James Grier, FRSC

Office: TC 223
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x85340
Email: jgrier@uwo.ca

In 2016, James Grier, Professor of Music History, was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  This honour recognized his achievement in research on medieval music and liturgy, particularly that of Aquitaine, textual criticism and editing music, and popular music since World War II. His books include The Critical Editing of Music (Cambridge University Press, 1996), which has been translated into Spanish (Ediciones Akal, 2008); a critical study of the musical activities of Adémar de Chabannes, The Musical World of a Medieval Monk:  Adémar de Chabannes in Eleventh-Century Aquitaine (Cambridge University Press, 2006); an edition of Adémar’s music in Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis (Brepols, 2012); and a detailed palaeographic study of the music hand of Adémar de Chabannes (989-1034) in Corpus Christianorum, Autographa Medii Aevi.  These last two are the first volumes to investigate music in their respective distinguished series, and both won the Margaret Wade Labarge Prize from the Canadian Society of Medievalists in 2014 and 2019, respectively. More recently, he has published a critical edition of the Office of the Holy Trinity, as practised at Saint Martial in the eleventh century, in De Musicae Cultu (Brepols, 2020), and a detailed historical account of Musical Notation in the West (Cambridge University Press, 2021). Translations of The Critical Editing of Music into Japanese and of Musical Notation in the West into Arabic are forthcoming. Professor Grier has published four articles in the Journal of the American Musicological Society; his articles also appear in Journal of Musicology, Early Music History, Acta Musicologica, Plainsong and Medieval Music, Musica Disciplina, Revue d’Histoire des Textes, Speculum, Scriptorium and Journal of Medieval Latin, as well as in many collections of essays and Festschriften. He is presently completing critical editions of the Offertory and Tract from Aquitanian witnesses of the eleventh century (forthcoming from Brepols). His work has been featured in interviews on radio and television and he has appeared as keynote speaker all over the world.

Before arriving at Western in 1997, Professor Grier taught for seven years at Yale University where he won a Morse Fellowship (1993-94).  He also taught Classics at University of Waterloo and Mount Allison University, and was a member of the School of Music (cross-appointed to the Department of Classics), Queen’s University. In 2002-3, he held the Edward T. Cone Membership in Music Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His research has been supported by seven grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and a Killam Research Fellowship (2009-12). He has also held Fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities (2009-10), the American Council of Learned Societies (2009), and most recently the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2020-21) for his research in the foundations of musical literacy in the medieval West.


MusBac       Composition, University of Toronto, 1975.

BA                 Latin Language and Literature, University of Toronto, 1977.

MA                Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 1979.

PhD               Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 1985.

Selected Publications

The Critical Editing of Music:  History, Method, and Practice (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1996).  Pp. xiv, 267.  Spanish translation:  La edición crítica de música:  Historia, método y práctica, trans. Andrea Giráldez, Akal Música, 22 (Madrid:  Ediciones Akal, 2008).  Pp. 232.

The Musical World of a Medieval Monk:  Adémar de Chabannes in Eleventh-Century Aquitaine (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2006).  Pp. xvi, 367.

Ademari Cabannensis Opera Omnia Pars IIOpera liturgica et poetica:  Musica cum textibus, 2 vols., Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis 245, 245A (Turnhout:  Brepols, 2012).  Pp. cxxxvii, 699, 468.

Ademarus Cabannensis monachus et musicus, Corpus Christianorum, Autographa Medii Aevi, 7 (Turn­hout: Brepols, 2018), pp. 219.

The Office of the Holy Trinity at Saint Martial de Limoges in the Eleventh Century, De Musicae Cultu, 2 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2020), pp. lxxiv, 131.

Musical Notation in the West, Cambridge Introductions to Music (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), pp. xvi, 270.


“The Stemma of the Aquitanian Versaria.”  Journal of the American Musicological Society 41 (1988):  250-88.

“Lachmann, Bédier and the Bipartite Stemma:  Towards a Responsible Application of the Common-Error Method.”  Revue d’Histoire des Textes 18 (1988):  263-78.

“Some Codicological Observations on the Aquitanian Versaria.”  Musica Disciplina 44 (1990):  5-56.

“Scribal Practices in the Aquitanian Versaria of the Twelfth Century:  Towards a Typology of Error and Variant.”  Journal of the American Musicological Society 45 (1992):  373-427.

“A New Voice in the Monastery:  Tropes and Versus from Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Aquitaine.”  Speculum 69 (1994):  1023-69.

“Musical Sources and Stemmatic Filiation:  A Tool for Editing Music.”  Journal of Musicology 13 (1995):  73-102.

“Roger de Chabannes (d. 1025), Cantor of St Martial, Limoges.”  Early Music History 14 (1995):  53-119.

“Editing Adémar de Chabannes’ Liturgy for the Feast of Saint Martial.”  Plainsong and Medieval Music 6 (1997):  97-118.

Scriptio interrupta:  Adémar de Chabannes and the Production of Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS latin 909.”  Scriptorium 51 (1997):  234-50 and plates 17-27.

“The Mothers of Invention and Uncle Meat:  Alienation, Anachronism and a Double Variation.”  Acta Musicologica 73 (2001):  77-95.

“Adémar de Chabannes, Carolingian Musical Practices, and Nota Romana.”  Journal of the American Musicological Society 56 (2003):  43-98.

“The Music is the Message:  Music in the Apostolic Liturgy of Saint Martial.”  Plainsong and Medieval Music 12 (2003):  1-14.

“The Musical Autographs of Adémar de Chabannes (989-1034).”  Early Music History 24 (2005):  125-68.

“The Music is the Message II:  Adémar de Chabannes’ Music for the Apostolic Office of Saint Martial.”  Plainsong and Medieval Music 15 (2006):  43-54.

 “Biblical and Classical Imagery in the Liturgical Poetry of Adémar de Chabannes (989-1034).”  Journal of Medieval Latin 16 (2006):  76-94.

“The Reinstatement of Polyphony in Musical Composition:  Fugal Finales in Haydn’s Op. 20 String Quartets.”  Journal of Musicology 27 (2010):  55-83.

“Adémar de Chabannes (989-1034) and Musical Literacy.”  Journal of the American Musicological Society 66 (2013):  605-38.

De rebus incertis: Stephen of Liège and the Divine Office,” Plainsong and Medieval Music 29 (2020): 119-36.

“‘What a Concept! What, a Concept? What Concept?’ The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, and the Early Days of the Concept Album,” Journal of Musicology 39 (2022): 209-24.