What's new

Later this week, Debra Lacoste and Jennifer Bain will be in Prague for the Masaryk Institute's
conference and workshop series: "Digital Humanities in Early Music Research I." They will be participating in Session I: Early music databases, encoding, analysing and OMR; see details here.

Complete inventories of the Gradual of Bellelay (CH-P 18) and Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, Codex 121 are now fully proofread and available on the Cantus Database website. New genres and feast names have been added to both Cantus Database and Cantus Index, and hundreds of new chant texts have been entered.

We have also recently published inventories of two antiphoners (AUS-Sfl Add. Ms. 413 and US-Cai 1911.142b) and a responsoriale (CDN-Mlr 234). Thank you to our indexers, proofreaders, and partners for their continuing work. Many other projects are in various stages of completion!

We are thrilled to announce new SSHRC funding: a Partnership Development Grant for the Cantus Database along with multiple partners, some already networked through the Cantus Index. With Jennifer Bain as principal investigator, Debra Lacoste as project manager, and 20+ co-investigators, collaborators, and institutional partners, we will engage in a new project, “Digital Analysis of Chant Transmission” (DACT), where the half-million records now amassed online will become the basis for a new, central digital hub, the "Cantus Digital Network." In the next few years, we will build infrastructure to study the transmission of chant in Europe and to former colonies in the Americas, Africa, and Oceania, and to study the transmission of chant through fragmented manuscripts. We look forward to working with our current partners and inviting new ones as we expand our international research community.

Journal of the Alamire Foundation (10/2 cover)

A special issue of the Journal of the Alamire Foundation Volume 10, Number 2 (Autumn 2018) includes papers demonstrating a variety of research methods using the Cantus Database. For more information, see: http://www.brepols.net/Pages/ShowProduct.aspx?prod_id=IS-9782503578477-1 .

ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be a memorial mass in Ruth Steiner's honor on April 10th at 2:30 pm in the Lower Church of the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. This is a community event for those at Catholic University, but is open to anyone to attend.

Professor Ruth Steiner

2 Feb 1931–22 Feb 2019

Founder of the Cantus Database and visionary of the potential for digital and computer-based tools in humanities research. Ruth Steiner was Professor of Music at Catholic University of America, Washington, DC (1966–2000); third chair of the International Musicological Society Study Group ‘Cantus Planus’; a member of the American Musicological Society (as Secretary from 1984–1989), and of the Medieval Academy of America; and an author of articles on selected Gregorian and Sarum chants, their manuscript sources, and matters of style and dating.

In an age of file cards and print-based research materials, before “online” existed, Ruth Steiner’s vision for digitized indexes of chant manuscripts, where their contents could be located quickly and easily through electronic searching, and sorted and manipulated, has transformed how one studies not only the Office (and its psalmody), but also other repertories of medieval chant and liturgy. Begun in 1987 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and now entering its third decade, the Cantus Database is used by medievalists and Renaissance scholars in many fields, beyond musicology and liturgy.

A Festschrift in her honour, The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages (Oxford, 2000), was edited by Margot E. Fassler and Rebecca A. Baltzer and includes contributions from principal figures in medieval liturgical chant research; this volume immediately became an indispensable resource for the study of the liturgical Office and attests to the impact that Steiner’s Cantus Project and investment in the medieval Office in general has had on medieval chant research. With a Master’s degree from UCal, Berkeley and a PhD from CUA, Steiner soon became a leader in the field. A series of grants from the NEH allowed her to welcome scholars from many disciplines to CUA for summer study, and with grants from the Dom Mocquereau Foundation, she was able to build a superior microfilm collection for the study of the medieval Office. In this context, with her creativity and imagination, she nurtured a generation of scholars, training them in manuscript study while demonstrating the vital importance of developing new tools for the exploration of the manuscript sources she had mastered, as well as providing a professional and ethical model of how to be a scholar.

Requiescat in pace.

Prepared by Debra Lacoste, Margot Fassler, Keith Glaeske, Barbara Haggh-Huglo, and Jane Hardie. Photo reproduced by permission of The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives (ACUA), The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

With a plan to include processionals in the database in the near future, Debra Lacoste and Barbara Swanson are in Sydney, Australia at the symposium "A Celebration of Music Manuscripts," organized by Jane Hardie (Medieval and Early Modern Centre) and Julie Sommerfeldt (Rare Books and Special Collections). Barbara's topic is the manuscript "Fisher Library Add. MS 376," one of a growing collection of Spanish manuscripts being acquired by the University of Sydney. We are looking forward to engaging discussions about Spanish sources and the Cantus Database with the experts attending this symposium from around the world.


If you cannot be in Rochester today, please join us on the Live Stream: https://www.esm.rochester.edu/live/hatch/
The programme begins at 9:00 am EDT.

Join us at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY this Thursday (26 October 2017) for a symposium on crowdsourcing and digital projects in medieval musicology.

For more information, click here:

After a period of testing, we have closed our old site (cantusdatabase.org) and are redirecting everyone to this new site at the University of Waterloo. Please edit any bookmarks you have. We hope you enjoy the updates, new sources, and new analysis programmes!