(Revised 2001)

Kirsti S. Thomas






The following bibliography is intended for the singer who is interested in medieval and Renaissance music, but does not have an extensive background in music history or theory. In compiling this bibliography, I have attempted to be selective rather than comprehensive. There is such a wealth of information on medieval and Renaissance music that trying to figure out where to start can be a truly daunting task. This bibliography came about as attempt to provide a manageable number of resources for the singer who wishes to learn more of the philosophy, theory and history of this music, and to expand his or her repertoire. Only books are included in this bibliography. I have made no attempt to include any Internet references or sound recordings. I will, however, note that a good place to start a search of sound recordings and Internet resources is the Early Music FAQ, maintained by Todd Michael McComb at http://www.medieval.org/emfaq. Most of the titles in this bibliography can be found in large university and public libraries. I have also attempted to select titles which are held by several different libraries, thus making it easier to locate and borrow these books.

The goal of this bibliography is to provide a broad overview of vocal music in Western Europe prior to 1650. In some cases, this means I have included books which are general in nature. In other cases, I have included books covering an individual composer, specific time period, or geographic location which are considered to be representative and important within the field of early music. In creating this bibliography, I have tried to avoid works which are extremely scholarly in nature, or which assume an extensive background in music history or theory. Given that English is the primary language of the intended audience of this bibliography, I have included more works which deal with English songs than those in other languages. Also, any works, other than music anthologies, which are not in English or do not have a parallel English translation have been excluded. Music anthologies given here provide modern music notation and modern transcription of the lyrics except where noted.

The bibliography is divided into 6 parts. The first part lists general reference works such as indexes and bibliographies which may be used by the reader for more in-depth or specific research. The second part gives modern works on music history, music theory and vocal performance practice. It is followed by a third section of medieval and Renaissance music theory (in translation). The fourth part lists modern anthologies of medieval and Renaissance music for either the solo singer or the small vocal ensemble. In the fifth section, I have attempted to list sets of the complete works of some of the best known period composers and musicians. Notes on the lives of the composers listed in this section are adapted from information provided in the The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The sixth and final section lists some of the best known period collections of vocal music.



Duckles, Vincent H. and Michael A. Keller. Music Reference and Research Materials: an Annotated Bibliography. 5th ed. New York: Schirmer Books. London: Collier Macmillan, 1997.

A general and annotated listing of reference works in music. Gives numerous bibliographies of sacred and secular medieval and Renaissance music mixed in with other periods.

Gleason, Harold and Warren Becker. Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. 3rd ed. Music Literature Outlines 1. Bloomington: Frangpani P, 1981.

This outline for a course on medieval and Renaissance music is useful primarily for the bibliographies of books and articles following each section.

Heyer, Anna Harriet, ed. Historical Sets, Collected Editions and Monuments of Music: a Guide to Their Contents. 3rd ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 1980. 2 vols.

Alphabetical listing of major collections of music and complete works of individual composers. Most works listed are 20th century publications although some sets are from the 19th century. Entries contain complete lists of contents of each set at time of publication. This is an excellent source of music anthologies.

Hughes, Andrew. Medieval Music: the Sixth Liberal Art. Rev. ed. Toronto Medieval Bibliographies 4. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1980.

Very extensive bibliography covering numerous topics of medieval and Renaissance music and musicology. Not only includes sections on notation, rhythm and compositional techniques, it also lists works of music history which focus on specific geographic locations and time periods.

Page, Christopher. "A Catalogue and Bibliography of English Song from its Beginnings to c. 1300." R.M.A. Research Chronicle 13 (1976): 67-83.

A listing of all 12th-13th century English songs known to exist. The 19 items are arranged in chronological order, indicating first line and source, with extensive descriptions and listing modern editions.

Roche, Jerome and Elizabeth, eds. A Dictionary of Early Music: From the Troubadours to Monteverdi. New York: Oxford UP, 1981.

A concise reference of early music composers and musical instruments with some entries of terminology. The main focus of the work is to provide information on composers whose works have appeared in modern editions of scores or recordings.

Sadie, Stanley, ed. New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan Pub.; New York: Grove’s Dictionaries of Music, 1995. 20 vols.

Sir George Grove first published his Dictionary of Music and Musicians in 1878. Since then, it has been expanded into one of the most comprehensive resources in the field. Aside from the composer biographies and terminology definitions, the dictionary provides analysis of compositional styles and discusses the historical and social settings in which music existed.



