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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Research project: Schenker Documents Online: Henirich Schenker as Theorist, Teacher and Correspondent, 1925-1930 - Dormant

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This project, funded by the AHRC , offered a scholarly edition of Schenker’s correspondence, diary, and notes, incorporating transcriptions of the original texts, English translations, and contextual material relating the texts to Schenker's personal development and that of his correspondents.

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In the world today, the name of Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935) is as familiar to musicians and music scholars as that of Albert Einstein in physics, or Ludwig Wittgenstein in philosophy. How did this come about? In the early twentieth century, Schenker was highly respected as a piano teacher, editor and critic, and his analyses were widely read. His ideas about musical structure were so far in advance of contemporary thinking, however, that it was not until the 1950s that they began to be taught systematically at colleges and universities. Now they are promoted throughout the world, in university courses, books and journals on music, and frequent international symposia.

The Schenker Documents Online project seeks to recover the process by which his ideas developed, through interactions with his pupils and the institutional world of music around him: university professors, librarians, archivists, performers and publishers. It will do so primarily by the transcription, translation and interpretation of: (1) a meticulously kept, detailed diary covering forty years of his life; (2) his lesson-books, which give detailed information about his pupils and the music they learned; and (3) a correspondence comprising more than 7000 surviving letters, postcards, and telegrams sent or received by Schenker.

After a successful pilot scheme initiated in 2003 at Columbia University, the University of Southampton, in conjunction with the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London, aims to transcribe, translate and publish this material online for all to access. This phase of the project – entitled 'Heinrich Schenker as Theorist, Teacher and Correspondent, 1925-1930' and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council – will concentrate on the period 1925-1930, during which many of his most original ideas were developed rigorously and some of his most important analytical works were published.

Related research groups

Musicology and Ethnomusicology
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