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SchenkerGUIDE: Guide to Schenkerian analysis logo

About SchenkerGUIDE
[about the author]

SchenkerGUIDE is the companion website to my Routledge textbook on Schenkerian analysis. On this site you will find:

  • a summary of the method outlined in the book
  • an extensive glossary and bibliography
  • exercises
  • tips on presentation
  • supporting materials for students and educators.
The SchenkerGUIDE website, originally launched in 2001, attracts an average of 2500 unique users each month and is recommended by Universities worldwide. A list of registered users of SchenkerGUIDE can be found at the bottom of this page.

Detailed information on SchenkerGUIDE handbook (including links to Routledge and Amazon)

What reviewers have said ...

Review in Music Analysis vol. 28/i (2009) [link to article]

Dr. Antonio Cascelli begins his very positive review of SchenkerGUIDE by approving of its basic approach, concluding that "the brevity and the clarity of its explanations make SchenkerGuide a very good reference text".

Cascelli endorses SchenkerGUIDE as a useful contribution to Schenkerian pedagogy, his final paragraph reading as follows:

SchenkerGuide is nevertheless a very valuable contribution; with its twinned webpage it offers a series of highly useful practical tips to students and instructors,alerting the latter to the most common mistakes that students make in the early stages of studying Schenkerian analysis. In simple and lucid language, Pankhurst is also careful to present Schenkerian analysis as just one possible interpretative pathway to the understanding of music and to make students aware of some of the criticisms that have been levelled at Schenker’s theoretical and analytical concepts. It is a deliberately brief handbook, which will be most useful if and when complemented with other texts.

Dr Cascelli devotes a large part of his review to the suggestion that I make more attempt to embed the more subtle nuances of Schenkerian aesthetics into my presentation of, for example, linear progressions. In the first part of SchenkerGUIDE in particular, I have undoubtedly sacrificed the aesthetic ramifications of Schenker's ideas in order to maximise the simplicity of the presentation, but Cascelli makes a strong case for different balance. While conceding that I show the possibilities much more fully in the longer analyses later in the book, he would like to see this prefigured more strongly earlier. This might make the introductory chapters more unwieldy for both weaker and more sceptical students, but I cannot disagree with the basic thrust of his argument that the more Schenker's analytical ideas are presented alongside his aesthetic ones, the more compelling they become:

It could be argued that it is not necessary to introduce the entire web of meanings inherent in this element of Schenkerian analysis too early when students are still struggling to grasp the main concepts; yet I think that it might help them to understand the performative features of a Schenkerian graph. Indeed, notions of tension created by or in the music are probably a language that students, both as performers and listeners, might understand more easily.

I am grateful that Dr Cascelli has grasped the essential purpose of this text, which is not to provide a complete and comprehensive guide but a clear and concise starting point for a Schenkerian journey. In my opinion, students of all abilities will get the most out of a course in this subject if they begin with a good understanding of the methodological basics before exploring the wider Schenkerian literature.

A review from Amazon
This book's subtitle, "A brief handbook and website for Schenkerian analysis", is a bit too modest. Although short, it's a very complete and thorough first course in Schenkerian analysis.

One good feature of the book is that Pankhurst describes Schenkerian notation at the same time as introducing the concepts. This means that he needs far fewer words than other writers to say what needs to be said. The examples often speak for themselves, and everything is very clear.

Another excellent feature is the section about how to do a Schenkerian analysis and how to present one in practice. I don't know where else one might find this. The exercises at the end are well graded and there are a few very easy ones on the web site to get you started.

Schenker's theories are controversial and many people find them quite hard to swallow. Some authors either skate over this or else patronise and bully their readers. Here's what Pankhurst says: "Whereas Schenker lived at a time when knowledge tended to be presented as absolute truth, we tend today to view it as somewhat more provisional. The task for a student of Schenker is to be open to understanding music in the way that he suggests, but at the same time keeping critical faculties intact and alert." He returns to this issue several times during the book, always with the same undogmatic good humour.

Normally you'd want to be at least at undergraduate level to tackle Schenker's theories, but this book is so clearly written that I think a good A level student could manage it pretty well. I wish all music theory books were written as well as this.

The original SchenkerGUIDE website was reviewed by PALATINE, the UK Higher Education Subject Centre for Music:

Undergraduates invariably find Schenkerian analysis completely new and challenging when they first encounter it. This site by Tom Pankhurst suggests a working method for doing basic Schenkerian analysis and provides details on Schenker's theories and references to literature and further online resources. The site is exemplary in every sense, and is even likely to be popular among students: it has a panic button for students who have exams coming up! The author has a gift for presenting information to the student who needs sensible, concise answers about a topic that is too often shrouded in complexity. But detail is not compromised and the why questions are discussed head-on, by a musicologist who clearly has a deep understanding of the field. The style and structure of the site provide a model for other potential fields of musical and technical learning.

Institutions using the SchenkerGUIDE book and website

Anglia Ruskin University
Arizona State University
Bradley University
Brandon University
Brussels University College for Sciences and Arts
California Baptist University
City University of New York
Colby College, Maine
Conservatorio Superior de Música
Conservatorio Superior Jaén
Conservatory of Volos
Eastman School of Music
Emory University, Atlanta
Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya
George Mason University
Getxo Music School
Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea
HFF Potsdam-Babelsberg
Hardin-Simmons University
Hong Kong British University
Hope College, Michigan
Indiana University
Illinois Wesleyan University
Ionian University (Corfu)
Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte,
Kalamazoo College, Michigan
Kent State University
King College (Tennessee)
Kings College London
Kingston University (UK)
Kobe University, Japan
Lee University (Cleveland)
Lipscomb University
Louisiana State University
Mansfield University
Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick
McMaster University
Middlesex University
Mount Allison University, Canada
Musikschule Mühlheim
National Chia-Yi University in Taiwan
New Orleans Seminary
Norwegian Academy of Music
Oakland University
Oakwood University
Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Oxford University
Ozarks Technical College
Penn State University
Point Park University
Puerto Rico Music Conservatory
Rhode Island College
Rice University
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Sabanci University (Istanbul)
Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia
Shorter College (Georgia)
Snead State Community College
State University of New York at Buffalo
St Lawrence College Kingston
Texas A&M University Kingsville
Texas State University
Transilvania University (Brasov)
Trinity International University
Tung Hai University
Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras
Universidad Simon Bolivar
Università degli studi di Pavia - Cremona
Université Paris Sorbonne
Universidad Católica Cecilio Acosta
University College, Dublin
University of Alabama
University of Alicante
University of Bristol
University of Chicago
University of Durham
University of Florida
University of Houston Moores School of Music
University of Hull
University of Illinois
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Macedonia (Thessaloniki)
University of Manchester
University of Massachusets, Amherst
University of Miami
University of Missouri Kansas City
University of Music and Drama Hanover
University of Nebraska at Omaha
University of Newcastle
University of North Carolina
University of Northern Colorado
University of Nottingham
University of Redlands
University of Rochester
University of South Dakota
University of Southern California
University of Surrey
University of Sussex
University of Waikito
University of West Alabama
Webster University
Wellington College
West Texas A&M Universtity
Wilfrid Laurier University
Zagreb Academy of Music

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