Songs can bring together music and words in powerful and lastingly memorable ways. Our records of song from the medieval period are tantalisingly incomplete, yet this does not prevent medieval song from captivating modern audiences and performers. But how can we be sure that our efforts at reconstruction bear any relation to what was composed and performed six to eight centuries ago? This lecture will consider the 'origins of song' on several fronts. How did some of the earliest song composers in English from the 12th century onwards appear to conceive of song? Did the words came first or the melody, and how might we tell? Is the origin of a creative composition recoverable? How does the recording of sound (whether of music or words) in writing help or hinder us from understanding and interpreting creative acts? With Angus Smith (Tenor, The Orlando Consort) and Respondent Christopher Page (Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge).