Aims and results

Of the eight extant Wode Part books, Edinburgh University Library is fortunate to possess five, including three in the Laing Collection.

The remaining three books are located in libraries across the world that are collaborating with us in the project:

  • The British Library
  • Trinity College, Dublin
  • Georgetown University, Washington, DC

For the very first time this exhibition will bring together all the existing Part books.

In addition to co-ordinating multi-disciplinary research on the Psalter, the project will also produce an exhibition and a series of concerts.

While the exhibition and associated concerts will be transitory, the project's legacy will be permanent. A recording of the Psalter's music will be published and the project website will make available high-quality digital images of the complete contents of all the Part-books. In these varied ways the Wode Psalter will allow the world of Reformation Scotland to be seen and heard once again.


The project will mount an international exhibition at the Edinburgh University Library during the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival.

For the very first the existing Wode Part-books will be brought together.

They will be the focus for a wider examination of post-Reformation Scotland revealing new insights about:

  • religious worship and devotion
  • painting and decoration
  • poetry and literature
  • patronage and material culture


The project will also produce a series of musical concerts featuring a selection of the different kinds of music recorded in the Wode Part-books, specially transcribed and edited for the project.

Concerts will be in Spring/early summer 2010 at St Andrews and Summer 2011 in Edinburgh.

A recording should also be available at the end of 2010.

Associated events

The Cunningham Lectures

This series marked the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth [1509] and 450th anniversary of Scottish Reformation Parliament [1560] - Nov 2009-Jan 2010 New College, University of Edinburgh.

Symposium on Scottish Sacred Music: Towards a New Narrative?

1-3 September 2009 at Pluscarden Abbey.

Celebrating the Music of Andrew Blackhall (c.1535-1609) in its European Context

St. Michael's Parish Church, Inveresk, Musselburgh 24 May, 2009

Andrew or Andro Blackhall was the most important of the first generation of post-Reformation Scottish composers, providing psalm-settings and anthems for King James VI and his court as well as setting the poetry of the Castalian Band to music - poets like Alexander Montgomery who gathered around the young King.

From 1574 to his death Blackhall was minister of Inveresk Parish Church in Musselburgh (now St. Michaels Inveresk) and it is there that the Renaissance Singers commemorated the 400th anniversary of his death by performing some of his music in the context of post-Reformation music from Scotland, France, Holland and Germany.

Much of the music in the concert was taken from the Wode Partbooks and included first modern performances of two pieces by Blackhall, reconstructed from those partbooks.

Edinburgh University Renaissance Singers directed by Noel O' Regan

St. Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen 10th May, 2009

'Music from the Age of Jean Calvin' (a concert of music by French, Dutch, English and Scottish composers to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Jean Calvin)

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