Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities
07922 029697

Professor William Drabkin 

Emeritus Professor of Music

Professor William Drabkin's photo

Professor William Drabkin is an Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Southampton.

I taught at Southampton from 1977 until 2015, offering modules in analysis and counterpoint, chamber music, symphony and concerto, opera (Wagner and Mozart), and tonal composition. Though retired from the University, I live nearby and would be happy to advise students who are contemplating research projects in one of these areas.

My research involves a lot of ‘decoding’ of documents. I am fascinated by the Beethoven sketchbooks, and have spent much time transcribing the composer’s handwriting and interpreting the musical notations in manuscripts that preserve a detailed record of the completion of such masterpieces as the late piano sonatas, the Missa solemnis and the Ninth Symphony. More recently, I have been deciphering and translating the correspondence of the great Austrian theorist Heinrich Schenker and his circle of pupils and friends, along with his voluminous diary; the results of this work are readily available on the website Schenker Documents Online. I am nearing the end of a ten-year period as editor of the journal Music Analysis. 

I write music in traditional styles and have recently composed a sonata for oboe and piano. I have also made historically sensitive completions of an oboe concerto by Mozart and a late string quartet by Haydn. Both have been performed publicly; the published scores and parts are available from the Music Haven (London).

Research interests

My current research contributes to the Schenker Documents Online project – a web-based enterprise that is producing a critical edition of Heinrich Schenker's correspondence, lesson-books and diaries, related documents, and profiles of the people, places and institutions that were important to him and his circle. From this project, a book has emerged: Heinrich Schenker: Selected Correspondence, co-edited with Dr. Bretherton and Ian Bent, which will be published in the autumn of 2014. I have been contracted by the Austrian Science Fund from 2014 to 2017 to translate Schenker’s diaries from the last years of his life, and from the period immediately prior to the outbreak of World War I.

I have sat on the Editorial Board of Music Analysis for over thirty years, and am currently the journal’s Editor-in-Chief. I also serve on the editorial boards of two Italian-based journals, Ad Parnassum and the Rivista di analisi e teoria musicale.

I have a special interest in composers’ sketches and drafts, and have written about Beethoven’s sketches throughout my career. Most recently, the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn published my edition of a sketchbook from 1821, which charts the progress of the end of the Missa solemnis and the composer’s late Piano Sonata in A flat, Op. 110. The next volume in the series, currently in progress, will be a sketchbook from 1822, which contains sketches for the last piano sonata (Op. 111 in C minor) and the Ninth Symphony.

In 2007 I completed a first movement of an Oboe Concerto by Mozart, based on a surviving score of the opening ritornello; it has been performed publicly in Southampton, Vienna and Taipei in the Republic of China (Taiwan). More recently, I composed outer movements for Haydn's last, unfinished string quartet, Op. 103 in D minor; it was premiered in London (December 2013) and will be performed again at the Turner Sims Concert Hall in October 2014.

Affiliate research group

Musicology and Ethnomusicology

Sort via:TypeorYear


A Reader’s Guide to Haydn’s Early String Quartets. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.

(with Susanna Pasticci and Egidio Pozzi), Analisi schenkeriana: Per un’interpretazione organica della struttura musicale. Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 1995.

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis [Cambridge Music Handbook]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

(with Barry Cooper, Anne-Louise Coldicott and Nicholas Marston), The Beethoven Compendium. London: Thames and Hudson, 1991.

(with Ian Bent), Analysis [New Grove Handbook in Music]. London: Macmillan, 1987 (also in French and Italian translations).



Heinrich Schenker: Selected Correspondence, ed. Ian Bent, David Bretherton and William Drabkin. Martlesham, Suffolk: Boydell, 2014.

Ludwig van Beethoven: A Sketchbook of 1822 (Artaria 201), facsimile, transcription, commentary, 2 vols. Bonn: Beethovenhaus, 2014.

Ludwig van Beethoven: A Sketchbook from the Year 1821 (Artaria 197): Sketches for the Agnus Dei and other Movements of the Missa solemnis, the Piano Sonatas Op. 110 and Op. 111, and the Canon WoO 182. 2 vols. Bonn: Beethoven-Haus, 2010.

