Brad Osborn

Brad Osborn
  • Professor of Music Theory

Contact Info

332 Murphy Hall
1530 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-3103


Brad Osborn is Professor of Music Theory and affiliated faculty in American Studies at the University of Kansas. 

He is the author of the monograph Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead (Oxford University Press, 2017). His book demonstrates that Radiohead’s music exhibits a musical Goldilocks zone, presenting the listener with myriad surprises while at the same time satisfying a number of expectations inherited from both popular and classical music. This, more than any other feature of the band’s music, is what accounts for their unique balance of commercial success and critical appeal—perhaps matched only by The Beatles in the late 1960s.

Brad has authored three textbooks. Interpreting Music Video (Routledge, 2021) introduces students to the musical, visual, and sociological aspects of popular and viral music videos from 1981 to the present. Brad is, along with Larry Starr and Christopher Waterman, co-author of the 6th edition of the widely adopted American Popular Music (Oxford, 2021). Currently, a music-theory textbook provisionally titled Popular Music Theory is under contract with Oxford University Press (anticipated publication: late 2023/early 2024). 

Brad's other research on post-millennial rock music and music videos 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 conservatories and schools of music. 

Prior to joining the faculty at KU, Brad taught at Ohio University, DePauw University, and Rhodes College. He 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. Brad currently serves the society as Associate Editor of Music Theory Online, the most widely read music theory journal in the world.

Active as a rock multi-instrumentalist (drums, guitars, voice, keyboards), Brad writes and records music as the artist D'Archipelago—a "band" composed entirely of him overdubbing all of the vocal and instrumental tracks. D’Archipelago has released four records: By the Lights of Gomorrah (2015); Agape (2017); Dark Machine (2018); and a self-titled 2020 EP (all of which are available widely on streaming services). An avid outdoorsman, Brad enjoys adventuring 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.