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The Schillinger System

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by thrash_jazz, Sep 9, 2008.


  1. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I just read into this a few weeks ago. From what I have found, it's basically some kind of number system that assists in songwriting, and some major hits have been composed using it.

    Was just wondering if anyone here was trained in Schillinger and if you can provide a bit more insight into how it works... thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I don't know much about it, but it worked for George Gershwin (who actually studied with the man himself, IIR).
     
  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Here's the Wikipedia entry.
     
  4. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Thanks guys!

    I actually had read the Wiki entry on it; honestly, it left me with even more questions!

    Haven't been able to find much more than that on the nuts and bolts of it. For example, how do you use it to write a song? I'm guessing you need a key and a melody, or some sort of starting component. What happens then - what's the process?

    Thanks again to all! :)
     
  5. Have you looked at the Jeremy Arden site? I'm guessing there are now online tutorials such as "schillinger for dumbies" or something. It seems like the teachers only want you to get the full experience and not how most guitarists pick up theory. Other than that i have seen no learning devices for it online.
     
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    *subscribed*

    Interesting stuff!
     
  7. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I felt the same way about the Wiki. I posted it 'cause I didn't know what the h*ll you were talking about, so I Wiki'd it. Just thought I'd share while I was at it. Maybe you're the one who has to improve the Wiki once you're done!
     
  8. Georynn

    Georynn

    Dec 4, 2007
    Memphis,Tn
    Thats very interesting that the school that was founded in his name, became Berklee... interesting... subscribed...
     
  9. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Just checked out that site - thanks! More background info, interesting stuff.

    I know there's a course module for it through correspondence at the US School of Commercial Music - that's where I first found it. They really seem to emphasize it. Every musician I have talked to says they've either just heard of it but don't know how it works, or they just look at me like I'm from the moon.

    I'm not sure what you mean by full experience, in this sense. It's (they say) an algorithmic compositional tool, so if it really is just math I don't see how practical experience would be that much of a factor.

    More and more curious!
     
  10. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Chris, you haven't changed your avatar in more than six years, have you? ;)

    Hope you have been well!
     
  11. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Or my haircut, for that matter. Both the cat and I are both gingers, although I've gotten a lot grayer and he hasn't.


    Likewise. Good to see you back. :)
     
  13. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    A rather late update... there really isn't much about the Schillinger system around that I could find. There are some interesting net resources, but they all seem to assume you already know how the system works.

    Apparently there has been at least some Master's and PhD (or MMus of D.Mus, I suppose) level research done on Schillinger - have any of you academia folk come across any of this, by chance?

    It's a very different way of looking at music than traditional theory, from what I can see - I'm definitely intrigued. Schillinger's books aren't cheap (as they are apparently pretty rare nowadays), but I'm thinking about springing for them, because I'd really like to learn this.

    I'll keep you guys posted, especially if I can learn the basics of it and how to apply it.
     
  14. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker Supporting Member

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    Before you spend the money on them, check with a university library. They may have them. Also do a search on Worldcat or DDM for any disserttions on Schillinger.
     
  15. I am checking some University resources. The site http://www.schillingersystem.com/index.htm has some contributor articles that may shed some light. One that I briefly looked at was an analysis using the Schiller System.
     
  16. Noel Brooks did a Schillinge and Schenkerian analysis of Gershwin's "I've Got Rhythm" as M. Mus. dissertation. Maybe an interesting read if you can request it from a nearby university library. Here is an abstract:
    This thesis is an analysis of George Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" Variations using Joseph Schillinger's System of Musical Composition as the primary mode of analysis. Also utilized in this project is a slightly modified Schenkerian theory. After a review of the relevant literature and an introduction of both Gershwin and Schillinger and their relationship, I explain the Schillingerian devices for variation which are pertinent to this piece. Then, using these devices as the guidelines for analysis, I demonstrate how Gershwin's used Schillinger's ideas to produce effective and coherent variation.
     
  17. I only found 3 other hits on some dissertation/thesis and article databases.
     
  18. You may check a New Grove Dictionary in the library. Every now and again there will be an extensive article on a system such as this.
     
  19. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hey guys, thanks for the search tips. Nothing at my uni libraries unfortunately, but appreciate the idea!

    Nick - I've had a look at a few of the articles that are available online, but all the ones I've seen pre-suppose that you are already familiar with the System's basic concepts, which I'm not... I haven't really seen anything online that lays out the basics.

    Cheers :)
     
  20. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker Supporting Member

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    If you do a search on worldcat through your uni, they can obtain a copy from another library via inter-library loan. Coolest thing ever!
     

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