Heinrich Schenker, ‘The Decline of the Art of Composition: a Technical-Critical Study’ / ‘Über den Niedergang der Kompositionskunst: eine technisch-kritische Untersuchung.’ Music Analysis 24 (2005): 33–232 [transcription, translation, edition].

Heinrich Schenker, Der Tonwille: Pamphlets/ Quarterly Publication in Witness of the Immutable Laws of Music. 2 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004–5.

Heinrich Schenker: The Masterwork in Music [1925–30]. Eng. trans. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994–7.


Journal Articles

‘Hans Weisse in Correspondence with Schenker and his Circle.’ Journal of Schenkerian Studies 4 (2010): 69–87.

‘Schubert, Schenker, and the Art of Setting German Poetry.’ Eighteenth-Century Music 5 (2008): 209–36.

‘The Songs and the Sketches for the Allegro molto from Beethoven's Opus 110.’ Beethoven-Forum 14 (2007): 44–72.

‘Schenker’s “Decline”: an Introduction.’ Music Analysis 24 (2005): 3–31.

‘Chopin, Schenker and Musical Form.’ Revue internationale d’études musicales 15 (2000): 173–186.

‘The Cello Part in Beethoven’s Late Quartets.’ Beethoven-Forum 7 (1998): 45–66.

‘Schenker, the Consonant Passing Note, and the First-Movement Theme of Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 26.’ Music Analysis 15 (1996): 149–189.

‘The Sketches and Autographs for the Later Movements of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.’ Beethoven Forum 2 (1993): 97–132.

‘“Bisogna leggere Schenker”: sull’analisi del Preludio in Do Maggiore BWV 924 di Bach.’ Rivista italiana di musicologia 24 (1989): 48–59.

‘Fingering in Haydn’s String Quartets.’ Early Music 16 (1988): 50–57.

‘Felix-Eberhard von Cube and the North-German Tradition of Schenkerism.’ Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 111 (1986): 180–207.

‘A Lesson in Analysis from Heinrich Schenker: the C Major Prelude from Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier, Book I.’ Music Analysis 4 (1985): 241–58.

‘Beethoven and the Open String.’ Music Analysis 4 (1985): 15–29.

(with Pierluigi Petrobelli and Roger Parker), ‘Verdi’s Il trovatore: a Symposium.’ Music Analysis 1 (1982): 125–67.

‘Some Relationships between the Autographs of Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor, Opus 111.’ Current Musicology 13 (1972): 38–47.


Book Chapters

‘An Autobiographical Letter of Schenker’s.’ In Essays from the Fourth International Schenker Symposium, vol. 2, ed. L. Poundie Burstein, Lynne Rogers and Karen Bottge. Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2012. 103–19.

‘Heinrich Schenker and Moriz Violin in the 1920s.’ In Festschrift zum 100. Geburtstag von Hellmut Federhofer, ed. Axel Beer, Gernot Gruber and Herbert Schneider. Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 2011. 51–61.

‘Beethoven’s Unborn Children.’ In Biographie und Schaffensprozess bei Beethoven: Grundlagen-Tendenzen-Perspektiven, ed. Jürgen May. Bonn: Beethoven-Haus, 2011. 35–50.

‘La musica da camera da Haydn alla fine del’Ottocento.’ In Storia della musica europea IV, ed. Jean-Jacques Nattiez et al. Turin: Einaudi, 2004. 698–712.

‘On Beethoven’s Cello and Piano Textures.’ In Beethovens Werke für Violoncello und Klavier, ed. Sieghard Brandenburg, Ingeborg Maaß and Wolfgang Osthoff. Bonn: Beethoven-Haus, 2004. 125–44.

‘The Introduction to Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata: A Historical Perspective.’ In The Beethoven Violin Sonatas: History, Criticism, Performance, ed. Lewis Lockwood and Mark Kroll. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004. 83–109.

‘Analysis and Interpretation: How the Recent Editions of Haydn String Quartets Have Changed Our Lives.’ In Haydn & das Streichquartett, Eisenstädter Haydn-Berichte 2, ed. Georg Feder and Walter Reicher. Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 2003. 169–88.

‘Beethoven, Liszt and the Missa solemnis.’ In Liszt and the Birth of Modern Europe: Music as a Mirror of Religious, Political, Cultural and Aesthetic Transformations, ed. Michael Saffle and Rossana Dalmonte. New York: Pendragon, 2003. 239–54.

