Profile of Dr Sally Harper

Dr Sally Harper
Senior Lecturer in Music
01248 382126
Music Annexe, College Road


Born near Dudley in the West Midlands, Sally Harper is a graduate of Birmingham University and completed her doctorate in 1989 at Oxford (Magdalen and Brasenose colleges). She began teaching at Bangor in 1991 and subsequently discovered a passion for Wales, its culture, and its language. She has been Director of the Centre of Advanced Welsh Music Studies (CAWMS) since  2002 and is co-editor of the bilingual journal Welsh Music History / Hanes Cerddoriaeth Cymru. She also has a long-standing interest in music and Christian liturgy in both the medieval and contemporary church. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2006.

Much of Sally’s time recently has been devoted to a series of funded research projects, most recently as Co-Investigator of an AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society three-year major research project, ‘The experience of worship in late medieval cathedral and parish church’. She is also Co-Director of the Bangor Pontifical Project and has contributed to two web-based AHRC-funded projects on medieval Welsh poetry, and In 2009 she led a related AHRC research project on the performance of medieval vernacular verse in Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Sally currently works part-time in the School of Music. She is also a licensed lay minister in the Church in Wales, and an Associate Chaplain of Bangor Cathedral.


(courses in both English and Welsh)

  • Various Areas of Music History
  • Arts Administration
  • Music in the Community Dissertation (including MA)



  • Chair of the Board of Examiners
  • Honorary Director of the Centre for Advanced Welsh Music Studies

Research Interests

Music in Wales, with particular emphasis on music and culture in medieval and early modern Wales

Medieval liturgy and religious institutions

Music for the contemporary liturgy

Main publications

Authored Books

  • Music in Welsh Culture before 1650: A Study of the Principal Sources (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007).
  • Medieval English Benedictine Liturgy: Studies in the Formation, Structure and Content of the Monastic Votive Office, c.950-1540 (Outstanding Dissertations in Music from British Universities), New York and London, Garland Publishing Inc, 1993.


Edited Books

  • [With P. S. Barnwell and Magnus Williamson] Late Medieval Liturgies Enacted: The Experience of Worship in Cathedral and Parish Church (Aldershot, Ashgate, forthcoming, 2014)
  • [With Wyn Thomas] Welsh Music Studies: Bearers of Song (Essays in Honour of Meredydd Evans and Phyllis Kinney) / Astudiaethau Cerddoriaeth Cymru: Cynheiliaid y Gân (Traethodau i anrhydeddu Meredydd Evans a Phyllis Kinney) (Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 2007).
  • Music in the Scottish Church up to 1603: Studies and Essays based on the papers of the late Isobel Woods Preece (Glasgow, Musica Scotica, 2000).
  • Robert ap Huw Studies / Astudiaethau Robert ap Huw (Welsh Music History / Hanes Cerddoriaeth Cymru vol. 3) (Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 1999).



  • Lady Mass in the Lady Chapel (critical edition, with Matthew Cheung Salisbury and John Harper), Early English Church Music chant sub-series inaugural volume (Stainer & Bell for the British Academy, forthcoming, 2014/5; printed and online versions).


Book Chapters

  • Musical Imagery in the Poetry of Guto’r Glyn’, ‘Gwalch Cywyddau Gwŷr’: Essays on Guto’r Glyn and Fifteenth-Century Wales, ed. Dylan Foster Evans, Barry J. Lewis & Ann Parry Owen (Aberystwyth, 2013), 177–202.
  • ‘Traces of Lost Late Medieval Offices? The Sanctilogium Angliae, Walliae, Scotiae, et Hiberniae of John of Tynemouth [fl.1350]’, Essays on the History of English Music in Honour of John Caldwell: Sources, Style, Performance, Historiography, ed. Emma Hornby and David Maw (Boydell and Brewer , 2010), 1–21.
  • ‘"Songes of the doeinges of theire Auncestors": English and Welsh Music Traditions’, Medieval English Literary Culture and the Welsh Nation, ed. Ruth Kennedy and Simon Meecham-Jones (Palgrave Macmillan, New Middle Ages Series, ed. Bonnie Wheeler, 2008), 231–50.
  • ‘Cerddoriaeth yn Llyfr Lloffion Phillip Powell o Aberhonddu (c.1630–35)’/  ‘Music in the Commonplace Book of Phillip Powell of Brecon (c.1630–35)’, Welsh Music Studies: Bearers of Song (Essays in Honour of Meredydd Evans and Phyllis Kinney), ed. Sally Harper and Wyn Thomas (Cardiff, 2007), (Cymraeg: 117–33; English: 134–44).


Articles (selected)