Abraham, Gerald. The Concise Oxford History of Music. London: Oxford UP, 1979.

Each chapter deals with a particular time period and is divided into multiple sections which provide a short overview of a particular aspect of that time period, including short bibliographies, mention of notable codices and manuscripts, music styles of particular geographic regions, etc.

Barker, John W. The Use of Music and Recordings for Teaching About the Middle Ages: a Practical Guide with Comprehensive Discography and Selective Bibliography. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1988.

Written for those who teach history and civilization of the Middle Ages, this book is for use in teaching history through music. Gives brief, yet clear commentary on different medieval music styles, including an overview of music in Latin, English, Italian and Spanish. Also briefly mentions Jewish music and female musicians and composers. Each chapter contains an annotated bibliography of music anthologies, books and articles and a discography, organized by label.

Bowles, Edward A. La Pratique Musical au Moyen Age [Musical Performance in the Late Middle Ages]. Trans. Claude Chauvel. Geneve: Minkoff. Paris: Lattes, 1983.

Uses illustrations (some color, mainly b&w) to present examples of period music practices. Very brief explanations in French and English accompany each picture. Includes a chapter on vocal music. Reproduction quality is somewhat poor for b&w illustrations.

Caldwell, John. Editing Early Music. Early Music Series 5. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1985.

Guide to editorial procedures for music written from the middle ages to 1830. Contains special chapters dealing with medieval and Renaissance music. Includes copies of original notation with suggested modern notation.

Henry, Derrick. The Listener's Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Music. New York: Facts on File, 1983.

A chronological overview of medieval and Renaissance music history, covering such topics as performance practices and well-known schools, movements and composers. Each chapter ends with an annotated discography.

Hoppin, Richard H. Medieval Music. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1978.

Essentially a collection of essays on specific topics of medieval music history. Covers chant, liturgical works, secular monophonic songs and polyphony, and Italian Ars Nova; also contains a chapter on Guillame de Machaut. Intended for the college student who wishes a somewhat in-depth, but not intensive, study of medieval music. Accompanies the author’s Anthology of Medieval Music.

McGee, Timothy J., A. G. Rigg and David N. Klausner, eds. Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1996.

"Studies the principal languages of Europe as they were spoken from the twelfth to the seventeenth century: English, Scots, French, Occitan, Spanish, Galician-Portuguese, Italian, German, and Flemish as well as the Latin "dialect" of each area. Each chapter is written by an expert in the particular language and includes several sample texts, printed in both the original language and in transcription in the International Phonetic Alphabet. All the texts are recorded on the accompanying compact disc."—Cf. IUP’s online catalog

Phillips, Elizabeth V., and John-Paul Christopher Jackson. Performing Medieval and Renaissance Music: An Introductory Guide. New York: Schirmer Books; London: Collier Macmillan Pub., 1986.

An excellent resource. Covers numerous issues for the early music performer including make-up of an ensemble (e.g. voices, instruments) and performance guidelines such as rhythm, ornamentation and authenticity. Also provides a suggested repertory with notes on the original scores used. The appendix lists types of instruments, early music journals, pronunciation guides and provides a performance checklist.

Rosenstiel, Léonie, general ed. Schirmer History of Music. New York: Schirmer Books. London: Collier Macmillan, 1982.

Parts 1 and 2 deal with medieval music and Renaissance and Ars nova music. This book provides clear explanations of music theory and notational styles, using period sources to illustrate various topics. The chapters also cover various historical developments which influenced music. Each chapter has a summary and bibliography.

Rowan, Ruth Halle. Music through Sources and Documents. Englewood-Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1979.

Rowan uses primary sources to present a history of the development of music theory and practice. Each chapter deals with a particular time period, running from Biblical times to the early 20th century. The font is very small.

Stolba, K. Marie. The Development of Western Music: A History. 3rd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Covers antiquity through the present, with chapters on ecclesiastical chant, monophony, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Regional styles, Franco-Roman composers and Reformation and Counter-Reformation music. Each chapter begins with a general historical overview and ends with a summary of music developments within that particular period. The chapters also contain long side-bars with information on a specific historical personage or topic (e.g. Guillaume de Machaut, music printing, etc.). This book is well illustrated with facsimiles of primary manuscripts, maps, chronologies and charts. Previous editions were published in 1990 and 1994. Each edition is also complemented by a set of CDs and an anthology which contains music scores for the works contained on the CDs. The CDs and scores have the title: The Development of Western Music: An Anthology.