‘Heinrich Schenker.’ In The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. Thomas Christensen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 812–843.

‘Die langsame Einleitung zur Kreutzersonate. Form und Vorbilder.’ In Beethoven und die Rezeption der Alten Musik: die hohe Schule der Ueberlieferung. Internationales Beethoven-Symposium Bonn, 12/13 Oktober 2000, ed. Hans-Werner Kuethen. Bonn: Beethoven-Haus, 2002. 69–92.

‘Relationships between Corelli and the Classical Chamber Music Tradition.’ In Studi corelliani 5: Atti del Quinto Congresso Internazionale, ed. Stefano La Via. Florence: Olschki, 1996. 119–141.

‘An Interpretation of Musical Dreams: Towards a Theory of the Mozart Piano Concerto Cadenza.’ In Wolfgang Amadè Mozart: Essays on his Life and his Music, ed. Stanley Sadie. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. 161–77.

‘Early Beethoven.’ In Eighteeenth-Century Keyboard Music, Robert Marshall. New York: Schirmer Books, 1994. 394–424.

‘Beethoven’s Understanding of “Sonata Form”: the Evidence of the Sketchbooks.’ In Essays in Beethoven’s Compositional Process, ed. William Kinderman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992. 24–29.

‘The Agnus Dei of the Missa solemnis: Early Stages of its Genesis.’ In Essays in Beethoven’s Compositional Process, ed. William Kinderman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992. 131–159.

‘Towards the Symphonic Concerto of the Middle Period.’ In Ludwig van Beethoven: Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi, ed. Giuseppi Pugliese. Treviso: Editore Matteo, 1989. 93–103.

‘Zur Bedeutung der leeren Saiten in Beethovens Kammermusik.’ In Beiträge zu Beethovens Kammermusik: Symposion Bonn 1984, ed. Sieghard Brandenburg and Hellmut Loos. Bonn: Beethovenhaus, 1987. 165–78.

‘The Musical Language of La bohème.’ In Puccini: La Bohème, ed. Roger Parker and Arthur Groos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. 80–101.

‘Beethoven, Ludwig van.’ In Makers of Nineteenth Century Culture, ed. Justin Wintle. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982. 40–44.


Review Articles

‘Too much of a good thing?’ [recent editions of the symphonies and other works by Beethoven]. The Musical Times, 138 (1997): 18–30.

‘Quality Assurance’ [recent books on Beethoven]. The Musical Times 136 (1995): 427–9.

‘Begging to Differ’ [recent volumes of the collected edition of Beethoven’s works]. The Musical Times, 135 (1994): 758–61.

‘Building a Music Library, 4: Haydn’s Piano Sonatas.’ The Musical Times 128 (1987): 8–15.

‘Building a Music Library, 1: The Beethoven Piano Sonatas.’ The Musical Times 126 (1985): 416–20.

‘Some Recent Beethoven Research.’ The Musical Times 122 (1981): 671–3.

‘The New “Erläuterungsausgabe”.’ Perspectives of New Music 12 (1973–74): 319–30.



Albrecht Riethmüller, Carl Dahlhaus and Alexander Ringer (eds.), Ludwig van Beethoven: Interpretationen seiner Werke, 2 vols. Beethoven Forum 7 (1998): 153–162.

Beethoven: Briefe, Gesamtausgabe, ed. S. Brandenburg, 7 vols. The Musical Times, 139 (1998): 39–46.

Kofi Agawu, Playing with Signs: A Semiotic Interpration of Classic Music. Music Analysis 11 (1991): 399–405.

Felix-Eberhard von Cube, The Book of the Musical Artwork, ed. David Neumeyer. Indiana Theory Review 9 (1988): 135–43.

Heinrich Schenker, Counterpoint, ed. John Rothgeb. Music Analysis 8 (1989): 197–203.

Alan Tyson (ed.), Beethoven Studies, vol. 3. 19th-Century Music 7 (1983–84): 163–9.

Felix Salzer (ed.), The Music Forum, vol. 5. Music Analysis 1 (1982): 203–9.

Professor William Drabkin
Emeritus Professor of Music

Room Number : 2

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings