Portrait of Dr  Lisa Colton Dr Lisa Colton

l.m.colton@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472401


Lisa Colton is Reader in Musicology. Lisa’s studies in medieval musicology, medieval studies, and early music performance led to her doctoral thesis, 'Music and sanctity in England, c.1260-c.1400' (University of York, 2004), exploring themes of nationalism, sanctity and virginity in late medieval English music. Lisa is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an active member of the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society and the Royal Musical Association. She directs the Centre for the Study of Music, Culture, and Identity, within which she leads the Music, Gender, and Identity research group (MuGI); both the CSMCI and MuGI aim to stimulate musical and interdisciplinary research through diverse activities, events and publications. Her monograph, Angel Song: Medieval English Music in History, was published by Routledge (2016).

Research and Scholarship

Lisa’s recent research has largely divided between medieval and twentieth-century topics, from John Dunstaple to Lady Gaga. Her work on the historiography of medieval English music led to the publication of her monograph, Angel Song: Medieval English Music in History. Recent research has also focused on analytical approaches to fourteenth-century English motets (Early Music), on medievalism in the music of British composer Margaret Lucy Wilkins, on aspects of cultural identity in Beyoncé’s music, and on musical interactions with religious architectural environments. Lisa’s main areas of research lie in medieval music, archival research, manuscript studies, British music, music by women composers, the relationship between music, gender and sexuality, and popular music. Her teaching and research focus on two main periods – medieval music and twentieth-century music – and these provide chronological frameworks for examining musical culture from various critical perspectives.  With Dr Catherine Haworth, Lisa has co-edited the volume of essays Gender, Age and Musical Creativity (Routledge, 2015); a second volume of essays, entitled Sources of Identity: Makers, Owners and Users of Music Sources Before 1600 was co-edited with Tim Shephard (Brepols, 2017), with Tim Shephard.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Colton, L (2018) ‘Medievalism, music and agency in The Wicker Man (1973)’. In: Recomposing the Past: Early Music on Stage and Screen. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. . ISBN 978-1138287471


Colton, L. and Cook, J. (2017) ‘Editorial : Facing the Music of Medieval EnglandEarly Music . ISSN 0306-1078

Colton, L (2017) ‘Music, text and structure in fourteenth-century English polyphony: the case of Ave miles celestis curieEarly Music . ISSN 0306-1078

Colton, L (2017) ‘Music in the Margins: Queerness in the Clerical Imagination, 1200–1500’. In: The Oxford Handbook of Music and Queerness. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. .

Colton, L (2017) ‘Past Tense: Creative Medievalism in the Music of Margaret Lucy Wilkins’. In: Oxford Handbook on Music and Medievalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. .


Colton, L (2016) Angel song: medieval English music in history . Abingdon, UK: Routledge. ISBN 9781472425683

Colton, L. and Shephard, T. (2016) Makers, Owners and Users of Music Sources Before 1600: Sources of Identity . Epitome musicale. Leuven, Belgium: Brepols. ISBN 9782503567785

Colton, L (2016) ‘“Sowndys and melodiis”: Perceptions of Sound and Music in Late Medieval England’. In: Cultural Histories of Noise, Sound and Listening in Europe, 1300–1918. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. pp. 19-30. ISBN 9781409444398

Colton, L (2016) ‘Song in space and space in song: physical and conceptual boundaries in English devotional music, 1250–1500’. In: Devotional Interaction in Medieval England and its Afterlives. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. .

Colton, L (2016) ‘Fourteenth-Century MusicEarly Music , 44 (1), pp. 165-166. ISSN 0306-1078

Colton, L (2016) ‘Review of Laura Seddon, British Women Composers and Instrumental Chamber Music in the Earliest Twentieth CenturyGender and History , 28 (1), pp. 237-238. ISSN 0953-5233


Haworth, C. and Colton, L. (2015) Gender, Age and Musical Creativity . Farnham: Ashgate. ISBN 978-1-4724-3085-4

Haworth, C. and Colton, L. (2015) ‘Gender, Age and Musical Creativity’. In: Gender, Age and Musical Creativity. Farnham: Ashgate. pp. 1-6. ISBN 978-1-4724-3085-4


Colton, L (2014) ‘Fifteenth-Century Liturgical Music, VIII: Settings of the Gloria and Credo. Ed. by Peter Wright.The Eton Choirbook: Facsimile and IntroductoryvStudy. Ed. by Magnus Williamson. Songs in British Sources c.1150–1300. Ed. by Helen DeemingMusic and Letters , 95 (4), pp. 648-650. ISSN 0027-4224

Colton, L (2014) ‘Sumer is icumen inGrove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. .

