Dr Matthew Thomson

Fitzjames Research Fellow in Music

I work on the music of the thirteenth century, specifically the polyphonic motet. Much of my work has focused on the inter-generic connections between motets and the songs of the trouvères, a group of poet-musicians in Northern France. Musical re-use and quotation permeate both of these repertoires and therefore form the source of a number of branches of my research. My doctoral work focused on the way that quotation is performed and perceived in this repertory, using the wider cultural context of motets to think about the approaches musicians may have taken to re-purposing pre-existent material. In my current project, I use quotation as a tool to think about motets’ musical structures.


I teach medieval and early modern music history topics, from courses on Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300-1377) in the first year of the music course to studies of Medieval Motets and Renaissance Madrigals in the second and third years. As well as supervising dissertations and extended projects on a wide range of topics related to early music, I also act as a college advisor to a number of graduate students.


'Monophonic Song in Motets: Performing Quoted Material and Performing Quotation' in Ardis Butterfield, Henry Hope, and Pauline Souleau (eds), Performing Medieval Text (Oxford: Legenda, forthcoming 2017).

'Building a Motet around Quoted Material: Textual and Musical Structure in Motets based on Monophonic Songs' in Jared Hartt (ed.), A Companion to Medieval Motets (Boydell and Brewer, forthcoming 2018).