Strunk, Oliver. Source Readings in Music History: from Classical Antiquity Through the Romantic Era. Rev. ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Entries consist of excerpts from contemporary manuscripts and cover issues such as music theory, the role of music in society, and music and religion. Contains very lengthy and extensive entries with minimal annotations.

Ultan, Lloyd. Music Theory: Problems and Practices in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1977.

Intended for undergraduate music students. Very thorough examination and explanation of the various styles of composition and notation. Includes examples from primary sources. The chapter on the Renaissance uses works of Josquin, Ockeghem and Palestrina to illustrate musical forms.

Weiss, Piero and Richard Taruskin. Music in the Western World: a History in Documents. New York: Schirmer Books. London: Collier Macmillan, 1984.

Includes chapters on the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The chapters provide short excerpts of primary documents interspersed with explanatory notes.



Boethius. Fundamentals of music. Ed. Claude V. Palisca. Trans. Calvin M. Bower. Music theory translation series. New Haven: Yale UP,1989.

Boethius’ De institutione musica was a key text in the development of music theory and composition during the Middle Ages. It is quoted in several medieval treatises on music theory and over 150 codices containing all or part of the work still exist, many with commentary dating from the 9th-12th centuries appearing in the margins.

Gafurius, Franchinus. The Practica Musicae of Franchinus Gaufurius. Trans. Irwin Young. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1969.

Originally printed in Milan in 1496, this book was widely circulated throughout Europe and heavily influenced 16th century musical thought. Contains 4 works: The System of Guido and the Church Modes, The Mensural System, The Art of Counterpoint and Proportion in Mensural Music.

Morley, Thomas. A Plaine and Easy Introduction to Practicall Musicke. Ed. R. Alec Harman. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1952.

First published in 1597, many editions of this book exist. This particular edition has modernized spelling and notation. The work is in the form of a conversation between student and teacher, where the teacher explains singing in general, descant, and singing in parts.

Page, Christopher, ed. and trans. The Summa Musicae: a 13th Century Manual for Singers. Cambridge Musical Texts and Monographs. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991.

Translation and commentary of a manual for "masters teaching boys to sing plainchant and to appreciate Latin eloquence." Each prose chapter is followed by a "poem concerning the same."



Dobbins, Frank, ed. Oxford Book of French Chansons. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1987.

For 2-7 voices; English translations provided.

Fellowes, Edmund H., ed. The English Madrigalists. London: Stainer & Bell, 1922-

One of the most complete collections of English madrigal music in existence. Originally published 1913-1924 as a 36 volume set called The English Madrigal School, and reprinted in 1956. Many volumes from the original two sets are now in the public domain in the United States only!

Greenberg, Noah and Paul Maynard, eds. An Anthology of Early Renaissance Music. New York: W.W. Norton, 1975.

For 3-6 voices. Intended to provide a basic repertory for collegia musica. Greenberg was one of the major forces behind the revival of early music in the 20th century and his anthologies provided an introduction to the field for many musicians. The introduction comments on performance practices for the group interested in modern re-creation. Sections include: Ordinary of the Mass, Shorter Liturgical and Devotional Pieces, Secular Vocal Music, Instrumental Music and Genre and Occasional Music.

Greenberg, Noah, music ed. and W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, text eds. An Elizabethan Songbook: Lute Songs, Madrigals and Rounds. London: Faber & Faber, 1968.

Vocal music for 1-3 voices (but primarily solo pieces) with piano accompaniment, covering the years 1588-1632.

Harmon, Alec, ed. Oxford Book of Italian Madrigals. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1983.

For 3-7 voices with English translations.

Hoppin, Richard H., ed. Anthology of Medieval Music. Norton Introduction to Music History. New York: Norton, 1978.

For 1-4 voices, this anthology attempts to avoid reprinting pieces available in other anthologies. Presents a survey of musical styles from Gregorian chant to 14th century polyphony but provides no description or commentary of the pieces included. Accompanies the author's book, Medieval Music.

Keyte, Hugh, and Andrew Parrott, eds. The New Oxford Book of Carols. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992.

This collection of carols is not only worthwhile for the large number of pieces it contains from numerous ages and countries (If you ever wanted to see the Welsh lyrics to "Deck the Halls" you can find them here.), but also for the extensive historical notes and translations that accompany each song. Also noteworthy for the appendix of 15th century English pronunciation. An abridged and more affordable edition was published as The Shorter New Oxford Book of Carols prior to the publication of the complete edition in paperback in October 1998.

