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Schenker left behind approximately 130,000 manuscript and typescript leaves comprising unpublished works, preparatory materials, and personal documents, preserved in two dedicated archives, numerous libraries, and private possession.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 in 2018? ‒ Diaries ‒ Correspondence ‒ Profiles

  • DIARIES: The earliest diaries, 1896 to 1908, are now available. They span Schenker's work as a journalist (1896‒1901), as composer, pianist, and conductor, his initial music editing and arranging (concertos by CPE and JS Bach, Handel), the CPE Bach Klavierwerke and Ornamentik, the Harmonielehre, the Niedergang essay, the Instrumentations-Tabelle, and preparatory work for Kontrapunkt I. Featured also are his many visits to, and critiques of, plays and concerts, his private world, and the initial references to his future wife Jeanette. — Also 1913 to 1914, charting work on the early volumes of the Erläuterungsausgabe, work on Beethoven manuscripts, troubles with patrons, early contacts with Vrieslander and Weisse, and concerns about impending war.
  • CORRESPONDENCE: Communications with his chief publishers (Weinberger, UE, Cotta) up to 1908 ‒ now available ‒ not only expose the detailed publication history of his earlier works but also uncover attitudes towards his publishers ‒ reverential toward the ultra-German Cotta and deeply suspicious, rising to antagonistic, toward the Jewish internationalist, commercially-minded Emil Hertzka. — Strong feelings about Wagner and Bruckner surface in his correspondences with music critic Karl Grunsky (1907‒10), with whom Schenker disagreed, and composer and friend of Brahms Ernst Rudorff (1908), with whom Schenker was largely of one mind. — Now embarked on are the correspondences with Der Kunstwart editor Hermann Rinn (1927‒29 now online) and painter-engraver-typographer Victor Hammer (1923 now online), who made the famous mezzotint portrait of Schenker in 1925. — The enormous correspondence with pupil, wealthy collector, and musicologist Anthony van Hoboken (stretching from 1924 to 1935) is now all but complete, and makes a fascinating study in Schenker's conflicting feelings toward his primary patron.
  • PROFILES: 50 new profiles featuring people and institutions are now available.