Born near Dudley in the West Midlands, Sally Harper is a graduate of Birmingham University and completed her doctorate on music and medieval English liturgy in 1989 at Oxford (Magdalen and Brasenose Colleges). Following a brief period in academic administration at the University of Warwick, she began teaching at Bangor in 1991, where she discovered a passion for Wales, its people and its language. She was appointed Senior Lecturer in Music in 2006 and was for a period Director of the Centre of Advanced Welsh Music Studies and co-editor of the bilingual journal Welsh Music History / Hanes Cerddoriaeth Cymru. Sally has published widely on various aspects of music in medieval and early modern Wales as well as on medieval liturgy, and over the years has broadcast several times on radio and television. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Sally took early retirement from the University in 2018 to train as a priest in the Church in Wales, but continues her association with Bangor as an Honorary Research Fellow. She is still active in her specialist areas of research when time allows.