 and 38,” Early Music History 32 (2013), 71-118. 48 pages.

5. “Texts in Play: The Ars nova and its Hypertexts,” Musica disciplina 57 (2012), 81-153. 73 pages.

6. “New Light on Jacobus, Author of Speculum musicae,” Journal of Plainsong and Medieval Music 9 (2000), 19-40. 22 pages.

7.Sicut in grammatica: Analogical Discourse in Chapter 15 of Guido’s Micrologus,” Journal of Musicology 16 (1998), 467-493. 27 pages.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

1. “Notations,” in A Companion to Medieval Motets, 103-130, ed. Jared Hartt (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2018). 28 pages.

2. (with Catherine Bradley) “Introduction,” in The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle. Contents, Contexts, Chronologies, 1-12, edited by Catherine A. Bradley and Karen Desmond (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2018). 12 pages.

3. “Texture, Rhythm, and Stylistic Groupings in Montpellier 8 Motets,” in The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle, 139-160, edited by Catherine A. Bradley and Karen Desmond (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2018). 22 pages.

4. “Zur „englischen“ Prägung des Tonale secundum usum ecclesiarum Anglie et Francie des Amerus ” in ,Nationes’-Begriffe im mittelalterlichen Musikschrifttum: Politische und regionale Gemeinschaftsnamen in musikbezogenen Quellen, 800-1400, 77-89, edited by Frank Hentschel (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016). 13 pages.

5. “Regionalspezifische Aspekte von Rhythmus und Notation nach Anonymus IV: Angli” in ,Nationes’-Begriffe im mittelalterlichen Musikschrifttum: Politische und regionale Gemeinschaftsnamen in musikbezogenen Quellen, 800-1400, 117-137, ed. Hentschel (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016). 21 pages.

6. “Katzenmusik in der Kirche: Elias Salomo über den Verfall der geistlichen Musik” in ,Nationes’-Begriffe im mittelalterlichen Musikschrifttum: Politische und regionale Gemeinschaftsnamen in musikbezogenen Quellen, 800-1400, 197-204, ed. Hentschel (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016). 8 pages.

7. “„Brittani“ in Ps.-Adalbolds Epistola cum tractatu de musica instrumentali humanaque ac mundane” in ,Nationes’-Begriffe im mittelalterlichen Musikschrifttum: Politische und regionale Gemeinschaftsnamen in musikbezogenen Quellen, 800-1400, 239-47, ed. Hentschel (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016). 19 pages.

Journal Special Issues (Role: Co-Editor)

1. (with C. Philipp E. Nothaft & Matthieu Husson) Jean des Murs Special Issue, Erudition and the Republic of Letters, Fall 2018 (co-edited articles by Jean-Patrice Boudet, José Chabás, Karen Desmond, Matthieu Husson, C. Philipp E. Nothaft, Laure Miolo, Elżbieta Witkowska-Zaremba). Co-authored introduction with Nothaft and Husson, “Jean des Murs’s Quadrivial Pursuits: Introduction.” 3,500 words.

2. (with Anna Zayaruznaya) Philippe de Vitry Special Issue, Early Music 46, August 2018 (co-edited articles by David Cataluyna, Karen Desmond, Karl Kügle, and Anna Zayaruznaya). Co-authored introduction with Zayaruznaya, “Vitry and the Ars nova.1,000 words.

Book Reviews

1. Music and Culture in the Middle Ages and Beyond: Liturgy, Sources, Symbolism, ed. Benjamin Brand and David J. Rothenberg (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 2016) in Music & Letters (forthcoming).

2. The Monstrous New Art: Divided Forms in the Late Medieval Motet by Anna Zayaruznaya (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015) in Early Music 44 (2016), 333-334.

3. A Paradise of Priests: Singing the Civic and Episcopal Hagiography of Medieval Liège by Catherine Saucier (University of Rochester Press, 2014) in Early Music 43 (April 2015), 320-322.

4. The Art of Grafted Song: Citation and Allusion in the Age of Machaut by Yolanda Plumley (Oxford University Press, 2013) in Plainsong and Medieval Music 24 (2015), 99-103.

5. The Refrain and the Rise of the Vernacular in Medieval French Poetry by Jennifer Saltzstein (Boydell & Brewer, 2013) in Speculum 89 (July 2014), 824-826.

6. The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 by Emma Dillon (Oxford University Press, 2012) in The Medieval Review (January 2013), available online at https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/15235/13.01.04.html

7. Florentius de Faxolis: Book on Music, ed. and trans. Bonnie J. Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens (Harvard University Press, 2011) in Early Music 40 (November 2012), 687-688.

8. Ars musica septentrionalis: De l’interprétation du patrimoine musical à l’historiographie, ed. Barbara Haggh and Frédéric Billiet (Presses de l’université Paris-Sorbonne, 2011) in Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 68 (2012), 811-814.

Reference Articles In Books

1. “Vitry, Philippe de” in Lexikon Schriften über Musik: Vol 1. Musiktheorie von de Antike bis zur Gegenwart, 519-521, ed. Felix Wörner and Ullrich Scheideler (Kassel/Stuttgart: Bärenreiter and Metzler, 2017).

2. “Notre Dame Polyphony,” in Reader’s Guide to Music History, Theory and Criticism, 497-9, ed. Murray Steib (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999).

3. “Ockeghem,” in Reader’s Guide to Music History, Theory and Criticism, 501-502, ed. Murray Steib (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999).

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