PhD studentship: Music (Medieval Musicology)

The studentship is funded for four years covering Home/EU fees plus living costs of £13,590 p/a, and commences in October 2013.


The successful applicant will join a team of musicologists and composers working on a European Research Council project, ‘Shaping text, Shaping melody, Shaping experience in and through the Old Hispanic Office’.

Until the 1080s, almost every cathedral and monastery on the Iberian Peninsula celebrated a daily liturgy entirely independent of the Roman liturgy. These Old Hispanic rites are preserved in about 40 mostly fragmentary manuscripts, many of which are complete with melodies, and yet, in over 150 years of concentrated scholarship on early medieval chant traditions, the Old Hispanic liturgies have been seriously neglected. This is in part a result of their ‘peripheral’ status, and also reflects the so-far insurmountable difficulties presented by the musical notation. Chant scholars primarily base their understanding of musical language on pitch but with two dozen exceptions in a repertory of several thousand chants, Old Hispanic chant is not preserved in pitch-readable notation, and has previously been considered impenetrable. Building on previous work by the project lead, Dr Emma Hornby, and her collaborator Professor Rebecca Maloy (University of Colorado at Boulder), the project team will develop an independent discourse about the Old Hispanic liturgy and its music, relying neither on the crutch of pitch specificity nor on the conceptual safety net of the ‘central’ traditions of medieval Roman liturgy. Instead, the project team will explore textual and melodic norms (and departures from them) in each of the Old Hispanic office genres.

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The PhD student will undertake a self-contained project on some of the ‘minor’ office genres (e.g. benedictiones/laudes/vespertini). Since (s)he will be invited to participate in team discussions on a regular basis, his/her findings will be informed by the broader direction of the project. Some of his/her work may be included in the project’s culminating team-authored book.

Applicants should have an MA or BA honours degree in Music (or equivalent), with an outstanding track record in musicology at this level (shown, for example, by first class/distinction dissertation marks at undergraduate and/or MA level) and will have a well-established interest in medieval music. Applicants should have a reading knowledge of Latin and Spanish, or a willingness to acquire such knowledge early on in the PhD.

Application Information
To apply please make an application for an MLitt/PhD in Music using the online form which can be accessed by clicking on the Apply Link below, specifying that you wish to be considered for this PhD studentship in the funding section. For more information about the department and its staff, see In your research proposal you should explain how your previous and current research interests have prepared you to make a valuable contribution to the Old Hispanic Office project. You should also discuss which materials you wish to explore in the PhD, some of the approaches you might take, and how this will build on existing scholarship in the field.

You are strongly advised to contact Dr Emma Hornby ( for further information about the studentship and the Old Hispanic Office project before making a formal application.

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The closing date for receipt of applications is 31 January 2013

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