Wayne State University

Karl Braunschweig



Karl Braunschweig specializes in the intersections between the practice of tonal music and the history of its theories, particularly in the ways that language concepts (such as grammar, rhetoric, and representation) and aesthetic categories have mediated our understandings of musical structure from the eighteenth century to the present. His publications have appeared in Music Theory Spectrum, the Journal of Music Theory, Music Theory and Analysis, Acta Musicologica, Theory and Practice, Intégral, and Gamut. He has also served the Society for Music Theory (SMT) and Music Theory Midwest (MTMW) in numerous capacities, and is an editorial board member for Intégral. Currently, he is working on a book project that envisions a new theoretical approach to melody and form based upon historical practices of signification and theories of language. He is also working on a smaller project documenting the history of dissonance in tonal theory and practice.

In 2005, Braunschweig served as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, where he taught a graduate seminar entitled, “Deconstructing Tonal Theory,” which featured a new approach to the history of theory that investigated the disciplines of tonal theory (counterpoint, harmony, melody, form) in their epistemological and institutional contexts. During the last fifteen years, he has advised M.M. theses on a wide range of topics, including the music of Bach, Mahler, Stravinsky, and Phish, musical aspects of the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., intersections of Arabic and European music theory, and analysis of recent film soundtracks.

Selected Publications

“Expanding the Sentence: Intersections of Theory, History, and Aesthetics,”
Music Theory and Analysis 2/2 (2015): 156-193.

“Disciplining Knowledge in Tonal Theory: Abstraction and the Recovery of Dialectics,”
Gamut 5/1 (2012): 39-97.

“Enlightenment Aspirations of Progress in Eighteenth-Century Theory.”
Journal of Music Theory 47/2 (2003): 273-304. [published Fall 2006]

“Rhetorical Types of Phrase Expansion in the Music of J. S. Bach”
Intégral 18/19 (2004/2005): 71-111.

“Expanded Dissonance in the Music of J. S. Bach.”
Theory and Practice 28 (2003): 79-113.

"Genealogy and Musica Poetica in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Theory."
Acta Musicologica 73 (2001): 45-75.

Degrees and Certifications

B. A., St. Olaf College, 1991
M. M., University of Michigan, 1993
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1997

Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory
history of theory, 2002
musical aesthetics, 2010

Recent Courses

Analysis of the String Quartet from Beethoven to Shostakovich

History of Theory (1600-present)

Music of Igor Stravinsky: Reinventing Tonality

Special Topics in Music Analysis: Rhetoric and Poetics