Musica Britannica: a National Collection of Music. London: Stainer & Bell, 1951-

Currently in publication with over 50 volumes, each with a different topic, this set of British music covers every time period and nearly every style of music (excluding folk music) found in Great Britain. Of particular note are the following volumes:

v. 4 Medieval Carols

v. 6 Dowland, John. Ayres for 4 voices

v. 10-12 The Eton Choirbook

v. 15 Music of Scotland, 1500-1700

v. 18 Music at the Court of Henry VIII

v. 22 Consort Songs

v. 25 Secular Vocal Music

v. 29 Select Italian Madrigals

v. 36 Early Tudor Songs and Carols

v. 74 Italian Madrigals Englished

Recent Researches in the Music of the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. 16 vols. to date. Madison: A-R Editions, 1975-

Covers music from roughly 500-1500. While this set contains fewer volumes than its sister series, Recent Researches in the Music of the Renaissance, it is still a good source of vocal music.

Recent Researches in the Music of the Renaissance. Madison: A-R Editions, 1964-

This set contains primarily vocal music from the period 1490-1610. Since the publishers continue to add new volumes to this set at a rapid pace, you may want to check their website (http://www.areditions.com/rr/) for a list of titles in this and the Recent Researches in the Music of the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance set

Sargent, Brian, ed. Minstrels: Medieval Music to Sing and Play. London: Cambridge UP, 1974.

For 1-5 voices. Songs have lyrics in modern English; the original text is not provided. The introduction discusses rhythm, pitch and instrumentation. Contents: Excerpts from Plays, Part Songs, Instrumental Music.

Wilson, David Fenwick. Music of the Middle Ages: an Anthology for Performance and Study. New York: Schirmer Books, 1990.

For 1-5 voices, most pieces for 3 voices. A collection of sacred and secular music, not printed in other anthologies with lyrics in the original language and in the English translation. Accompanies the textbook Music of the Middle Ages: Style and Structure. Accompanied by 2 cassette tapes.



Adam de la Halle. Oeuvres Complétes du Trouvère Adam de la Halle (Poésies et Musique). Ed. E. de Coussemaker. Paris: Société des Sciences, des Lettres et des arts de Lille, 1872. Farnborough: Gregg P, 1966.

13th century French. Works of the French trouvère poet and composer. Adam composed in a wide number of genres and styles. Songs are given in mensural notation, followed by modern notation and then lyrics. Commentary in French.

Dowland, John. Sämtliche Lieder im Urtext. Ed. Michael Ernst. Darmstadt: Prim Musikverlag, 2000.

16th and 17th century English. Solo voice with lute score. Contains the complete songs of Dowland, who is well known for his polyphonic songs and his compositions for lute. Commentary in German and English. The songs were originally written for 3-5 voices, but this edition includes only the Cantus line with lute accompaniment. Facsimile editions of the original songbooks are published by Broude as part of their Performers Facsimile Edition series.

Dufay, Guillaume. Opera Omnia. Guglielmus de Van. Rome: American Institute of Musicology, 1947- 20 vols.

15th century French. Dufay is considered to be the leading composer of his day, both by his contemporaries and by modern scholars. Music and commentary were published separately for the first 2 vols. After vol. 3, however, music and commentary are bound together in one vol. Contains masses, sacred motets, and secular ballades, virelais, and rondeaus.

Encina, Juan del. L’Opera Musicale. Ed. Clemente Terni. Messina: Casa Editrice d’Anna, 1974.

15th and 16th century Spanish. 1-4 voices with accompanying instrumentation including flute, harp, and lute. A court musician for the Duke of Alba and several popes, Encina was not only a musician, but was also considered the father of Spanish theater.

Guillaume de Machaut. Musikalische Werke. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Hartel, 1954. 4 vols.

14th century French. Machaut is considered to be the most important composer of the French Ars Nova style and is best known for his secular songs and motets. This set is a reprint of the 1926 edition. The first volume contains ballads, rondeaus and virelais. The second volume is a commentary on the set, in German. The third volume contains motets and the fourth volume has masses and lais.

Josquin Des Prez. Werken. Ed. A. Smijers and Myroslaw Antonowytsch. Amsterdam: G. Alsbach, 1921-1969. 55 vols.

Late 15th century Dutch. Songs for 3-6 voices with commentary in Dutch.

Ockeghem, Johannes. Collected Works. Ed. Dragan Plamenac. American Musicological Society, 1959-1992. American Musicological Society. Studies and Documents, nos. 3, X, and 7. 3 vols.

