Unterweisung im Tonsatz: An Interview with Simon Desbruslais

Interview with musicologist Simon Debruslais

The Oxford Culture Review

Simon Desbruslais is a Stipendiary Lecturer in Music at Oxford University. I spoke to him about his recently finished thesis entitled ‘The Identity, Application and Legacy of Paul Hindemith’s Theory of Music’. 

What constitutes the core of your thesis?

Paul Hindemith wrote quite a number of theoretical texts, and he has been very well known for a book he wrote in the 1940s called Elementary Training for Musicians, which is an aural training book. I had to read it as an undergraduate, and it’s quite common in undergraduate education to study this Hindemith book. I was interested in the fact that it is particularly well disseminated, and yet Hindemith’s reputation as a theorist is quite misunderstood.

He wrote something called the Unterweisung im Tonsatz, which is roughly translated as ‘The Craft of Musical Composition’. He planned it as a four volume set and completed the first volume which…

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