Faculty & Staff

John Romey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


  • Phone: 260-481-5768
  • Office: Rhinehart Music Center, Room 210
  • E-mail: [email protected]

Dr. John Romey is a specialist of early modern French music, culture, politics, and spectacle; of South American colonial and indigenous musics; and of historical bowed bass instruments, instrumental technology, and historical performance practices. His research has been supported by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship in France, the Holmes/D’Accone American Musicological Society Travel Grant for travel and research in the history of opera, and the CWRU College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship. In the summer of 2019, he served as a short-term post-doctoral fellow at Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, during which time he presented guest lectures at the Universität Detmold/Paderborn, the Universität Leipzig, and the Institut für Musikforschung, Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg. In June 2021, he will serve as a Herzog-Ernst-Fellowship-Programme Fellow at the Gotha Research Centre in Germany and in July will conduct archival research in France funded by the American Musicological Society’s M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet Travel Grant. 

His current book project, titled  “The Tools of Gods and Beggars: Song As Cultural Mediator in Early Modern Paris,” examines the interplay between popular and elite song traditions in early modern Paris. Individuals participating in these separate but interwoven traditions composed new texts to popular songs, known as vaudevilles, and parodied airs from contemporary spectacles, especially from the Opéra. This research demonstrates that the performance of a staged spectacle only constituted a small portion of its social significance in seventeenth-century Paris because spectacles, like operas, were interactive events that engendered countless subsequent performative acts. It illuminates the roles played by song across different social groups, from blind beggar-musicians on the Pont-Neuf (the “new bridge” that became a central gathering space and hub for oral and written communication) to fashionable elites at Parisian salons and at court. 

He has published an article on street songs and ephemera produced during the Fronde in Early Modern French Studies, an article on the contribution of Parisian spoken theaters to the tradition of street song in The Journal of Musicology, and has an article about interactive song games based on operatic quotation and parody forthcoming in the Cambridge Opera Journal. He has further published a book chapter about court airs performed in French streets in Tanz Musik Transfer (Leipzig University Press) and the entry on “Popular Song in the Age of Louis XIV” for Oxford Bibliographies in Music.

Trained in historically informed performance at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Romey is an expert on the history of the Viennese Violone and performs professionally on violones and viols of all sizes. He has published the entry on the “Double Bass” for Oxford Bibliographies in Music and is under contract to contribute new articles about the double bass and the violone for Grove Music Online. In collaboration with John Pringle, renowned luthier of historical instruments, he has created a performance-based research project that will reconstruct a consort of French Renaissance viols (https://thefrenchconsortproject.com). While grounded in scholarship, this project will culminate in the creation of experiential learning modules for students in the music history classroom. The French Consort Project has received financial support from the Viola da Gamba Society of America.