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Dr Daniel Walden

Junior Research Fellow in Music

I was born in Berkeley, California, and attended Oberlin College and Conservatory as a double-degree student in Latin and Piano Performance. I completed an MPhil in Music Studies as a Gates Cambridge Scholar before moving to Harvard University to obtain a PhD in Music. I arrived to Queen's in 2019 to take up my current position.

I meanwhile also pursue a career as a concert pianist, specialising in contemporary music and historical performance practice with the support of a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship for the Performing and Visual Arts.


I supervise undergraduate dissertations and teach courses in musical analysis, musicology, and performance practice studies from across the entire first-, second-, and third-year curriculum in music studies.


My research and scholarship focuses primarily on the global history of music theory during the nineteenth century, drawing together analysis, archival studies, and ethnographic fieldwork. I work with European, Hindustani and Japanese sources in multiple languages, and draw on my own performance practice in asking how the foundational theories of musical analysis, perception and pedagogy entangled with the operations of colonial modernity. 

My main focus is my book project, tentatively entitled 'The Emperor’s New Keyboards: Or, The Global Politics of Tuning and Temperament'. This examines the forces that compelled 19th-century European music theory, musical science and comparative musicology to conform their approaches to the discrete pitch collections of standard and just-intonation keyboards, and connect their projects to globalising enterprises focused on rationalising, standardising and improving musical cultures from around the world. 

I am meanwhile pursuing three interconnected projects: 1) a translation with commentary of analytical essays and short stories by Johanna Kinkel (1810-1851); 2) an examination of how colonial epistemologies shaped conceptual models of 'pitch space', drawing on decolonial and antiracist critique; and 3) a project in the digital humanities, focused on recreating the experimental keyboards I study in my book project with synthesizers, and investigating their applications in music theory pedagogy.