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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. Emma is recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Major Grant (2016-2019) and a British Academy Small Grant (2016-2017).

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), and numerous articles exploring the place of sound and music in medieval culture.

She is the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship from 2016-2019 for a project entitled 'The Romance of Song', which explores the emergence of trouvère song in 12th-century France in the era before the chansonnier; and a British Academy Small Grant (2016-17) for the related project 'Things that Sing', which explores the intersections of sound, music and objects in courtly culture c.1160-1350. These projects also foster a creative application for her research in the museum environment, and include collaboration with scholars, curators and practitioners.

For more details, please see her 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), and on Radio 3's 2013 feature 'Our Lady of Paris' with Simon Russell Beale.

Emma served as a Director-at-large of the American Musicological Society (2014-2016), and as Programme Chair for the Society's annual meeting in 2012. 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.

As part of her British Academy Small Grant 'Things that Sing', Emma works with curators, sound artists, composers and scholars to explore the intersections of sound, music and objects in medieval culture, and is particularly interested in the application of this research in the museum environment.