Colton, L (2014) ‘Who's calling? Telephone songs, female vocal empowerment and signfication’. In: Lady Gaga and Popular Music: Peforming Gender, Fashion, and Culture. New York: Routledge. pp. 67-81. ISBN 9780415824521


Colton, L (2013) ‘Review of: Emma Dillon, The Sense of Sound: Musical Meanings in France, 1260-1330 (Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2012)French History , 27 (3), pp. 454-456. ISSN 0269-1191


Colton, L (2012) ‘Mapping medieval musicEarly Music , 40 (2), pp. 308-310. ISSN 0306-1078


Colton, L (2011) ‘English Masses at home and abroadEarly Music , 39 (4), pp. 621-623. ISSN 03061078

Colton, L (2011) ‘Languishing for provenance: Zelo tui langueo and the search for women's polyphony in EnglandEarly Music , 39 (3), pp. 315-326. ISSN 03061078


Colton, L (2010) ‘Book review: Christopher Page, The Christian West and its SingersEarly Music Performer , 27, pp. 23-24. ISSN 1477-478X

Colton, L. and Iddon, M. (2010) ‘Introduction: Recycling and Innovation in Contemporary MusicContemporary Music Review , 29 (3), pp. 229-230. ISSN 0749-4467

Colton, L (2010) ‘The Female Exotic: Tradition, Innovation and Authenticity in the Reception of Music by Judith WeirContemporary Music Review , 29 (3), pp. 277-289. ISSN 0749-4467

Colton, L (2010) ‘A Unique Source of English Tablature from Seventeeth-Century HuddersfieldMusic and Letters , 91 (1), pp. 39-50. ISSN 0027-4224


Colton, L (2009) Scrupulosa quorundam sententia. Plainsong and Medieval Music Society .

Colton, L (2009) ‘Music and Identity in Medieval Bury St Edmunds’. In: St Edmund, King and Martyr: Changing Images of a Medieval Saint. Woodbridge: York Medieval Press. . ISBN 9781903153260


Colton, L (2008) ‘Breaking into songEarly Music , 36 (3), pp. 507-508. ISSN 03061078

Colton, L (2008) ‘Languishing for Provenance: The Troubled History of Zelo tui langueo and the Search for Women's Polyphony in England’. In: Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, 24 - 27 July 2008, University of Bangor, Wales

Colton, L (2008) ‘Princess, Abbess, Archbishop, Virgin: Text, Music, and Gender in the Office of Saint Ursula’. In: International Congress on Medieval Studies, 8-11 May 2008, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI

Colton, L (2008) ‘Kate Bush and Hounds of Love. By Ron Moy. Ashgate, 2007. 148 pp. ISBN 978-0-7546-5798-9 (pb)Popular Music , 27 (2), pp. 329-331. ISSN 0261-1430

Colton, L (2008) ‘Princess, Abbess, Archbishop, Virgin: The cult of the Eleven Thousand Virgins in medieval York’. In: PMMS Conference 2008: Ave/Eva: Text, Music and Gender in the Middle Ages, 26 April 2008, University of Bristol

Colton, L (2008) ‘Listening to Hildegard’. In: Second Early Music Festival, 8-10 February 2008, University of Leeds

Colton, L (2008) ‘Book ReviewsStudies in Musical Theatre , 1 (3), pp. 309-324. ISSN 17503159

Colton, L (2008) ‘The Articulation of Virginity in the Medieval Chanson de nonneJournal of the Royal Musical Association , 133 (2), pp. 159-188. ISSN 02690403


