The Joseph Schillinger papers consist of Schillinger's music composition texts and lessons, other theoretical writings, personal papers, correspondence, clippings and promotional material, scores, posters, and charts used to illustrate Schillinger's theories.
Content: Certain items in the collection were previously cataloged as *MNZ-Amer and microfilmed. Please check catalog for listing and call numbers of microfilmed materials, which must be used first, or consult with Music Division for additional information.
Biographical/historical: Russian-born Joseph Schillinger (1895-1943) was a composer,teacher, and theorist. He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and was also trained in mathematics. After working in Russia as a teacher and conductor he moved to New York in 1928, where he taught in universities and tookon private students, usually by mail. Schillinger developed a system of composition that reduced musical elements (and rhythm in particular) to mathematical relationships. Among the many Schillinger students were Tommy Dorsey, George Gershwin, John Lewis, Gerry Mulligan,John Lewis, Oscar Levant and Carmine Coppola. Schillinger was also associated with Henry Cowell, Léon Thérémin (real name, Lev Termen), and the use of the "rhythmicon", an electronic rhythm machine, invented by Thérémin and Cowell, based on Thérémin's earlier theremin. Schillinger's own works incorporated the use of the theremin within traditional orchestrations.