15th century Dutch. 3-4 voices. Contains masses and secular songs with extensive notes and commetary.



Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon. Cantigas de Santa Maria. Ed. Walter Mettmann. Acta Universitatis Conimbrigensis. Coimbra: Por ordem de Universidade, 1959- 3 v.

13th century Spanish songs in praise of the Virgin Mary. Gallegan text; notes and commentary in Portuguese. Gives melody line and lyrics. Loreena McKinnett uses a tune from this collection as the melody for one of her pieces on The Mask and Mirror album.

Barbieri, Francisco Asenjo, Ed. Cancionero Musical de los Siglos XV y XVI. Málaga: Departamento de Publicaciones del Centro Cultural de la "Generación del 27", 1987.

15th and 16th century Spanish. 3-4 voices. Popular songs from the court of Ferdinan and Isabel compiled c. 1505-1520. Contains compositions by some of the most famous Spanish composers of this period. Facsimile of an 1890 edition. Full texts of the songs are printed in the first section of the book, while scores appear in a separate section.

Clemenic, Rene, [ed. and] trans. Carmina Burana (Lateinisch-Deutsch): Gesamtausgabe der mittelalterlichen Melodien mit den dazugehörigen Texten. München: Heimeran, 1979.

The original tunes and texts of the 13th century Carmina Burana Codex. Gives the original Latin or Middle German lyrics with a translation and commentary in modern German.

Forster, Georg. Frische Teutsche Liedlein, (1539-1556). Ed. Kurt Gudewill and Wilhelm Heiske. Wofenbuettel and Zuerich: Moeseler Verlag, 1964. Das Erbe Deutscher Musik ; vol. 20. Mehrstimmiges Lied ; Bd. 3.

16th century German. Commentary in German. 4 voices. Contains a wide variety of popular part-songs, many of which are folk songs of the time.

Gómez Muntané, Carmen, ed. El Llibre vermell de Monserrat: cantos y danzas s. XIV. Barcelona: Libros de la Frontera, 1990.

14th century Spanish. Songs written for the benefit of pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St. James (Sant Iago) at Compostella.

Hughes, Andrew, and Margaret Bent, Eds. The Old Hall Manuscript. American Institute of Musicology, 1969. Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae, v. 46. 3 vols. In 4 parts

14th and 15th century English. Sacred polyphonic works for 2-4 voices, composed between approximately 1350 and 1430. This edition is intended for performers, rather than scholars and includes a section with suggestions for performance.

Ravenscroft, Thomas. Pammelia; Deutromelia; Melismata. Ed. MacEdward Leach. Philadelphia: American Folklore Society, Inc., 1961

Early 17th century English. Facsimile reproduction of three books of popular songs published by Thomas Ravenscroft between 1609 and 1611. The books contain rounds, and madrigals for 3-5 voices, most of which are secular and include drinking songs, street vendor cries and bawdy songs. Some of the lyrics and music are difficult to read, due to imperfections in the original manuscript.

Rosenberg, Samuel N. and Hans Tischler, Eds. The Monophonic Songs in the Roman de Fauvel. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1991.

14th century French. Solo voice. Lyrics in Latin with English translations. Fauvel was a poem written during the reign of Phillipe IV (1285-1314) which scathingly satirized the immorality and corruption in secular and ecclesiastical society of the time. The work first appeared between 1310-1314 and within the next decade a manuscript containing musical settings of the text appeared. This title contains only the monophonic works associated with Fauvel. Polyphonic songs appear in Schrade’s Le Roman de Fauvel.

Schrade, Leo, Ed. Le Roman de Fauvel. Monaco: Éditions de Lóiseau-Lyre, 1984.

14th century French. 2-3 voices. This title contains only the polyphonic works associated with Fauvel. Songs for solo voice appear in Rosenberg and Tischler’s The Monophonic Songs in the Roman de Fauvel.

Woodward, G.R., ed. Piae Cantiones : A Collection of Church & School Song, Chiefly Ancient Swedish, Originally published in A.D. 1582 by Theodoric Petri of Nyland. London: Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910.

Collection of sacred and student songs in Latin for 1-4 voices. This edition uses mensural notation, but the editor has transposed all songs into treble or bass clef. In addition, the text is given in a modern font and has been arranged under the staff so that it is easier to follow. A facsimile edition of Piae Cantiones also exists as: Piae Cantiones: Ecclesiasticae et Scholasticae Veterum Episcoporum. Helsinki: Edition Fazer, 1967.