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date: 02 June 2020


  • Charles Cudworth
  • , revised by Richard M. Andrewes


University city in England.

The presence of the great monastery of Ely, 24 km to the north, led to meetings betweeen the Ely monks and wandering scholars from Oxford University and Cambridge University, the second English university grew from their teaching and preaching. The first Cambridge college, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284 by Hugh of Balsham, Bishop of Ely. Music was included among medieval subjects at Peterhouse but it was probably studied only as a theoretical, not a practical, art. Of the early collegiate foundations, the most important from the musical point of view was King’s (1441), linked with the school at Eton; both were founded by King Henry VI, and King’s College was provided with a choir of 24 ‘singing men and boys’.

The world’s first music degrees are recorded as having been conferred at Cambridge in 1463/4; Thomas Saintwix (St Just) received the MusD and Henry Abyngdon (Abington) was awarded both the MusB and the MusD. These earliest degrees seem to have been in the nature of honorary degrees bestowed on distinguished scholars or musicians, but before long an ‘exercise’ in the form of one or more original compositions was required of candidates, although they were not expected to reside in the university. Thus Robert Fayrfax gained the MusD in ...

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Musical Times
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association
Revue belge de musicologie