Johannes de Grocheio, the Ars musice and the Transformation of Chant Theory in the Late Thirteenth Century


  • Dr Catherine Jeffreys Monash University


Aristotle, chant theory, College de Saint-Denis, College de Sorbonne, Guy of Saint-Denis, Johannes de Botis, Johannes de Grocheio, Lessay


In this paper, I attempt to trace the music theorist Johannes de Grocheio, author of the Ars musice (ca. 1275). I consider his Norman background, the two monks responsible for preserving his only known treatise, and his disputed magisterial standing in the university city of Paris. I then focus on Grocheio’s treatment of chant theory, which has received scant attention in the literature compared with his remarks on secular music and his ‘Aristotelian’ method of describing his subject. I contemplate the social context for writing anew on chant theory in a city known for not stipulating music in its arts curricula and consider the influence of Aristotle’s writings on Grocheio’s treatment. I end the paper with a survey of the chants that he names in his treatise, confirming that his examination of chant is ‘according to the use of the people of Paris’.

Author Biography

Dr Catherine Jeffreys, Monash University

Catherine Jeffreys is a research affiliate in the Centre for Religious Studies, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University. She completed a PhD in musicology at the University of Melbourne in 2000 on the devotional-song repertory of Hildegard of Bingen. She has published on twelfth-century German plainchant, late-thirteenth-century plainchant theory in Paris, and the early adoption of Aristotle’s Politics in music theory in the Latin west. She is part of a Monash-based multidisciplinary editorial team that has published a Latin edition and translation of Johannes de Grocheio’s Ars musice (2011) and Guy of Saint-Denis’s Tractatus de tonis (2017).




How to Cite

Jeffreys, C. (2022). Johannes de Grocheio, the Ars musice and the Transformation of Chant Theory in the Late Thirteenth Century. Journal of Music Research Online, 9. Retrieved from