Letters from America: Hans Weisse


Of all Schenker’s pupils and disciples, none was as important for the dissemination of his teachings as Hans Weisse. Weisse seems to be at the forefront of every initiative to promote his teacher’s work, whether as a private tutor, a public lecturer, or an ambassador of music theory. It was Weisse who created a little seminar in analysis at his home in the late 1920s, which Schenker himself was later to take over. He introduced American musicians to Schenker’s approach to musical structure and gave the first public lectures in Schenkerian theory to the German and Austrian music-pedagogical establishment in the winter of 1930–31. His projected Die Tonkunst, a monthly periodical dedicated to Schenkerian concepts but authored mainly by Schenker’s pupils, never got off the ground; nonetheless it provided the model for Der Dreiklang of 1937–38, edited by Oswald Jonas and Felix Salzer, a precursor of the Music Forum. And, famously, he was offered and accepted a teaching post at the David Mannes School of Music in New York (and, later, at Columbia University), and so planted the seeds of Schenkerism in America.


Boydell & Brewer, Boydell Press. (2014) Chp. 26