Lee Rothfarb
Professor Emeritus, Theory Program


  • Tonal Theory
  • Area Head, Theory Program


History of music theory and analysis from the Greeks through Schenker, with an emphasis on the period 1800-1930; nineteenth-century German aesthetics; early development of the sonata form in keyboard music (1740-70), chromatic harmony. Current research includes early music-analytic reception of Bruckner and the nature and significance of lay-education in music during Germany’s Wilhelmine and Weimar periods. His latest publications are Eduard Hanslick’s On the Musically Beautiful: A New Translation (co-translated with Christoph Landerer, Oxford University Press),  The Aesthetic Legacy of Eduard Hanslick: Close Readings and Critical Perspectives, ed. Lee Rothfarb, Alexander Wilfing, and Christoph Landerer. Routledge/Taylor and Francis (forthcoming, 2025), "Henryk Szenker, Galitzianer: The Making of a Man and a Nation" (Journal of Schenkerian Studies), and "Hanslick’s Hauptsatz: Brahms and Bruckner" (conference volume, forthcoming). He is also the author of Ernst Kurth: Selected Writings (Cambridge University Press, 1991) and Ernst Kurth as Theorist and Analyst (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989). The latter book received the Society for Music Theory Outstanding Publication Award in 1989. He is a Contributing Scholar to the online publication of The Correspondence of Heinrich Schenker, as translator of the letters between Schenker, August Halm, and Karl Grunsky. His articles include "Musical Body and Spirit in Brahms and Bruckner" (19th Century Music), "Energetics" (Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, Cambridge University Press, 2001), "Zwischen Originalität und Ideologie: Die Musik von August Halm (1869-1929)" (Musik Baden-Württemberg, 1998), "Musik und Theologie: August Halm am Kreuzungspunkt seines beruflichen und schöpferischen Weges" (Musik Baden-Württemberg, 1996), "Beethoven’s Formal Dynamics: August Halm’s Phenomenological Perspective" (The Beethoven Forum, 1996), "Music Analysis, Cultural Morality, and Sociology in the Writings of August Halm" (Indiana Theory Review, 1995), "Hermeneutics and Energetics: Music- Theoretical Alternatives in the Early 1900’s" (Journal of Music Theory, 1992); "The ‘New Education’ and Music Theory, 1900-1925" (Music Theory and the Exploration of the Past, Chicago University Press, 1991); "Ernst Kurth’s Die Voraussetzungen der theoretischen Harmonik and the Beginnings of Music Psychology" (Theoria, 1989); and "Ernst Kurth in Historical Perspective: His Intellectual Inheritance and Music Theoretical Legacy" (Schweizer Jahrbuch fur Musikwissenschaft, 1986-87). He has lectured in Tübingen, Freiburg, Munich, and St. Florian (Austria) on the writings of August Halm, and on the analytical methodology of Heinrich Schenker. His new book, August Halm: A Critical and Creative Life in Music, based on Halm’s writings and extensive information from unpublished Estate Papers, appeared in the series Eastman Studies in Music, published by the University of Rochester Press.

Professor Rothfarb is past member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Music Theory, Founding Editor of the SMT electronic journal Music Theory Online (MTO), founder of SMT’s networking, and former administrator of its original networking host, Boethius.


  • BM, Eastman School of Music (Composition, 1971)
  • MA, Hartt School of Music (Music Theory, 1979)
  • PhD, Yale University (Music Theory, 1985)


  • The Aesthetic Legacy of Eduard Hanslick: Close Readings and Critical Perspectives

    Routledge/Taylor and Francis (forthcoming, 2025)

    ed. Lee Rothfarb, Alexander Wilfing, and Christoph Landerer



Eduard Hanslick's On the Musically Beautiful: A New Translation

Oxford University Press, 2018

Lee Rothfarb and Christoph Landerer

August Halm: A Critical and Creative Life in Music

University of Rochester Press in partnership with Boydell & Brewer, 2009

Lee A. Rothfarb

Ernst Kurth: Selected Writings

Cambridge University Press, 1991

Lee A. Rothfarb

Ernst Kurth as Theorist and Analyst

University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988

Lee A. Rothfarb