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Informally constituted seminar conducted by Schenker with four members in 1931‒34.

The seminar, conducted by Schenker, comprised four former members of a seminar taught by Hans Weisse: Felix Salzer, Trude Kral, Greta Kraus, and Manfred H. Willfort ‒ a group known familiarly as the "seminarists" (Seminaristen). Its formation was suggested to Schenker by Weisse on April 12, 1931: Weisse proposes that I take over four of the students in his seminar, who could also help with the preparation of the [Urlinie] folios . . . (diary, OJ 4/4, p. 3605)

Schenker’s seminar first convened in the fall of 1931, after Weisse had left Vienna for New York on September 17. It met weekly on Fridays — thus was sometimes dubbed the "Friday Seminar" — throughout the teaching seasons of 1931/32, 1932/33, and 1933/34. Before the first meeting on October 9, Schenker issued a list of compositions to be analyzed (reproduced in Salzer, pp. 18‒19). The work of the group in 1931/32 resulted in the publication of five graphs as Fünf Urlinie-Tafeln/Five Analyses in Sketchform (New York: David Mannes Music School, 1932). Each of us was assigned a different composition; the work on the voice-leading graphs went through many stages until they represented Schenker's point of view. [...] I am in no position to state when Schenker himself had completed analytic work on these five compositions. It was my impression that it was done before our sessions began [...]" (Salzer, pp. 19‒20).

Only Schenker's name appeared on the title-page, and Schenker made no mention of the students in his Foreword. The publication was planned as the first of a series of similar publications, but no further volumes were issued. Analyses for the second volume prepared in the seminar ‒ including graphs and sketches of Beethoven, Sonata Op. 27, No. 2; Mozart, Fantasy in D minor, K. 397; Chopin, Etude Op. 10, No. 3; Brahms, Auf dem Kirchhofe, Op. 105, No. 4; and Brahms, Paganini Variations, Op. 3 ‒ are preserved in the Felix Salzer Papers, Music Division, New York Public Library (FS 28).

Information about the activities of the seminar is given in Schenker's final set of lesson notes, those for the season 1931/32: OC 16/39 (Oct 9–Nov 20, 1931), 40 (Nov 27, 1931–Feb 12, 1932), 41 (Feb 12–May 13, 1932), and 42 (May 19–23, 1932). Further information can be found in Schenker's correspondence, notably that with Felix Salzer and Oswald Jonas.

Kral dropped out of the seminar after the first year. In June 1934 Schenker decided to let Kraus and Willfort go, and continue with Salzer as a private student (FS 40/1, [22], June 6, 1934, letter to Salzer). Thus the seminar was dissolved at the end of the 1933/34 season after three years.


  • Salzer, Felix, "Introduction," Five Graphic Music Analyses (Fünf Urlinie-Tafeln) (New York: Dover Publications, 1969), pp. 13‒21.
  • Schenker, Heinrich, "Graphic Analysis of Brahms's Auf dem Kirchhofe, Op. 105, No. 4," as prepared for publication by William J. Mitchell and Felix Salzer, with an introduction by Hedi Siegel and a commentary by Arthur Maisel, Theory and Practice 13 (1989), pp. 1‒14.


  • Hedi Siegel and Ian Bent

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