The Schillinger System of Composition


This is a wiki page I have created to help with the creation of a series of lessons regarding the Schillinger System of Composition by Joseph Schillinger. I will attempt here to explain this work in as much detail as possible. The main body will consist of my interpretation of the text (which is often very dense and hard to understand). In addition, I will include both quoted selections directly from the text where needed, most (if not all) of the examples provided by Schillinger in the text, problems to be worked out by the reader as well as my own answer key for these problems, and my own additions to the text that I hope will usefully expand upon the work. I have chosen as of now to make this a closed wiki that only I will edit, but I will gladly accept and make any corrections if I am notified via personal message.

If you read this wiki, I hope you will develop an interest in the theory enough to purchase your own copy of the System. A new edition was recently published (in 2003) and is available on for $315. I use the 1946 original edition, however, and I do not know what differences exist between these two editions (if any).


Book 1 - Theory of Rhythm
Book 2 - Theory of Pitch-Scales
Book 3 - Variations by Means of Geometrical Projection
Book 4 - Theory of Melody
Book 5 - Special Theory of Harmony
Book 6 - Correlation of Harmony and Melody
Book 7 - Theory of Counterpoint
Book 8 - Instrumental Forms
Book 9 - General Theory of Harmony (Strata Harmony)
Book 10 - Evolution of Pitch-Families (Style)
Book 11 - Theory of Composition
Book 12 - Theory of Orchestration

Appendix A - Glossary
Appendix B - Index of Variables