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Emma Dillon

Professor Emma Dillon

Emma_DillonProfessor of Music

Tel +44 (0) 207 848 2686
Address Music Department
King's College London
Strand Campus




Emma Dillon is Professor of Music. She studied music at Oxford as an undergraduate (1989-1992), went on to completed a DPhil in 1998, and was also the recipient of a Junior Research Fellowship. She worked as a Lecturer in Music at the University of Bristol (1998-2000). In 2000 she moved to the United States and joined the Music Department at the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked until 2012 first as an Assistant Professor and later as a Full Professor, and where she also served as Chair of the Department. She has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, a Member and Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Studies (School of Historical Studies) in Princeton, and a Visiting Scholar at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. She joined the Music Department at King’s in 2013, and is also an active member of the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies.

Research Interests and PhD students
  • Medieval music and culture, 1100-1400
  • History of sound; sound studies
  • History of material texts

Emma Dillon’s research focuses on European musical culture from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. Her work ranges widely in terms of repertories, sources, and methodological approach, and broadly speaking falls at the intersection of musicology, sound studies, medieval studies, and the history of material texts. She is the author of Medieval Music-Making and the Roman de Fauvel (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 (Oxford University Press in 2012). In 2002 she won the Jerome Roche Prize, awarded by the Royal Musical Association.
She is currently working on a series of essays and papers exploring the evidence for musical feeling and the emotional effects of sound in the later Middle Ages, and issues of musical value. She is also collaborating with Timothy Rommen on a project exploring the intersections of historical musicology and ethnomusicology.

Emma would welcome PhD students specialising in medieval music both in musicology and medieval studies; and students interested in topics relating to sound studies and history of materiality.

For more details, please see her full research profile.

Selected Publications

The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Medieval Music-Making and the Roman de Fauvel (Cambridge University Press, 2002), (Paperback edition, 2008)

Technologies of Medieval Song: Proceedings of the Third Annual Schoenberg Symposium, ed. Emma Dillon and Lynn Ransom (Gorgias Press, 2012)

‘Musicology on the edge: reflections on medieval borders’, contribution to Colloquy: Musicology Beyond Borders?, Tamara Levitz, Convenor, Journal of the American Musicology Society, 65 (2012)

For a complete list of publications, please see Emma's full research profile.


Emma has won major teaching awards for her undergraduate and graduate teaching. She will offer modules at the undergraduate and graduate level, on a range of topics relating to music, manuscripts, and sonic culture more generally in the Middle Ages, covering a wide array of repertories and environments, from monastic chant to courtly chanson. Some of her graduate modules will be cross-listed with the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Emma has appeared on Radio 3’s ‘Early Music Show’ with Catherine Bott (2012).

Emma was Program Chair for the American Musicological Society meeting in 2012, and also served on the AMS Committee for Graduate Education. She has been a member of the editorial boards for Plainsong and Medieval Music, the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, and the University of Pennsylvania Press. From 2011-12 she was a Penn Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She has often served as external evaluator for the Mellon Foundation, Institute for Advanced Study, ACLS, and regularly reviews articles and manuscripts for publication.

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