Jean and Alexander Heard Library

MIML: Bibliographic Overview

The MIML bibliography is principally concerned with how music was taught and learned in the period from 1450-1650. Additionally, this bibliography seeks to provide the reader with a general foundation of scholarship on educational practices during this two-century period. In recent years, a growing number of scholars has begun to address the broad issue of what musical education meant in the medieval and early modern eras: how and where it took place, who had access, what its content might have been in a particular time and place, what its social and cultural context might have been, and what educational practice has to teach us about musical repertories and their performance.

We are interested in the institutions that sponsored musical learning: monasteries and convents, urban and Latin schools which incorporated musical curricula, as well as the more traditional choirboy schools (Maistrise) that were the training ground for the composers and performers of the era. We are also interested in the people who took part in the learning process--students and teachers--as well as the repertories they studied and the materials that they used in their lessons, be they formal or informal. Our goal is to study the way in which music was learned by performers and composers, professional and amateur, men and women, singers, instrumentalists and hearers of music in the period from 1450-1650.

Items of general interest can be accessed most efficiently by clicking on the ?Must Read? button provided below the search box at the bottom of every page. Not all mention musical studies in any specific ways, but these investigations are standards in the field. Such foundational items include scholarly studies by the likes of Anthony Grafton, Paul Grendler, and George Huppert, the studies of slightly earlier educational practices by Robert Black, C. Stephen Jaeger, and Nicholas Orme, and the classic and heavily documented studies by Arthur F. Leach, Klaus Wolfgang Niem?ller and K?he Stricker. Among the must-read category are also included studies on childhood by Shulamith Shahar, on humanism by Rebecca Bushnell, on literacy by David Cressy, on didactic literature more generally in the collection edited by Natasha Glaisyer and Sara Pennel, on Lutheran ?indoctrination? by Gerald Strauss, and on women?s education in a collection edited by Barbara Whitehead.

Musical contributions on the ?must-read? list include several books that cut across a wide chronological and geographical swath. Nan Cooke Carpenter?s 1958 study on Music in the Medieval and Renaissance Universities, Niem?ller?s 1969 study of music in German Latin Schools, and Joseph Smits van Waesberghe?s 1969 volume on Musikerziehung for Musikgeschichte in Bildern form the first generation of scholarship on the history of musical teaching and learning. A broad-based chronological survey by Bernarr Rainbow on Music in Educational Thought and Practice was issued in 1989 and covered 800 B.C. to the present day.

More recent attention to musical learning has focused on particular aspects of the musical past. Cristle Collins Judd focuses on readers of music theory texts; Jessie Ann Owens writes on the education of composers, Paula Higgins covers the duties and experiences of the choirboy and choirmaster, Craig Wright addresses the role of the maitrise (the choir school) in educating musicians, and John Butt carries the conversation forward chronologically to discuss Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque.

To these many and varied book-length efforts can be added scholarly articles by Frederick Sternfeld and by Edith Weber on music in the schools of the Reformation, Robert Wason on music theory as pedagogy, and by Susan Forscher Weiss on German musical pedagogy and on English didactic sources. Another important resource is the roundtable "La musica nella storia delle universit?" In addition to these items of general interest, more than two hundred specialized discussions that touch on musical teaching and musical learning can be added. The bibliography in its long form will amply repay browsing.

For information on how to navigate within the bibliography, please see the MIML introduction.


MIML in its current incarnation was completed on April 1, 2006. The next scheduled update to the bibliography is scheduled for May 15, 2006. Please contact with suggestions and additions.


MLA Style:

MIML: Musical Instruction and Musical Learning. Ed. Cynthia J. Cyrus, with Susan Forscher Weiss and Russell E. Murray, Jr. April 2006. Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.

Chicago Style:

Cyrus, Cynthia J., with Susan Forscher Weiss and Russell E. Murray, Jr. 2006. MIML: Musical Instruction and Musical Learning. (accessed May 9, 2006).

Jean and Alexander Heard Library  Anne Potter Wilson Music Library
Blair School of Music  Vanderbilt University
Copyright © 2007 Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University

MIML is funded through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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necessarily represent the opinion of the National Endowment for the Humanities.