My research on repertoires of vocal music in Europe ca. 1100-1600 engages with the complementary disciplines of historical musicology and medieval studies and is driven by interests in the cultural, ritual, textual, and material aspects of music and its production, reception, and transmission. Across my research and teaching, I employ methodologies that recognize the importance of notes on the page (incomplete as they are in pre-modern sources) while seeing these abstract reflections of music as part of complex systems of cultural meaning and history. While music is always at the core, my writing and teaching connect with a range of interrelated disciplines, including manuscript studies, ritual studies, literary theory, theology and exegesis, liturgiology and hagiography, and theories of time and temporality. I also continue to cultivate a secondary research area in premodern movement and dance studies. Published and forthcoming articles on a range of topics related to these interests appear in Early Music History, Plainsong & Medieval Music, the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of Musicology, Revue de musicologieMusic & Letters, and Speculum, as well as in edited volumes.

My first book, Devotional Refrains in Medieval Latin Song (Cambridge 2022), offers a critical approach to the Latin refrain—a repeated segment of text and music—and its conjoined songs, bringing renewed attention to an understudied corpus of over 400 Latin vocal works from the high and late Middle Ages. In this book, I explore for the first time the Latin refrain as a vibrant and multidimensional part of the varied landscape of medieval song, arguing for the importance of Latin song traditions within the devotional as well as quotidian lives of clerical, monastic, and educational communities across Europe. While previous scholarship on medieval Latin song has tended to elide the refrain in the interest of reportorial and music-theoretical approaches, I prioritize in this forthcoming book the return of text and music as an epicenter and generator of lyrical, melodic, and cultural meaning. My second book project focuses on music for and about a contested figure in medieval popular devotional, St. Nicholas.


University of Chicago, Department of Music, Chicago, Illinois

PhD Music History and Theory              2013

Queen’s University, School of Music, Kingston, Ontario

Bachelor of Music, with honors              2006



Devotional Refrains in Medieval Latin Song. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022

Saintly Song: Musical Hagiography and the Medieval Cult of St. Nicholas (in progress)

Journal Articles

“Against the Dangers of the Night: The Compline Versicle Custodi nos domine and its Tropes in Medieval France.” Journal of the Alamire Foundation 15, no. 1 (2023): 69-106.

“‘To His Beloved Friends…’: The Epistolary Art of Song in Medieval France.” Textus & Musica 5 (2022) Circulations et échanges des technicités et des savoirs musicaux et littéraires au Moyen Âge et à la Renaissance: https://textus-et-musica.edel.univ-poitiers.fr:443/textus-et-musica/index.php?id=2504.

“‘I Have Trodden the Winepress Alone’: The Voice of Christ and the Mystical Winepress in a Thirteenth-Century Latin Song.” Revue de musicologie 108, no. 1 (2022): 3-40.

“Conductus, Sequence, Refrain: Composing Latin Song across Language and Genre in Thirteenth-Century France.” The Journal of Musicology 39, no. 2 (2022): 133-179.

“Troping Time: Refrain Interpolation in Sacred Latin Songs, ca. 1140-1853.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 74, no. 1 (2021).

“Singing Cato: Poetic Grammar and Moral Citation in Medieval Latin Song, ” Music & Letters 102, no. 2 (2021): 191-233.

“Cueing Refrains in the Medieval Conductus.” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 143, no. 2 (2018): 273-324.

“A Medieval Patchwork Song: Poetry, Prayer and Music in a Thirteenth-Century Conductus.” Plainsong and Medieval Music 25, no. 2 (2016): 139-165. 

“‘Flower of The Lily’: Late-Medieval Religious and Heraldic Symbolism in Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS français 146.” Early Music History 33 (2014): 1-60. 

“‘The Place of Dance in Human Life’: Perspectives on the Fieldwork and Dance Notation of Gertrude P. Kurath.” Ethnologies 30/1 Special issue: Dance in Canada (2008).  (nb: based on undergraduate research)

Book Chapters

“Texting Vocality: Musical and Material Poetics of the Voice in Medieval Latin Song.” In Ars Antiqua: Music and Culture in Europe, c. 1150-c. 1330, edited by Gregorio Bevilacqua and Thomas Payne. Speculum Musicae vol. 40, 35-72. Turnhout: Brepols, 2020.

“Litanic Songs for the Virgin: Rhetoric, Repetition, and Marian Refrains in Medieval Latin Song.” In The Litany in Arts and Cultures, edited by Witold Sadowski and Francesco Marsciani. Studia Traditionis Theologiae, 143-174. Turnhout: Brepols, 2020.

“‘Pax Gallie’: The Songs of Tours 927.” The Jeu d’Adam: MS Tours 927 and the Provenance of the Play, edited by Christophe Chaguinian. Early Drama, Art, and Music Monograph Series, 87-176. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2017.

Encyclopedia Entries

with Timothy McGee. “Dance.” Oxford Bibliographies in “Medieval Studies.” New York: Oxford University Press (2022): DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396584-0121.

“Musical Hagiography in Western Europe with Reference to the Cult of St Nicholas of Myra,” in “Holy Persons.” Edited by Aaron Hollander and Massimo Rondolino. In Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages, Bloomsbury/ARC-Humanities Press, 2021.


Review of Kathryn Dickason, Ringleaders of Redemption: How Medieval Dance Became Sacred. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 90, no. 4 (2021): 925-926.

Review of Jared C. Hartt, ed. A Critical Companion to Medieval Motets. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music, vol. 17. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: The Boydell Press, 2018, Renaissance Quarterly 72, no. 3 (2019): 1118-1119.

Review of Catherine A. Bradley and Karen Desmond, eds. The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle: Contents, Contexts, Chronologies.  Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music. Rochester, NY: The Boydell Press, 2018, The Medieval Review (2018).

Review of Margot Fassler, Music in the Medieval West. Series: Western Music in Context: A Norton History, Walter Frisch, ed. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013), College Music Symposium 54 (2014).

Other Writings

“Finding God in a Song: Religion, Klezmer, and Country.” Sightings, a publication of The Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. Edited by Myriam Renaud (July 25, 2013).  

“The Notation of Native American Dance: Systems of Dance Transcription and the Work of Gertrude P. Kurath.” In NativeDance.ca. Edited by Elaine Keillor et al. Carleton University and Canadian Heritage.

“The Organization of Movement: Approaches to Dance Scholarship and the Study of Native American Dance.” Institute for Canadian Music Newsletter 3, no. 3 (2005), pp. 5-12. 

Blog Posts


    American Musicological Society

    Medieval Academy of America

    Dance Studies Association

    Hagiography Society

    Mary Channen Caldwell

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