Cantum Pulcriorem Invenire

The Latin song of the period c 1170 to c 1320, called conductus by contemporary authors, was composed and cultivated in both monophonic and polyphonic forms. Unlike its contemporary genres, the motet and organum, it was not based on any pre-existing musical or poetic material. The conductus may thus be recognised as the first coherent repertory of polyphonic music that was entirely composed – poetry and music – for the first time.

The aim of Cantum pulcriorem invenire is to place the conductus on the same footing as its two partner genres. It seeks to achieve this aim by working in three domains simultaneously: conventional musicological scholarship, digital music bibliography, and practice-based research. There is a central objective to each of these three domains, followed by a fourth destined to secure sustainability for work in medieval studies in music:

  1. To research, write and publish a monograph entitled Discovering Song: Thirteenth-Century Latin Poetry and Music that will investigate the conductus in all its forms.
  2. To catalogue the repertory (more than 800 records) in an online catalogue, which will, for the first time, provide a coherent, fully searchable inventory of the 12th- and 13th-century conductus.
  3. To produce recorded traces of the polyphonic and monophonic conductus repertory (three commercial CDs) with experienced world-class soloists using the most up-to-date technology for dissemination.
  4. To use the project as a resource to develop the research further via a number of project studentships which will not only enhance our knowledge of the field but will build capacity in terms of medievalists of the next generation.


  • Dr Gregorio Bevilacqua
  • Professor Mark Everist
  • Mr Leif Isaksen
  • Ms Eva Maschke
  • Mr Chris O’Gorman
  • Mr John Potter
  • Dr Lena Wahlgren-Smith
  • Ms Amy Williamson
  • Mr Jacopo Mazzeo
  • Mr Asher Vijay Yampolsky
  • Ms Jennifer Ruggier