Other Harmony: Schillinger


I was delighted when a friend gave me a long out-of-print book by Joseph Schillinger called Kaleidophone, published in New York in 1940. In fact, this little book is one of the things that convinced me to write about Other Harmony, and to give some attention to this still little known music theorist.
Schillinger (1895-1943) was born and educated in Russia and worked for some time as a professor of music theory in Kiev, but he spent most of his life teaching privately in New York City, where quite a few of his students were arrangers and orchestrators working in places like Radio City Music Hall, and others were just hopeful composers devoted to classical or semi-classical idioms. His most illustrious student was George Gershwin, who in fact studied with Schillinger exactly during the period when he was writing Porgy and Bess. Schillinger was not a mathematician, but he had a good mind for organizing combinations and permutations (...)
Cover of The Mathematical Basis of the Arts