Dr Katie Bank

Department of Music

Honorary Research Fellow


Full contact details

Dr Katie Bank
Department of Music
Jessop Building
Leavygreave Road
S3 7RD

I am a musicologist focusing on early modern English song and musical-visual culture. My research reflects an interdisciplinary attention to the role of music and music making within the intellectual history of early modern England, particularly musics intersection with natural philosophy, the passions, and concepts of sense perception. Recent publications focus on English vocal music, historical experience, travel literature, and musical-visual culture. In all my work I aim to revise the way vernacular recreational song is perceived and taught.

I recently completed my first monograph, Knowledge Building in Early Modern English Music (Routledge, forthcoming early 2020) with the support of a long-term National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the Newberry Library. The book takes to task the historiography of English song and examines the role of music making and song in the formation of knowledge in early seventeenth-century England.

While at the Newberry, I also researched musical meaning in non-lexical vocable refrains (i.e. fa-la, heigh-nonny-no). This study establishes the musical and textual significance of ‘nonsense’ refrains and argues that they could mean far more than frivolous fun or a simple;fig leaf; to veil the unspeakable. My initial research has shown that the contemporary meaning of the 'fala' was adaptable, complex, and more nuanced than the modern historiography of this music would lead us to

I am committed to teaching and public engagement. I have spent the last several years teaching music undergraduates at the University of Oxford and early modern studies postgrads at University College London. In 2012, I was awarded an AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Grant with two colleagues for a project called ‘Renaissance Art & Music’, based at the Courtauld Institute. I continued my relationship with the Courtauld Gallery, co-curating music and giving talks in the gallery from 2014-2018, including for the Association for Art History annual conference in 2018.With the support of a Reid Scholarship, I finished my doctoral studies in 2016 at Royal Holloway, University of London under the supervision of Dr Helen Deeming (RHUL) and Professor Lisa Jardine (UCL). I am an Associate Fellow status of the Higher Education Academy, have a Master of Teaching from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Music (Distinction) from King’s College London in Musicology. I am also an avid choral singer and can be found performing around London and abroad.

  • PhD, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2016
  • MMus, King’s College London, 2012
  • MaT, University of Southern California (with teaching qualification), 2007
  • BA, Bowdoin College, 2005
Research interests
  • Music and text
  • Sensing and the self
  • Musical visual culture
  • Historical experience
  • Early modern English song
Teaching activities

Forthcoming. Knowledge Building in Seventeenth-Century English Music. Routledge Studies in Renaissance and Early Modern Worlds of Knowledge, (ed.)
Harald Braun (New York: Routledge, forthcoming 2020).

Forthcoming. Eglantine table; at Hardwick Hall; essay in The Museum of Renaissance Music: A History in 100 Exhibits (eds.) Vincenzo Borghetti and Tim

2020. ‘(Re)Creating the Eglantine Table' Early Music, forthcoming August 2020.

2019. Myth, Satire, and Truth Building in Thomas Weelkes; chapter in Music, Myth, and Story in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (eds.) Katherine Butler and
Samantha Bassler (Martlesham: Boydell and Brewer Press, 2019).

2016. Dialogues of Byrd and Sidney: performing incompleteness; Renaissance Studies (2016) 31: 407-425, doi: 10.1111/rest.12224.

2014. School Bands and Choirs; with John Whitener in Music and the Social Sciences: An Encyclopedia (ed.) William Forde Thompson (Thousand Oaks: Sage
Publications, 2014), 982-986.

2013. 'Musicke doth witnesse call’: Representation and Truth in the English Madrigal; Exegesis Journal (2013) 1, 11-20.