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Roger Moseley

Associate Professor

Lincoln Hall, Room 104
rsm253@cornell.edu
607-255-4974

Educational Background

  • PhD, Music History and Literature (UC Berkeley)
  • MMus, Collaborative Piano (Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London)
  • MSt, Musicology (University of Oxford)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Piano Performance (Trinity College of Music, London)
  • BA, Music (University of Oxford)

Website(s)

Overview

Roger Moseley’s 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 under a Creative Commons license by the University of California Press in print and open-access digital formats in 2016. Featuring audiovisual materials 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 this page. In 2017, Keys to Play received the American Musicological Society’s Otto Kinkeldey Award, which recognizes “a musicological book of exceptional merit by a scholar beyond the early stages of his or her career.”

Moseley has published essays on topics including the music of Brahms (on which he wrote his PhD dissertation), Mozart, eighteenth-century keyboard improvisation, Guitar Hero, and media archaeology. He is also active as a collaborative pianist on modern and historical instruments. In 2017, he 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 this page.

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, the chamber music of Fauré, 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. He leads the Department of Music’s current Active Learning Initiative project, which aims to transform the study of theory and musicianship via the integration of digital keyboards as networked communication devices as well as musical instruments.

Moseley’s graduate seminars have focused on ludomusicology, nineteenth-century music and its technological mediation, keyboard cultures and techniques, historical improvisation, and virtuosity. He has worked closely with graduate students on dissertations and publications addressing topics ranging from nineteenth-century technologies of musical stenography and representations of the devil on the Parisian stage to Nintendo’s Game & Watch.

After completing his PhD at UC Berkeley, Moseley held a Junior Research Fellowship at University College, Oxford, during which he earned 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.

Keywords

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

Departments/Programs

  • Music

Graduate Fields

  • Music

Courses

Publications

Monograph

  • 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. (Winner of the 2008 Jerome Roche Prize from the Royal Musical Association “for a distinguished article by a scholar in the early stages of his or her career.”)

Commissioned Book Chapters and Articles

  • “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.

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