  • ‘Hymns and devotional songs in medieval Wales’ and ‘Carol: Early Welsh’, The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, ed. J. R. Watson & Emma Hornby (Canterbury Press online publication, 2013,
  • Canu’r “Songes of the Doeinges of their Auncestors”: Agweddau ar Draddodiadau Cerddorol Cymru a Lloegr’, Llên Cymru, 31 (2008), 104–117.
  • ‘Dafydd ap Gwilym, poet and musician’ / ‘Dafydd ap Gwilym, Bardd a Cherddor’ (April, 2007)
    ‘“Musicke bye Voice and Instrument”: Patrons and Players in Late Medieval and Early Modern Wales’ (Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 2007), 58–73.
  •  ‘An Elizabethan Tune List from Lleweni Hall, North Wales’, Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, 38 (2005), 1–66.
  • ‘Popish Plots to kill the Queen: an Eighteenth-century Revival of the Elizabethan Ballad of Sidanen’, Journal of the National Library of Wales, 33 (2004), 221–40.
  • ‘Datblygiad cerdd dant yng Nghymru yn yr Oesoedd Canol’ [The development of Cerdd Dant in Wales in the Middle Ages’], Cof Cenedl, 19 (2004), 1–35.
  • ‘Tunes for a Welsh Psalter: Edmwnd Prys’s Llyfr y Salmau’, Studia Celtica, 37 (2003), 221–67.
  • Music in the Welsh Household c.1580–1620’, The Welsh History Review, 21 (2003), 621–45.
  • ‘A Musical Christmas at Lleweni Hall, Denbighshire, in the Elizabethan Era’, New Welsh Review (2002), 45−52.
  • ‘Issues in dating the repertory of Cerdd Dant’, Studia Celtica 35 (2001), 325–40.
  • ‘So how many Irishmen went to Glyn Achlach? Early accounts of the formation of cerdd dant’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 42 (Winter, 2001), 1–25.
  • ‘The Robert ap Huw Manuscript and the Canon of Sixteenth-Century Welsh Harp Music’ (130–61; Welsh version 162–82), Robert ap Huw Studies, ed. Sally Harper (1999).
  • ‘The Bangor Pontifical: A Pontifical of the Use of Salisbury’, Welsh Music History / Hanes Cerddoriaeth Cymru 2 (1997), 65–99; Welsh version 100−25.  


In Press or Forthcoming

  • ‘How Did They Do Liturgy? Preparing Late Medieval Text for Modern Enactment’ and ‘Clothing the space: making and using the artefacts and vestments for St Teilo's’, in The Experience of Late Medieval Worship, ed. Sally Harper, P. S. Barnwell, and Magnus Williamson (Ashgate, forthcoming, 2014).
  • ‘Shaking off the complex: Scholarly Perspectives on Welsh Music’, The New Welsh Studies, ed. Daniel G. Williams (Cardiff: Parthian, forthcoming 2014).
  • ‘And all in accordance with Sarum Use.  Revisiting the mediaeval liturgical pattern of St Davids’, Revisiting St Davids, ed. Jonathan Wooding (Logaston Press, forthcoming, 2014)

Website Publications


Cnference Papers(selected)

  • ‘Clothing the space: books, artefacts, vestments and organ’, The experience of worship in the late medieval parish church and cathedral, Annual Conference of the Ecclesiological Society, St Albans Centre and Church, Holborn, London (6 October 2012)
  • ‘Voicing the Verse: Guto’r Glyn and his musical companions’, invited address to inaugural conference of guto’ (11 September 2012)
  • ‘How did they do liturgy? Preparing late medieval text for modern enactment’, Experiencing Late Medieval Worship, II: Process and Experiment, Leeds International Medieval Congress, Leeds University (11 July 2012)
  • ‘Practice-led investigation of past experiences: the case of worship in late medieval cathedral and parish church’, Religion and Society Sacred Practices in Everyday Life Conference, University of Edinburgh (10 May 2012)
  •  ‘Mapping the Musical History of Wales’, CAWMS, Y Drwm, Aberystwyth, (February 2012)
  • Co-contributor to conference presentation on Medieval Liturgy for American Sarum, Bronxville, New York (14-17 January, 2011)
  • ‘An Introduction to Mary in the Liturgy’, Sarum College, Salisbury (5 May 2011)
  • ‘Focusing on Marian Devotion’ (For Experience of Worship enactments at St Fagans, June 2011)
  • ‘The Bangor Pontifical in its Liturgical Context’, Monastic Musicians at Loreto, Llandudno (27 September 2010)
  •  ‘Bringing a medieval Welsh manuscript to life: the Bangor Pontifical Digitization Project’, St Fagans National History Museum (14 November, 2009)
  •  ‘The Bangor Pontifical Project’, Bangor Cathedral (Project Launch, 18 October 2009)
  • ‘The partnership of string and tongue in medieval Wales’, Bangor University (16 May, 2009)
  • ‘Experimenting with the Performance of Bardic Poetry’, School of Celtic Studies, Edinburgh (4 April 2009)
  • ‘Wales, the true remnant of the ancient Britons’: English perceptions of late medieval Welsh musical culture (paper for CHOMBEC [Centre for the History of Music in the British Empire and Commonwealth], Bristol University, 4 November 2008)
  • Case study of the medieval organ in Wales: the St Teilo’s church project (Study day exploring the late medieval organ, St Fagan’s National Museum of Wales, 18 September 2008)
  • ‘Border Crossings: Welsh-English Musical Interchange c.1450–1600’ (Conference of the North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History, Toronto, August 2008)
  • ‘Border Crossings: Welsh-English Musical Interchange c.1450–1600’ (Conference of Medieval and Renaissance Music, Bangor, July 2008)
  • ‘Singing the “Songes of the Doeings of their Auncestors”: Aspects of Musical Tradition in Late Medieval Wales’ (Bangor University, Public Lecture, April 2008)
  • ‘Canu’r “Songes of the Doeinges of their Auncestors”: Agweddau ar Draddodiadau Cerddorol Cymru a Lloegr’ (University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, 31 Feb 2008).
  • ‘St David and his cathedral’; ‘The Iona Community and social justice’; ‘Celtic Spirit, Place and Song’ (University of Otago, New Zealand, three public lectures, January 2008)



Regular Radio and TV broadcasts, including

  • Requiem’ (contributions to three 30-minute programmes for S4C, dir. John Bridcut, spring 2014, forthcoming).
  • Defodau Dewi Sant’ (1-hour programme for S4C, 1 March 2007 & 1 March 2011, presented by Sally Harper with the Alamire Consort, dir. David Skinner; produced by Green Bay Studios).


Member of Board of Directors, Gwasanaeth Ysgolion William Mathias