You are here

  1. Home
  2. Professor Elaine Moohan

Professor Elaine Moohan

Profile summary

Professional biography

Elaine is Professor of Musicology at The Open University. She is graduate of the University of Glasgow (MA, BMus) and the University of Manchester (MusM, PhD).  At Glasgow University she studied concurrently for the multidisciplinary MA degree and the specialist music degree of BMus.  While there she developed her interest in late Mediaeval and early Renaissance music, an interest that led her to study with David Fallows at the University of Manchester. Her specialist field is late-fifteenth-century sacred music and its manuscript sources.  Recently, she has extended her research interests to include music in her home city of Glasgow from the foundation of the medieval cathedral to the end of the eighteenth century.

Research interests

Elaine welcomes expressions of interest from potential research students in the areas of late-medieval and Renaissance music; production of music manuscripts; liturgical music; and, music in Glasgow during the long eighteenth century.


Glasgow Cathedral before the Reformation: the auspicious choir of Glasgow’, in Kate Molleson ed. Dear Green Sounds (2015)

The Complete Works of Robert Johnson (d. c. 1560), Musica Scotica – due April 2018

Johannes Martini, Johannes Martini Complete Masses (Recent Researches in Music of the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance), ed. E Moohan and M Steib, A-R Editions, Madison

‘Caroline Wichern’, in The New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers

‘The Sacred Music Institution in Glasgow, 1796-1805’ in Notis musycall: Essays on Music and Scottish Culture in Honour of Kenneth Elliott, ed. Gordon Munro … Elaine Moohan (Musica Scotica Trust: Glasgow)

See also Open Research Online for further details of Elaine Moohan’s research publications.

Current research interests

Music at Glasgow Cathedral in the pre-Reformation era

Fragments of liturgical manuscripts associated with the pre-Reformation library of Glasgow Cathedral

Music in eighteenth-century Glasgow

John Fergus, Glasgow composer, organist, and performer

Music publishing in eighteenth-century Glasgow

Early music printing in Glasgow, particularly the work of James Aird

Teaching interests

Elaine joined The Open University's full-time staff in March 2002 as Arts Staff Tutor and currently works from the office of The Open University in Scotland, based in Edinburgh.  She brings experience of teaching at a campus university - occasional lecturer in medieval and renaissance topics at the Music Department of the University of Glasgow – and of distance education - Tutor Counsellor and Associate Lecturer at The OU.

Her course responsibilities at The OU include contributions to the teaching materials in AA100: The Arts Past and Present; A179: Start Listening to Music;  AA317: Words and Music which contains a new edition of Regis’s Missa L’homme armé with liturgical commentary; A873 Music MA Part 1, with an exploration of fifteenth-century manuscript transmission; A234: Understanding music, with a chapter that introduces students to mediaeval vocal forms and links to Gaelic waulking songs.

Impact and engagement

'Early Glasgow: The Story of Church and City', Glasgow City Archives, Mitchell Library (floor 5) exhibition 16-28 January 2017, with four show-and-tell sessions, plus public seminar 19 January 2017

'Glasgow and the Impact of the Reformation', Glasgow City Archives, Mitchell Library (floor 5) exhibition 13 January - 28 February 2018, with public seminar 18 January 2018

'Who was Robert Johnson? with an introduction to his music', pre-concert talk followed by performance of nine works by the sixteenth-century Scottish composer, Robert Johnson, St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow, 4 April 2018

External collaborations

Cultural History of Glasgow Research Network - funded by a network grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh in collaboration with Glasgow City Archives, Glasgow Life. a key element of this project was the inclusion of Public Historians in generating new research.

Mapping the Cultural History of Glasgow - internally funded project with partners at Glasgow City Archives and the Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Guelph.



Externally funded projects

Historical and Cultural researcher's network at Glasgow City Archives
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Jan 201930 Jun 2021The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)

The objective of this project is to create an interactive network of scholars, without barrier to discipline or research experience, who use the Glasgow City Archives to research any aspect of the city’s history. It is expected that this network will include academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students, archives staff, and other ‘Glasgow Life’ Museums and Collections staff. It will function through a series of workshops and study days, and contribute to the programme of public-facing events at the Mitchell Library. One of the aims is to include local history groups in the workshops, and provide two study days to showcase their research. All members, including the local history groups, will be encouraged to contribute to the outputs and development of online resources. Informally, it will provide scholars with a professionally empathetic and experienced research group that can share knowledge of the sources and support development of advanced research skills. The project website will provide details of all activities:

