Yale mourns a music theory trailblazer

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


allen forte

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  • 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.

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