Colton, L (2007) The York Masses A Performing Edition [Composition]


Colton, L (2006) ‘Reconstructing Cluniac music: Bryan Gillingham, Music in the Cluniac ecclesia: a pilot project (Ottawa: Institute of Medieval Music, 2006), $96Early Music , 34 (4), pp. 675-677. ISSN 03061078

Cowgill, R., Biddle, I., Colton, L., Holliday, R. and Attinello, P. (2006) ‘Roundtable: ‘Music and Queer Theory’’. In: RMA Research Students' Conference 2006, 4-7 January 2006, School of Music, University of Leeds


Colton, L (2005) ‘The earliest songbook in England: The later Cambridge songs, ed. John Stevens (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005),  60/$110Early Music , 33 (4), pp. 707-708. ISSN 03061078

Colton, L (2005) ‘The Age of Innocence: Chastity and the chanson de nonne in Late Medieval France’. In: International Medieval Congress 2005, 11-14 July 2005, University of Leeds

Colton, L (2005) ‘The age of innocence: chastity and the chanson de nonne in the Montpellier Codex.’. In: Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, 13-16 July 2005, Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, University of Tours, France

Colton, L (2005) ‘Early Music, 1000-1600’. In: Classical Music. : Dorling Kindersley Books. pp. 46-75. ISBN 9781405306102

Colton, L (2005) ‘Choral Music in York, 1400-1540’. In: Mass and Parish in Late Medieval England: The Use of York. Reading: Spire Books. pp. 41-56. ISBN 1904965024


Head, M., Cowgill, R., Cusick, S., Fuller, S. and Colton, L. (2003) ‘Round Table: Lesbian Historiography’. In: 39th RMA Annual Conference 2003: Music Historiography, 12–14 September 2003, School of Music, Cardiff University

Colton, L (2003) ‘Music in pre-Reformation York: a new source and some thoughts on the York MassesPlainsong and Medieval Music , 12 (1), pp. 71-88. ISSN 09611371


Lisa is regularly invited to speak at university seminars and colloquia, and she is a frequent contributor to conferences such as Med-Ren. In 2008, Lisa was awarded a Visiting Scholarship at St John’s College. In 2009 she was awarded the Pauline Alderman Award for an outstanding journal article relating to women in music for her article ‘The articulation of virginity in the medieval chanson de nonne’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association. Lisa has co-edited special issues of the journal Contemporary Music Review, ‘Innovation and Recycling in Contemporary Music’ (with Martin Iddon, 2010) and Early Music, ‘Facing the Music of Medieval England’ (with James Cook, 2017). In 2014, Lisa was Visiting Scholar at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer School: Arts, Architecture, and Devotional Interaction 1200–1600. She has organised many study days and conferences, and has served on various programming committees. Lisa has appeared on television and radio as a musicologist, including on BBC2’s Town programme, BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC1’s National Lottery Live, and Channel 4’s Revealing Secrets. Lisa has served as External Examiner for undergraduate Music courses at Bath Spa and at the University of Glasgow, and for research degrees in medieval musicology, medieval history, and music and gender.

Research Degree Supervision

Lisa's research interests are wide, ranging from archival work to exploring notions of music, gender and identity in various historical contexts. She has supervised undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research students on diverse topics, including the legacy of Benjamin Britten, Barbara Strozzi, the film scores of Jerry Goldsmith, medieval English carols, medievalism in 20th-century British music, and the regional identity of the Pennine brass band tradition. Lisa welcomes proposals from prospective research students on any subject, but particularly in areas of medieval music, music and gender, and popular musicology.

Administrative Responsibilities

Lisa directs CSMCI, and is currently Deputy Head of the Department of Music and Drama. She has previously served as admissions tutor, subject leader, postgraduate coordinator for Music, and Unit of Assessment Coordinator for Music and Music Technology.

Teaching and Professional Activities

Lisa’s teaching is primarily within Musicology, and she teaches on a range of modules in classical and popular musical history and culture. Lisa also supervises a range of dissertation topics relevant to her research interests, and directs the University Choir.