Listening and British cultures: listeners' responses to music in Britain, c. 1700-2018
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Mar 201628 Feb 2019AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council

The study of music has typically focused on the work, the composer and the performer. More recently, interest has focused on the listener, but generally from the perspective of psychology or reception studies, which draw their evidence from experimentation, interview or musically informed critical opinion. The approach of this project is different: it places the listener at the heart of musical experience in Britain in the period c.1700-2018, emphasising the written testimony of the impact of music on 'ordinary' people. Typically the material is drawn from diaries, letters and memoirs. The evidence is all the more potent for being personal and often musically 'uninformed' or naïve. The team believes that such evidence facilitates a new way of studying how and what music communicates, and that it can, when gathered as a mass, inform novel approaches to musicology. The project will address three research questions: 1. What can personal accounts of listening to music in Britain tell us about how listeners recognise and identify with a common culture through music? 2. What can these accounts add to our understanding of the place of music in broader aspects of personal, community and national life in Britain? 3. What more can listeners' accounts tell us about the place in British musical life of particular repertoires and their associated performing and listening practices? The project aims to combine empirical research methods effectively with digital research methods. It does not aim merely at gathering 'big data', but sets out to use that data to support a traditional strength of humanities research - close reading of texts to underpin the writing of historical narratives. It builds on the AHRC-funded Listening Experience Database (LED) project (2013-15,, which established a methodology for collecting accounts of listening experiences in any period or culture, and a tool, in the form of a Linked Open Data database, for its storage and analysis. The objectives are: 1. To capture a mass of primary source evidence, and to make it available for analysis through an open-access database. 2. To use this data to inform new understandings of the place of music in British cultural life. 3. To develop a clear methodological framework for using digital content in humanities research, and an effective methodology for the mining and analysis of social media as primary source material for responses to music. 4. To develop the ways in which the database supports entry and analysis of data, and to use the database as a case study for research into the application of Linked Open Data. 5. To disseminate the findings to academic and non-academic audiences through a range of means including publications, social media, knowledge exchange events, seminars and a conference. New insights into the experience of listeners have the potential to inform not only historical musicology but also other research within and beyond the academic community - for example, in performance practice, social and cultural history, religious studies, Celtic studies, area studies, psychology and health studies, sociology and media studies. The project will benefit museums, libraries and archives - in particular, specific institutions with which the team will be working – by informing understanding of and increasing exposure to their collections. It will develop and document a clear methodology for using digital content in humanities research, including large-scale data sets such as social media archives that are currently difficult to use. It will establish data modelling practices transferable to other projects and create data assets of value to both academics and other users such as the media (for example, rich data about a wide range of music).

The Collected Works of Robert Johnson (RSE)
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Jan 201631 Jan 2017The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)

The objective of this project is to published the first scholarly edition of the complete works of the Scottish composer Robert Johnson (d. c. 1560); only six works are currently available. Funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh will allow me to consult first-hand the manuscript sources of his music held in libraries across the UK.


Medieval fragments from Glasgow's archives (2020-11)
Moohan, Elaine
The Innes Review, 71(2) (pp. 139-201)

Eine der originellsten Stimmen in der Musik der heutigen Zeit Janet Beat zum 75 Geburtstag 2012 (2012)
Moohan, Elaine
Tableau musical(14)

The Sacred Music Institution in Glasgow, 1796-1805 (2005)
Moohan, Elaine
In: Munro, Gordon; Campbell, Stuart; Hair, Greta-Mary; Mackay, Margaret A.; Moohan, Elaine and Hair, Graham eds. Notis Musycall: Essays on Music and Scottish Culture in Honour of Kenneth Elliott. Historical Studies of Scottish Music (pp. 231-250)
ISBN : 095488650X | Publisher : Musica Scotica Trust | Published : Glasgow

Notis Musycall: Essays on Music and Scottish Culture in Honour of Kenneth Elliott (2005)
Munro, Gordon; Campbell, Stuart; Hair, Greta-Mary; MacKay, Margaret A.; Moohan, Elaine and Hair, Graham eds.
Historical studies of Scottish music
ISBN : 095488650X | Publisher : Musica Scotica Trust | Published : Glasgow, UK

Complete Works (Musica Scotica vol. 8) (2019)
Johnson, Robert
Musica Scotica, Glasgow.