Dr Katherine Butler

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

MA (Oxon), MSt (Oxon), PhD (Royal Holloway)


Musical culture of sixteenth and seventeenth-century England.

My current research investigates the changing cultural significance of music in early modern England by examining the myths and stories which informed beliefs about music. I am exploring the interaction between learned and popular ideas of music and how these ideas were created and altered through the retelling of established myths or the invention of new fictional stories. Focussing on the period 1500-1700, the study will relate these changing ideas of music to the social, intellectual, and artistic upheavals of this period, as well as the transition musicologists perceive between the so-called Renaissance and Baroque.


Another interest of mine is the role of music in court politics and my article on music in Queen Elizabeth’s royal image was published in Renaissance Quarterly in 2012. I am preparing a monograph entitled Music in Elizabethan Court Politics that considers the role of music in constructing royal and courtly identities and in influencing the Queen’s policies and patronage.


Topics I have taught include ‘Music at the Court of Queen Elizabeth I’ for first-years; ‘Spaces and Places for Music in England in the Long Sixteenth Century’ for final honours students; and ‘Historical Musicology’ for postgraduates.


For further information and publications see my webpages and blog:




Contact details:


St John’s College, St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JP