Brad Osborn

Assistant Professor, Music Theory
Primary office:
332 Murphy Hall

Ph.D. University of Washington; M.M. Florida State University; B.M. Missouri State University

 Brad Osborn is Assistant Professor of music theory at the University of Kansas. He is the author of the monograph Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead (Oxford University Press, 2016). Adapting a psychology-based approach known as ecological perception, the book demonstrates how Radiohead’s music means what it does to listeners with varying degrees of prior experiences in common practice tonal music and post-millennial rock.

Brad's other research on post-millennial rock music is published in top music theoretical journals. He has been invited to speak at numerous international and national conferences, and to share his teaching and research through invited colloquia in various conservatories and schools of music. 

Brad's contributions to scholarship on teaching include numerous videos, guest lectures, and short essays through the KU Center for Teaching Excellence. He is also a contributing author to the 3rd edition of The Musician's Guide to Theory and Analysis (W.W. Norton), a textbook for which he has filmed instructional videos to support the chapters. Brad also has an essay on how to include popular music in the undergraduate theory curriculum, which appears in The Norton Guide to Teaching Music Theory (W.W. Norton, 2017). 

Prior to joining the faculty at KU, he taught at Ohio University, DePauw University, and Rhodes College. Brad is active in the Society for Music Theory, having previously served on the Committee for the Status of Women and as the past Chair of the Popular Music Interest Group. 

Active as a rock multi-instrumentalist (drums, guitars, voice, keyboards), Brad writes and records music under the artist moniker D'Archipelago—a “band” composed entirely of him overdubbing all of the vocal and instrumental tracks. An avid outdoorsman, Brad enjoys backpacking and rock climbing in the Ozark Mountains (where he grew up), and is proud to count Iceland’s southern coast, the Isle of Man, Smith Rock, and the Red River Gorge among his favorite backpacking and climbing destinations.



Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead (Oxford University Press, 2016)


“P.J. Harvey’s ‘The Words that Maketh Murder.’” In Song Interpretation in 21st-Century Pop Music, edited by Allan Moore, R.V. Appen, A. Doehring, and D. Helms. Ashgate Press (co-written with C. Azevedo, C. Fuller, J. Guerrero, and M.Kaler) (in press)

"Kid Algebra: Radiohead's Euclidean and Maximally Even Rhythms." Perspectives of New Music (in press)


“Subverting the Verse/Chorus Paradigm: Terminally Climactic Forms in Recent Rock Music.” Music Theory Spectrum 35, no. 1

“Hearing Heima: Ecological Approaches to Meaning in Three Icelandic Music Videos.” In Analyzing the Music of Living Composers (and Others), edited by Jack Boss, B. Osborn, T.Pack, and S. Rodgers. Cambridge Scholars Press


“Understanding Through-Composition in Post-Rock, Math-Metal, and other Post-Millennial Rock Genres.” Music Theory Online 17, no. 3

“A Pragmatic Deleuzo-Guattarian Musicology.” Filigrane: Musique, Esthétique, Sciences, Société, vol 13: Special Issue “Deleuze et la musique”

Review of Sounding Out Pop: Analytical Essays in Popular Music, edited by Mark Spicer and John Covach. Notes: Journal of the Music Library Association 68, no. 1


“Beats that Commute: Algebraic and Kinesthetic Models for Math Rock Grooves.” Gamut 3, no. 1


Review of Beyond Structural Listening? Postmodern Modes of Hearing, edited by Andrew Dell’ Antonio. Music Theory Online 14, no. 3



"The Idiolect of ‘Idioteque’: An Ecological Model of Meaning and Perception in Radiohead.” International Conference on Analyzing Popular Music, July 2–4, Liverpool, UK


"Kid Algebra: Radiohead’s Euclidean and Maximally Even Rhythms.” Joint meeting of the Society for Music Theory, American Musicological Society, and Society for Ethnomusicology, November 1–4, New Orleans, LA 2012. Invited Panelist: “What Does it Mean to Analyze Popular Music?” SMT/AMS/SEM Popular Music Interest Group meeting, New Orleans

“An Ecological Approach to Meaning in Radiohead’s Macro-Formal Structures.” Macro Analysis Workshop and Conference, June 15–16, Madison, WI

“Radiohead’s Euclidean and Maximally Even Grooves and What, if Anything, They Might Mean.” Symposium: “Analysis and the Listener,” February 18–19, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington, IN


“The Smooth and the Striated: What Deleuze’s Philosophy of Time Can Teach Us About Minimal Music.” Third International Conference on Music and Minimalism, October 12–15, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium


“A Genetic Model for Through-Composition in Post-Millennial Rock Music.” Annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, November 4–7, Indianapolis, IN. Part of special session “(Per)Form In(g) Rock,” co-organized with Nicole Biamonte


“Subverting the Verse/Chorus Paradigm: Terminally-Climactic Form in Recent Rock Music.” Annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, October 29– November 1, Montreal, QC Canada

“Perceptible Processes: Arch Form and Multiple Downbeats in Reich’s Music for Eighteen Musicians.” Second International Conference on Music and Minimalism, September 2–6, University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO

“The Pivot Pulse and its Applicability to Changing Meter in Math Rock.” Annual meeting of the Music Theory Society of New York State, April 4–5, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY


“Coheed and Cambria’s Terminally-Climactic Song Forms as Tonal Dramatization of Violent Action in The Amory Wars.” Pacific Northwest Music Graduate Students’ Conference, September 27–28, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC Canada

“Juxtaposing Score and Recording in Scelsi’s Quattro Pezzi Using Frequency Deviation Value and Spectral Analysis.” Annual meeting of the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis, March 7–9, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

“Form Function and Tonal Systems in Radiohead’s ‘Faust Arp.’” Tonal Systems of Rock Workshop, February 8, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

“In Parallel Seas: (Hyper)Metric Dissonance in Mew’s Song 2008 ‘Chinaberry Tree.’” Pacific Northwest Music Graduate Students’ Conference, January 11–12, University of Washington, Seattle, WA


“Multi-Level Concept Mapping of Quotation in Berio’s Sinfonia.” Music and the Written Word Symposium, February 22–24, Indiana University, Bloomington,IN


“Hypermetrical Faux Pas: Rhythmic Analysis and Character-Driven Hermeneutics in Radiohead’s ‘Idioteque.’” Annual meeting of the South Central Society for Music Theory, March 10–11, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS


Fall 2013

Music Theory I (MTHC 105)
Form and Analysis (MTHC 410/610)

Spring 2014

Music Theory II (MTHC 115)
Pedagogy of Music Theory (MTHC 830)
Seminar: Analzying Modern Rock Music (MTHC 789)

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