Most music history textbooks commence twelve-tone serialism with Schoenberg, but wouldn't commencing with Hauer be more accurate?

Josef Matthias Hauer also developed something akin to Schoenberg's 12 tone technique a few years beforehand and entirely independently.

What has gotten me even more excited about his music is not only did he communicate with Schoenberg about 12 tone music, he published a book on 12 tone music 2 years before Schoenberg. He also used the I-Ching way before John Cage Popularized it in composition.

Josef Matthias Hauer. He wrote a book on 12-tone music before Schoenberg wrote his, and used the I-Ching in composition before Cage. I have found that his music is more palatable for beginning listeners interested in discovering 12-tone music than some Schoenberg and Webern.

  • 1
    If you find Schoenberg's and Webern's dodecaphony unpalatable, try Alban Berg's, especially the Lulu suite; that is beautiful music. Also the Kammerkonzert (try the Abbado version for extra lushness). – Your Uncle Bob Apr 8 '19 at 12:26
  • "If you find Schoenberg's and Webern's dodecaphony unpalatable": I don't! I love their music. – NNOX Apps Apr 8 '19 at 19:41
  • It wasn't immediately clear from the way the question is written what part of it are quotes, or why they are there. I assume that that (and the shouty whole-paragraph links) is also the reason it got downvotes. – Your Uncle Bob Apr 9 '19 at 10:58

Being the first to come up with an idea, being recognized as the face of the idea, and being the most influential proponent of the idea, are different things, and small details may decide which you end up as.

The fact that Schoenberg also wrote well-received late-romantic and atonal expressionist music before going dodecaphonic, that he was also a painter and a member of Der blaue Reiter, that he was well-connected in artistic circles in Vienna and held several teaching positions, that he wrote the influential music theory book "Harmonielehre", and that among his pupils were the likes of Berg and Webern, all add up to make him the more notable figure.

What's more, his version of dodecaphony, with the fixed order of the 12 notes in a row, sounds more radical (especially to the layman) than the tropes theory, and it is usually the more radical ideas which attract attention (both positive and negative, but scandal makes a person famous too).

The fact that he was and is better known makes him more influential, but that doesn't mean that Hauer's ideas were inferior, or that anyone considers them to be inferior. History just went in the other direction. Many modern discussions of Schoenberg mention that others were working on similar ideas around the same time, but we discuss Schoenberg because it was he who directly influenced many 20th century composers and music theorists.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.