Schenker Documents Online

Schenker Documents Online

  • Letter from Schenker to Otto Erich Deutsch, May 15, 1930 (OJ 5/9, [3])

  • Page of Schenker's diary, late January and early February 1907

  • Page of Schenker's lessonbook for 1923/24


This single-page letter - a note rather than a letter, perhaps - offers some opinions and analytical thoughts on materials that O.E. Deutsch had sent him six weeks earlier.

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This diary page, p. 33, includes a notorious passage: his outspoken reaction to Schoenberg's first string quartet.

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This is p. 14 of the 1923/24 lessonbook. It records part of the series of lessons of Hans Weisse, covering April 1 to June 3, 1924.

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Heinrich Schenker

Viennese musician and teacher Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935), the twentieth century's leading theorist of tonal music, produced a series of innovative studies and editions between 1903 and 1935, while exerting a powerful and sustained influence, directly and through his pupils, on the teaching of music from the 1930s onward in the USA, and since the 1970s in Europe and elsewhere.

Schenker maintained a vigorous correspondence over nearly half a century, kept a meticulously detailed diary over 40 years, and recorded precise notes on lessons that he gave over a period of twenty years. It is these three collections of personal documents that constitute the core of Schenker Documents Online.

Schenker Documents and this Edition

Schenker left behind approximately 130,000 manuscript and typescript leaves comprising unpublished works, preparatory materials, and personal documents, preserved in two dedicated archives, numerous libraries, and private possession. (See "Major Collections.") The archived papers of several other scholars, among them Guido Adler, Oswald Jonas, Moriz Violin, and Arnold Schoenberg, also preserve correspondence and other documents relating to Schenker and his circle.

Schenker Documents Online offers a scholarly edition of this material based not on facsimiles but on near-diplomatic transcriptions of the original texts, together with English translations, explanatory footnotes, summaries, and contextual material relating the texts to Schenker's personal development and that of his correspondents.


What’s New? ‒ two important sets of correspondence

  • June 2015 brings Schenker’s entire surviving correspondence with August Halm, edited by Lee Rothfarb. One of the most revealing of all Schenker’s correspondence exchanges, it comprises 50 items (31 Halm→Schenker, 19 Schenker→Halm), spanning 1916‒29, some letters as long as 12 pages, with much intense discussion of music, exchanges of aesthetic view, and fierce controversy about Bruckner and Brahms—a fascinating interplay of personalities!
  • June also brings the correspondence between Schenker and Wilhelm Altmann of the Prussian State Library: 35 items, spanning 1914‒26 and 1934, edited by Nicholas Marston. The letters and postcards are all from Altmann to Schenker, but Schenker's side is partly reconstructed from his diary. Much of the content concerns Schenker’s search for autographs and early editions of music by Bach and Beethoven, especially for his Erläuterungsausgabe.
  • The next few months will see further correspondence in Schenker’s search for early sources, and the transfer of all the Oswald Jonas correspondence, edited by John Rothgeb, from the old website to the new.