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German musicologist (cousin of Albert Einstein).

Career Summary

Einstein's doctoral dissertation (Munich University, 1903; pubd Leipzig 1905) was on 16th- and 17th-century music for the viola da gamba. In the years following, he wrote articles on quattrocento and renaissance vocal music. As founding editor of the Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 1918-33, he occupied a European-wide position of great influence. He was also music critic of the Münchner Post (-1927) and the Berliner Tagblatt (1927-33), where again he exerted much influence. In 1933, he left Germany for England and Italy, moving to the USA in 1939, where he continued his scholarly work, teaching at Smith College and elsewhere.

His major publications include Geschichte der Musik (Leipzig: Teubner, 1917), later translated as the widely used A Short History of Music (1948); his studies Heinrich Schütz (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1928); Gluck (London: Dent, 1936); Mozart: His Character, His Work (London & Toronto: Cassell, 1945); Schubert: A Musical Portrait (New York & London: Cassel, 1951); Music in the Romantic Era, Norton History of Music Series (New York: W. W. Norton, 1947); and above all his highly influential The Italian Madrigal (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1949). He also edited the 9th-11th editions of Riemanns Musik-Lexikon (1919-29: a typewritten copy of the article on Schenker in the 11th edition is preserved in Schenker's scrapbook OC 2/p.79), and Köchel's catalogue of Mozart's works (1937). He was also active as editor of a wide range of music from the 14th to 18th centuries, notably his edition W. A. Mozart: The Ten Celebrated String Quartets (1945).

Schenker and Einstein

Schenker's contact with Einstein probably arose out of the latter's position at the Drei Masken Verlag at the time Das Meisterwerk in der Musik was being published by that company (1925-30). In this capacity, Einstein wrote eleven of the day-to-day letters, including one that threatened Schenker with legal action over the costs of Meisterwerk vol. II (December 11, 1926).


Most of the correspondence between Schenker and Einstein survives in the Oster Collection as part of the Drei Masken Verlag correspondence, OC 54 (1924-27), but there are also OC B/139 (1930) and OC 50/15 (1931), and in the Oswald Jonas Collection OJ 10/17 (undated) and OJ 36/117 (1939) (all Einstein to Schenker). Two letters from Schenker to Einstein survive in BerkAE (1926, 1928).

Einstein published Oswald Jonas's article "Das Autograph von Beethovens Violinkonzert," in the Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 13 (May 1931), 443-450, and also his review of Meisterwerk vol. III (November 1932: OC 2/p.88).


  • NGDM2
  • Baker's1971
  • Oster Collection Finding List
  • Jonas Memorial Collection Checklist

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