Yale mourns a music theory trailblazer

Yale mourns a music theory trailblazer


norman lebrecht

October 20, 2014

Allen Forte, founder of the Journal of Music Theory and professor of Schenkerian analysis at Yale has died, aged 86. Obit here.


allen forte


  • Very sad to hear. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

  • Sasha Valeri Millwood says:

    Although Forte was not the first to instigate pitch-class set theory, it is surely his achievement in codifying it in his seminal book, /The Structure of Atonal Music/, that will stand as his most significant, instigating a clear and systematic means of describing pitch collections which, whilst reductive, is not subject to the bias of functional harmony. Through his work, he effectively instigated a new sub-discipline of music theory that continues to be developed, debated, and utilised to this day, notwithstanding the immense vituperation it has received from Taruskin, Perle, et al. I have no doubt that discussions surrounding the systems, complexes, and genera into which members of pitch-class set universe can be taxonomised will continue for a long time yet, as will matters of the application thereof.