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Schenker left behind approximately 130,000 manuscript and typescript leaves comprising unpublished works, preparatory materials, and personal documents, preserved in two dedicated archives, numerous libraries, and private possession.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


Additions to the site in 2020

  • DIARIES: The Summer‒Fall 1911 diaries cover the early life of Heinrich and Jeanette together, and her involvement in his diary. — With that material, the diaries now run continuously from 1896 to Dec 1914 and from Oct 1917 to Jan 1935. The gap will be filled during the coming 18 months.
  • "POLITICAL DIARY": Schenker wrote a separate diary from Nov 1918 to June 1919 reflecting the immediate post-war period and Versailles Treaty, now on site.
  • CORRESPONDENCE: Amidst their trivialities, Schenker's postcards and letters to Moriz Violin for 1910‒11 contain explosive material about the relationship between Schenker and Jenny Kornfeld (i.e. Jeanette). — The only letter from Felix Kornfeld and his mother Jeanette is heart-breaking, and the exchange between his son Tomáš Kornfeld and Heribert Esser illuminates the Kornfeld household after Jeanette left it in 1910.
  • The correspondence with the Beethoven House, Bonn for 1913‒14 concerns Op. 111, in preparation for the Erläuterungsausgabe. — That with Danish conductor Paul von Klenau, whom Schenker considered a prospective exponent of his ideas, shows Schenker explaining editorial and performance principles in Beethoven's music, leading to the historical 1924 concert of the Ninth Symphony and part of the Missa solemnis. — The exchanges with Victor Hammer for 1924 cover the beginning of Schenker's sittings for Hammer's famous 1925 mezzotint portrait and the conversations that occurred during those sittings.
  • LESSONBOOKS Schenker's lessonbook for 1915/16 is now on site. It is instructive particularly in showing which students studied theory and exactly what materials they were taught.
  • PROFILES: 27 new profiles (including. e.g., Paul von Klenau, the Beethoven House, and Theresienstadt), and revisions of many others (including the Kornfeld family members, Fanny Violin, and Jeanette Schenker).