Roger Moseley

Associate Professor


Roger Moseley’s recent research focuses on intersections between keyboard music, digital games, and the diverse ways both can be played. In 2017, his first book, Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo, 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.” The book was published under a Creative Commons license by the University of California Press and features audiovisual materials including music by Mozart, Beethoven, Bizet, Louis Couperin, and others recorded by Moseley and his Cornell colleagues Malcolm Bilson, Ariana Kim, Shin Hwang, and Matthew Hall.

Keys to Play is available as a free download in a variety of formats.

Moseley has published essays on topics including the music of Brahms (on which he wrote his PhD dissertation), Chopin, 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 Chris Younghoon Kim, which can be heard and viewed online.

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 the orchestral music of Brahms to media-theoretical and music-analytical scrutiny.

Working with Postdoctoral Associate in Computational Music Theory Pedagogy Mark Gotham, Moseley 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.

In 2017–18, Moseley was the recipient of a Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship, and in 2018-19 he was a CIVIC Media Fellow.

Moseley regularly teaches undergraduate courses in music history, culture, theory, materials, techniques, and performance. His other course offerings include Music and Digital Gameplay and Thinking Media, a new interdisciplinary course featuring guest faculty from across the university.

Moseley’s graduate seminars have focused on ludomusicology (the study of music, games, and play, a scholarly field that his work helped establish), nineteenth-century music and its technological mediation, keyboard cultures and techniques, historical improvisation, virtuosity, and the music of Schubert. He has worked closely with graduate students on dissertations and publications addressing topics ranging from nineteenth-century technologies of musical stenography, representations of the devil on the Parisian stage, and Czerny‘s transcriptions of Beethoven to Nintendo’s Game & Watch and Yamaha’s Vocaloid Keyboard.

Two articles that originated as papers written by graduate students in Moseley's seminars have been accepted for publication by the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and one by Nineteenth-Century Music.

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.



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

Refereed Journal Articles

  • “Chopin’s Aliases.” Nineteenth-Century Music 42, no. 1 (2018): 3–29.
  •  “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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