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 has recented completed several books that work on liturgy and the arts.  Fassler's "Music and Worship in the USA"  studies ritual out of observation; Fassler is herself a documentary filmmaker focusing communities of song.  She recently finished (with Christian Jara) the short documentary: Where the Hudson Meets the Nile: Coptic Chant in Jersey City. Fassler's films will soon be featured on

Courses in her rota include a seminar on Hildegard of Bingen; Medieval Liturgies: Manuscripts and Material Culture; Music and Worship in the USA; Liturgical Prayer; and courses on the Hollywood Musical and American Popular Song.  

Recent Publications


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

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

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

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

Ed. 2001. Musicians for the Churches: Reflections on Formation and Vocation. Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Ed. with Rebecca A. Baltzer. 2000. 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.

1993. Gothic Song:  Victorine Sequences and Augustinian Reform in Twelfth-Century Paris.  Cambridge Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press. Second edition (University of Notre Dame Press), 2011. 

Book Chapters:

Eith William Flynn and Tova Leigh-Choate. 2014. "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."  A Companion to Hildegard of Bingen, ed. Beverly Kienzele and G. Ferzocco. Leiden: Brill. 

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


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


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


2010. "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, pp. 433-457. Bibliotheca Victorina XXII.  Turnhout: Brepols.


2010. " 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, pp. 102-127. New York: Palgrave.


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).


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

Co-Producer and Writer. 2009. Where the Hudson Meets the Nile: Teaching Chant at: St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church. Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Co-Producer and Writer. 2008. Performing Passion: JS Bach and the Gospel of John (1725). Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Distributed by WWNorton. 

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

Producer and Writer. 2004. Work and Pray:  Living the Psalms with the Nuns of Regina Laudis. Yale Institute of Sacred Music, with funding from the Lilly Endowment. Distributed by WWNorton. 


Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy, is renowned for her work at the intersection of musicology, liturgical studies, and theology and is a specialist in sacred music of several periods. At Notre Dame she directs the Program in Sacred Music (SMND) and holds joint appointments in Music and in Theology; she is also a fellow in the Medieval and Nanovic Institutes at Notre Dame; and is a past president of the Medieval Academy of America. Before coming to Notre Dame in 2009, 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 and was appointed in the Institute, the Yale School of Music, and the Yale Department of Music. 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 scholarship including The Virgin of Chartres: Making History through Liturgy and the Arts (Yale University Press), a study informed by close work with architecture (on JSTOR).  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).  This interdisciplinary approach is also reflected in a new book co-authored by with Jeffery Hamburger, Eva Schlotheuber, and Susan Marti:Liturgical Life and Latin Learning at Paradies bei Soest, 1300-1425: Inscription and Illumination in the Choir Books of a North German Dominican Convent. 2 vols. Munster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2016, and in a volume co-edited with Katie A. Bugyis and A.K. Kraebel, Medieval Cantors and Their Craft: Music, Liturgy, and the Shaping of History, York Medieval Press of Boydell and Brewer, 2017. Also on JSTOR.

Fassler has completed a widely-used textbook on medieval music, now being translated into Spanish: Music in the Medieval West (with its Anthology) (New York, W. W. Norton, 2014 and 2015 respectively). Her new work on Hildegard of Bingen combines study of liturgy, theology, music, drama, and the visual arts, and includes a full-dome digital model (with Christian Jara) based on the treatise Scivias (to be released in Spring, 2019). This work has been 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, “You Can’t Sing it For Them,” about African-American gospel music at Messiah Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT, and “Where the Hudson Meets the Nile, Teaching Coptic Chant in Jersey City.” These films will be distributed by beginning in the Fall, 2018. Fassler has several other edited volumes to her credit, including The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages, co-edited with Rebecca A. Baltzer (Oxford, 2000) and over sixty full-length articles and book chapters. She lectures widely in the USA and in Europe. She has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society.



241 Malloy Hall

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