Margot Fassler

Margot Fassler

Endowed Professor
Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy
History of Christianity
Liturgical Studies
World Religions and World Church


MA, Syracuse University

MPhil and PhD Cornell University

Research and Teaching Interests

Fassler is a music historian who gives the liturgy primary emphasis in her scholarly publications and her teaching.   Fassler's books, edited volumes, and articles focus on the Latin Middle Ages from around 800-1300, but she has strong interests in contemporary sacred music and ritual, and in American song, singers, and song collections.   She is now writing a book on Hildegard of Bingen and completing a textbook on medieval music.  Fassler's American Music and Worship course has a strong fieldwork component involving local religious communities, and potential film making ventures.

Courses in her rota include: "Making History with the Saints"; "Christian Repertories and Worship Traditions in the USA"; "Getting Medieval:  Music and Technology in the Latin Middle Ages (800-1400)"; "Hours of Prayer in the Christian Tradition"; "Music, Ritual, and the Documentary"; and (in the First Year Curriculum) "Songs and Songsters in the USA: from Indians to Indie."

See video below for footage of Prof. Fassler discussing St. Hildegard of Bingen:

Recent Publications



Music in the Medieval West: An Anthology. New York: WWNorton, 2014.

Music in the Medieval West.  WWNorton, 2013.

The Virgin of Chartres: Making History through Liturgy and the Arts.  Yale University Press, 2010.

Psalms in Community:  Jewish and Christian Textual, Liturgical, and Artistic Traditions, editor, with Harold W. Attridge.  SBL/Brill, 2003.   Second Printing, 2007.

The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages:  Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography, ed. Margot E. Fassler and Rebecca A. Baltzer.  Oxford University Press, 2000.  Received one of the two Honorable Mention awards from the American Association of Publishers, in the Religion & Philosophy category.

Gothic Song:  Victorine Sequences and Augustinian Reform in Twelfth-Century Paris.  Cambridge Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1993.  478 pp., examples, plates, indices, bibliography.  Otto Kinkeldey Award from the American Musicological Society, 1994; The John Nicholas Brown Prize from the Medieval Academy of America, 1997. Will appear in a second edition (University of Notre Dame Press), 2011. 

Book in progress : The Anglo-Norman Cantor: Music and Historiography in the Twelfth Century

Book in progress: Hildegard's Scivias: Liturgy, Music, Art in the Twelfth Century



(with William Flynn and Tova Leigh-Choate), "Hearing the Heavenly Symphony: An Overview of Hildegard’s Musical Oeuvre with Case Studies" and "Hildegard as Musical Hagiographer: Engelberg, Stiftsbibliothek 103 and Her Songs for Sts. Disibod and Ursula."  Brill Hildegard Handbook, ed. Beverly Kienzele, et al., forthcoming, 2013.

"Volmar, Hildegard, and St. Matthias," in Medieval Music in Practice, Studies in Honor of Richard Crocker, ed. Judith A. Peraino, Miscellanea 7 (Middleton, WI and Münster: American Institute of Musicology, 2013), pp. 85-109.


"Hildegard's Music for the Love Feast," rpt. with changes, in Resonant Witness: Conversations between Music and Theology, ed. Jeremy Begbie and Steven Guthrie.  Erdmans, 2010.


"History and Practice: the Opening of Hildegard's Scivias in a Liturgical Framework," in Something Fearful’: Medievalist Scholars on the Religious Turn in Literary Criticism, Religion and Literature 42 (Spring-Summer 2010).


“The Liturgical Framework of Time and the Representation of History," in Representing History, 900-1300:Art, Music, History.  Robert Maxwell, ed. Penn State University Press, 2010, 149-171, with notes.


"The Victorine Sequences Revisited: 1993-2009" in L'École de Saint- Victor de Paris: Influence et Rayonnement du Moyen Âge à l'Époque Moderne, ed. Dominque Poirel.  Bibliotheca Victorina XXII.  Turnhout, Brepols, 2010. 433-457.


" Helgaud of Fleury and the Liturgical Arts: The Magnification of Robert the Pious," Magnificence and the Sublime in Medieval Aesthetics: Art, Architecture, Literature, Music, ed. C. Stephen Jaeger (New York: Palgrave, 2010), pp. 102-127, with notes.

“Fulbert après Fulbert : le mythe d’un évêque de Chartres.” In Fulbert de Chartres, précurseur de l’Europe médiévale?, ed. M. Rouche, Paris, 2008, 113-119.

 “Adventus in Chartres.”  In Ceremonial Culture in the Pre-Modern World, Nicholas Howe, ed.  University of Notre Dame Press, 2006.

“Hildegard and the Song of Songs.”  In Scrolls of Love: Ruth and the Song of Songs; Peter Hawkins and Lesleigh Cushing Hawkins, eds.  Fordham University Press, 2006.

"Voices Magnified: Response to Katherine Zieman," in Voices in Dialogue: New Directions in Women's Cultural History from Antiquity to the Later Middle Ages, ed. Linda Olson and Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, Univ of Notre Dame Press, 2004.

“Music and the Miraculous:  Mary in the Mid-Thirteenth-Century Dominican Sequence Repertory.”  In Aux Origines de la Liturgie Dominicaine: Le Manuscrit Santa Sabina XIV L1.  Leonard E. Boyle and Pierre-Marie Gy, eds.  Paris and Rome,  2004.  pp. 229-278. (Also online)

“Psalms and Prayers in Daily Devotion: A Fifteenth-Century Devotional Anthology from the Diocese of Rheims -Beinecke 757” in Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice, eds. John D. Witvliet, Karin Maag. University of Notre Dame Press, March 2004.  pp. 15-40.

