I am a PhD student of Martin Rohrmeier at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) and am primarily interested in Music Cognition, Music Theory, and their mutual relationship. My focus lies on chromatic harmony, or extended tonality. I investigate how finite-state music theoretical accounts for chromatic harmony fit together with more hierarchical models of tonal harmony to draw conclusions for cognitive processes such as expectation formation and tension building.

My research interests are: music cognition, musical syntax, structural connections between music and language, syntactic ambiguities, computational models of musical structure, music theory and analysis, musical corpus research, mathematical music theory, neo-Riemannian theory

I was born in Cologne, Germany, and studied Mathematics and Educational Studies at Universiy of Cologne and Music Education (Major Piano) and Musicology at Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Köln.

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"Cognitive Modeling of Harmonic Structures in Extended Tonality" (Working title)

Harmony is one of the main parameters of tonal music and has been the primary scope of music theoretical scholarly work for centuries. While music theorists agree that harmony is a rule-based system (syntax), there are many different approaches to express these relationships. Both theoretical and empirical research on musical syntax have focused on harmonic phenomena of the common-practice period (approx. from Bach to Beethoven). Yet, many questions remain open regarding extended tonality (approx. Schubert to Mahler).

My PhD project aims at combining and integrating the strengths of several different research disciplines, namely musical syntax, (mathematical) music theory, and music cognition to develop a formal model of extended tonality which can be used to make predictions for subsequent empirical research. Moreover, this will also allow for a more complete picture of the evolution of tonality and compositional practices.

Research interests

Digital Musicology, Music Cognition, Musical Syntax, Music Theory and Analysis, Computational Models of Music, Musical Corpus Research, Music and Language, Mathematical Music Theory


  • Moss, F. (2017). [Review of David Huron, Voice Leading: The Science behind a Musical Art.] Music Theory and Analysis, 4(1).
  • Moss, F. (2014). "Tonality and functional equivalence: A multi-level model for the cognition of triadic progressions in 19th century music." In International conference of Students of Systematic Musicology – Proceedings (Vol. 1, pp. 1–8). London.
  • Moss, F. (2012). „Theorie der Tonfelder“ nach Simon und „Neo-Riemannian Theory“: Systematik, historische Bezüge und analytische Praxis im Vergleich. Unpublished MA thesis, Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln.

Invited Talks



  • Moss, F. (2016, November). Extended Tonality: Theoretical Challenges and their Relation to the Neuroscientific Study of Musical Syntax. Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.
  • Moss, F. (2016, April). Syntax of Extended Tonality: Towards a Grammar of Generalized Harmonic Functions. Music Theory Colloquium, Boston University, College of Fine Arts, School of Music, Boston, USA.
  • Moss, F. (2016, April). Generalizing Harmonic Functions: A Grammatical Approach to Extended Tonality. Yale University, Department of Music, New Haven, USA.
  • Moss, F. & Harasim, D. (2016, January). Extended Tonality and Music Cognition. Symposium Towards a World Music Theory, University of Hamburg, Institute for Systematic Musicology, Hamburg, Germany.
  • Moss, F. (2016, January). Music Cognition and Extended Tonality: Theoretical Challenges and Empirical Implications. Research Colloquium, University of Cologne, Institute for Musicology, Cologne, Germany.

Conference Presentations and Talks


  • Moss F.; Souza, W. F. & Rohrmeier, M. (2017, November). Brazilian Choro: A New Data Set of Chord Transcriptions and Analyses of Harmonic and Formal Features. 17. Jahreskongress der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie (GMTH) & 27. Arbeitstagung der Gesellschaft für Popularmusikforschung (GfPM) "Populäre Musik und ihre Theorien: Begegnungen – Perspektivwechsel – Transfers", Graz, Austria.
  • Moss, F.; Harasim, D.; Neuwirth, M. & Rohrmeier, M. (2017, September). Beethovens Streichquartette – ein XML-basierter Korpus harmonischer Analysen in einem neuen Annotationssystem. Vortrag auf der Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Musikforschung, Kassel, Germany.
  • Moss, F., Rohrmeier, M. (2017, June). Integrating transformational and hierarchical models of extended tonality. Spoken paper at the 9th European Music Analysis Conference (EuroMAC), Strasbourg, France.
  • Rom, U., Jeßulat, A., Moss, F. & Guter, I. (2017, June). Ambiguity, Illusion & Timelessness in Late and Post-Tonal Harmony. Panel discussion at the 9th European Music Analysis Conference (EuroMAC), Strasbourg, France.
  • Moss, F.; Rohrmeier, M. & Bravo, F. (2017, June). Emotional Associations Evoked by Structural Properties of Musical Scales and Abstract Visual Shapes. Spoken paper at the KOSMOS Dialogue "Music, Emotion, and Visual Imagery", Berlin, Germany.
  • Harasim, D.; Moss, F., Neuwirth, M. & Rohrmeier M. (2017, May). Beethoven’s String Quartets: Introducing an XML-Based Corpus of Harmonic Labels Using a New Annotation System. Music Encoding Conference, Tours, France.


  • Moss F. (2016, August). Structural Ambiguities in Language and Music. Poster presented at the Helsiki Summer School for Cognitive Neuroscience 2016 (HSSCN 2016).
  • Moss, F. (2016, April). A grammatical approach to tension-resolution patterns in extended tonal harmony. Presentation in the Meeting of the Computational Cognitive Science Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Cambridge, USA.
  • Moss, F. (2016, April). Towards a syntactic account for harmonic sequences in extended tonality. Syntax Square Meeting, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Cambridge, USA.


  • Moss, F. (2015, June). On generative modelling of musical form. Seminar "Mathematics and Music", Dresden Technical University, Dresden, Germany (
  • Moss, F. (2015, June). 'The terror of sanctity.' Tonal cues for resolving dramatic ambiguities in Wagner's Parsifal. Seminar "Understanding Musical Structures", Institute for Art and Musicology, Dresden Technical University, Dresden Germany.


  • Moss, F. (2014, September). Tonality and functional equivalence: A multi-level model for the cognition of triadic progressions in 19th century music.. Presentation at the International conference of Students of Systematic Musicology, Goldsmiths University, London, UK.
  • Moss, F. (2014, May). Language, music and the brain: a resource-sharing framework (Patel, 2012). Seminar "Cognitive Neuroscience of Music", Institut for Musicology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.