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A facsimile edition of Brahms's handwritten compilation of parallel (consecutive) octaves, fifths, and related progressions, in music from the 16th to the 19th century, with commentary on some of the examples by Schenker, published by Universal Edition of Vienna. Brahms's manuscript is preserved in the library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.

The Brahms manuscript seems to have come to Schenker’s attention in October 1913. The lessonbook for December 18 states “Weisse … brings the photographic reproductions of sketches for the Intermezzi by Brahms, as well as the collection of interesting passages,” and the diary for that date records: “Weisse brings Brahms’s ‘collection of interesting passages’; beyond all expectation, the master shows himself immersed in the most intensive work and effort in his research into voice-leading problems.” On the 29th and 30th of the month, Schenker shows “Brahms’s studies in Oktaven und Quinten” to two others of his pupils. It is therefore possible that Hans Weisse drew this work to Schenker’s attention; or, perhaps more likely, that Schenker heard of it and asked Weisse to collect photographs of it. Schenker’s surprise at Brahms’s “most intensive work” is striking. It is remarkable that it would be twenty years before Schenker would produce the edition – at the time of the centenary of Brahms's birth.


  • Johannes Brahms, Oktaven und Quinten u. A. (Vienna: Universal Edition, 1933)
  • "Brahms's Study, Octaven u. Quinten u. A., with Schenker’s Commentary," annotated translation by Paul Mast, The Music Forum, V (1980), pp. 1‒196


  • William Drabkin and Ian Bent

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