"Music for the Love Feast:  Hildegard of Bingen and the Song of Songs.”  Women’s Voices across Musical Worlds, ed. Jane A. Bernstein.  Northeastern University Press:  Boston, 2004. pp. 92-117.

Essay for the film, Work and Pray:  Living the Psalms with the Nuns of Regina Laudis.  Yale Institute of Sacred Music, with funding from the Lilly Endowment.  2004.

 “Hildegard and the Dawn Song of Lauds:  an Introduction to Benedictine Psalmody”, Psalms in Community:  Jewish and Christian Textual, Liturgical, and Artistic Traditions.  Society of Biblical Literature and Brill, 2003, pp 215-239.

“On Identity:  Hildegard of Bingen”, AMS Newsletter, the American Musicological Society, Vol. XXXIII, No. 1, February 2003.  pp 21-22.

“The First Marian Feast in Constantinople and Jerusalem:  Chant Texts, Readings, and Homiletic Literature.”  The Study of Medieval Chant:  Paths and Bridges, East and West,  ed. Peter Jeffery. 2002.

“Psalmody and the Medieval Cantor:  Ancient Models in the Service of Modern Praxis.”  Musicians for the Churches:  Reflections on Formation and Vocation, editor Margot Fassler.  Yale Institute of Sacred Music, 2001.  pp. 3-14.

“Mary’s Nativity, Fulbert of Chartres, and the Stirps Jesse:  Liturgical Innovation circa 1000 and Its Afterlife .” Speculum vol. 75, no. 2 April, 2000.  Pp. 389-434.

“Sermons, Sacramentaries, and Early Sources for the Office:  The Example of Advent” The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages, edited by Rebecca Baltzer and Margot Fassler.  Oxford, 2000.  Pp. 15-47.

“Composer and Dramatist:  ‘Melodious Singing and the Freshness of Remorse’.”  In Voice of the Living Light:  Hildegard of Bingen and Her World, edited by Barbara Newman.  University of California Press, 1998; pp. 149-175.



Jean Grosfillier, Les séquences d'Adam de Saint-Victor: Étude littéraire ... Reviewed by Margot Fassler. Speculum 86 (2011): 210 – 212.



Producer and Writer, Work and Pray:  Living the Psalms with the Nuns of Regina Laudis.  Yale Institute of Sacred Music, with funding from the Lilly Endowment.  2004 .  Distributed by WWNorton.  Many screenings, and the subject of an article to appear in Religion Compass.

Producer and Writer, Joyful Noise: Psalms in Community.  Yale Institute of Sacred Music,  2007. Distributed by the Society for Biblical Literature.

Co-Producer and Writer, Performing Passion: JS Bach and the Gospel of John (1725). Yale Institute of Sacred Music, forthcoming, 2008.   Distributed by WWNorton.  Many screenings, including on Mexican Public Television.

Co-Producer and Writer, Where the Hudson Meets the Nile: Teaching Chant at: St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church.  Yale Institute of Sacred Music,  2010.  Clips shown at the Society of Oriental Liturgy in Rome, and at Magdelene College, Cambridge University, June, 2009.

Co-Producer and Writer, You Can't Sing It for them: Continuity, Change, and a Church Musician (with JC Richard), Yale Institute of Sacred Music, 2010.


Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy, is renowned for her work at the intersection of musicology and theology and is a specialist in sacred music of several periods.  At Notre Dame she holds joint appointments in Music and in Theology, and she is a fellow in the Medieval and Nanovic Institutes.  Before coming to Notre Dame in 2010, Fassler spent a decade as director of the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, where she held the Robert Tangeman Chair of Music History.  Her book Gothic Song (2nd edition, Notre Dame Press, 2011), won both the John Nicolas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of America and the Otto Kinkeldey Prize of the American Musicological Society. Her interdisciplinary approach is demonstrated in her most recent book, The Virgin of Chartres: Making History through Liturgy and the Arts (Yale University Press), a study informed by close work with architecture.  The book has won both the Ace Mercers' International Book Award (for a book on art and religion) and the 2012 Otto Gründler Book Prize (for a book in medieval studies).  Fassler has just completed a textbook on medieval music, Music in the Medieval West (with anthology) for a new series published by W. W. Norton. Her new work on Hildegard of Bingen is completely interdisciplinary in nature, combining study of liturgy, theology, music, drama, and the visual arts, and includes a digital model based on the treatise Scivias. It is supported by both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Digital Innovation Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. 
In addition to her work as a historian, Fassler is a documentarian, who has made films engaging communities of song within ritual contexts. Completed films include “Work and Pray,” about the Benedictine nuns who sing Gregorian chant at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT, and “You Can’t Sing it For Them,” about African-American gospel music at Messiah Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT. Next to be completed will be “Where the Hudson Meets the Nile,” about a program developed at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Jersey City, NJ, for teaching the ancient Coptic chant to their American-born young people. 
Prof. Fassler is a frequent lecturer, nationally and internationally. She has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, and a Luce Faculty Fellow in Theology. She is active in the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Society for Oriental Liturgy, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the American Musicological Society, where she has recently been named to a new committee on music and technology; she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007.  Fassler is the Principal Investigator for a new grant (nearly $1.9 million) from the Lilly Endowment, “Recovering Christian Heritage through Sacred Music: A Model for Partnership.”  She was the co-author of a new Mellon grant to Notre Dame ($400,000.00) for the production of Sacred Music Drama.  Conductor Carmen-Helena Tellez is the Principal Investigator for this innovative work.



241 Malloy Hall

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