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Roger Moseley

Associate Professor

Lincoln Hall, Room 104

Educational Background

  • PhD (UC Berkeley)
  • MMus (Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
  • MSt (University of Oxford)



Roger Moseley’s most recent research explores how the concept of play has informed keyboard music as sonic practice and cultural technique. His first book, Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo, was published by the University of California Press in print and open-access digital formats in 2016. Featuring rich multimedia content, including footage of digital games and music by Mozart, Beethoven, Bizet, and others recorded by Moseley and his Cornell colleagues, the book is available as a free download in a variety of formats from the link on the left.

Moseley has published essays on topics ranging from the music of Brahms (on which he wrote his PhD dissertation at UC Berkeley) to music-themed digital games, and from eighteenth-century keyboard improvisation to contemporary technologies of musical (re)creation. He is also active as a collaborative pianist on modern and historical instruments. In 2017, he wrote cadenzas for and performed Mozart's Keyboard Concerto in F, K. 459, on fortepiano with the Cornell Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Prof. Chris Kim, which can be heard and viewed via the link on the left.

Moseley is currently working on his second book, Romantic Artifacts: The Technological Disclosure of Nineteenth-Century Music, which subjects the songs of Schubert, the piano music of Chopin and Alkan, and the orchestral music of Brahms to media-theoretical and music-analytical scrutiny.

At Cornell, Moseley teaches undergraduate courses in music history, culture, theory, materials, techniques, and performance. Recent graduate seminars have focused on nineteenth-century music and its technological mediation, historical improvisation, ludomusicology, and virtuosity. He has worked closely with a large number of graduate students on dissertations, publications, and other research projects addressing topics ranging from the Nintendo Game & Watch to nineteenth-century technologies of musical stenography and representations of the devil on the Parisian stage.

After completing his PhD, Moseley was a Junior Research Fellow at University College, Oxford. In 2007 he was awarded an MMus with Distinction in Collaborative Piano from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Prior to his arrival at Cornell in 2010, he lectured in music history and theory at the University of Chicago.

As holder of a Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship, Moseley is on sabbatical leave during the 2017–18 academic year.


Ludomusicology; music and media theory; 18th- and 19th-century instrumental music; improvisation; performance practice


  • Music

Graduate Fields

  • Music




  • Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo (Oakland: University of California Press, 2016).

Refereed Journal Articles

  • “Digitizing Chopin: Grids, Filters, Networks, and Aliases” (forthcoming in Nineteenth-Century Music).
  •  “Rehear(s)ing Media Archaeology.” Contribution to “Discrete/Continuous: Music and Media Theory after Kittler” (Colloquy convened by Alexander Rehding), Journal of the American Musicological Society 70, no. 1 (2017): 245–51.
  • “The Qualities of Quantities: ‘Madamina, il catalogo è questo.’” Cambridge Opera Journal 28, no. 2 (2016): 137–40.
  • “Digital Analogies: The Keyboard as Field of Musical Play.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 68, no. 1 (2015): 151–227.
  • “Entextualization and the Improvised Past.” Music Theory Online 19, no. 2 (2013).
  • “Mozart’s Harlequinade: Improvising Music alla commedia dell’arte.” Common Knowledge 17, no. 2 (2011): 335–47.
  • “Reforming Johannes: Brahms, Kreisler, and the Piano Trio in B, op. 8.” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 132, no. 2 (2007): 252–305.

Commissioned Book Chapters, Articles, and Reviews

  • “Roundtable: Current Perspectives on Music, Sound, and Narrative in Screen Media,” co-authored with Anahid Kassabian, Claudia Gorbman, et al. In The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound, edited by Miguel Mera, Ron Sadoff, and Benjamin Winters, 108–24. New York: Routledge, 2017.
  • “Nintendo’s Art of Musical Play,” co-authored with Aya Saiki. In Music in Video Games: Studying Play, edited by K. J. Donnelly, William Gibbons, and Neil Lerner, 51–76. New York: Routledge, 2014.
  • “Playing Games With Music (and Vice Versa): Ludomusicological Perspectives on Guitar Hero and Rock Band.” In Taking It to the Bridge: Music as Performance, edited by Nicholas Cook and Richard Pettengill, 279–318. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013.
  • “Music, Visual Culture, and Digital Games.” In The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture, edited by Tim Shephard and Anne Leonard, 376–84. New York: Routledge, 2013.
  • “Presenting the Past: The Experience of Historically Inspired Keyboard Improvisation.” Keyboard Perspectives 2 (2009): 83–102. (Recording of solo improvisation included on accompanying CD.)
  • “Between Work and Play: Brahms as Performer of His Own Music.” In Johannes Brahms and His World, edited by Kevin C. Karnes and Walter Frisch, 137–65. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.
  • “Is There More than Juan Brahms?” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 131, no. 1 (2006): 160–75.