BCA-007: Lawrence Berk papers on the Schillinger System

This collection consists of 11 binders comprised of notes, formulas and other figures compiled and created by Lawrence Berk, founder of Berklee College of Music. Although materials are undated, it is assumed that these materials were produced in the 1930s as a result of Berk’s private study with Joseph Schillinger, creator of the Schillinger System of Musical Composition (SSOMC). Therefore, these papers presumably contain the foundation of Berklee’s early curriculum. Additional archival materials on the Schillinger System may also be found in the Jerome Gross and Bert Henry papers on the Schillinger System (BCA-006).


Series 01: Theories of rhythm, harmonization of melody, counterpoint, general harmony, instrumental forms of harmony
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Books I (Theory of Rhythm), VI (The Correlation of Harmony and Melody), VII (Theory of Counterpoint), IX (General Theory of Harmony), and VIII (Instrumental Forms). The handwriting in this series appears to be Joseph Schillinger's.
Series 02: Theory of counterpoint
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Book VII (Theory of Counterpoint). Topics include: counterpoint, density & tension, resolution of dissonances; correlation of melodies (counterpoint); imitation (canon); fugue; modulations in two-part counterpoint; two-part counterpoint fugue & couplings; continuity of couplings. The handwriting in this series appears to be Lawrence Berk’s, with the exception of notes on the continuity of coupling.
Series 03: Special theory of harmony
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Book V (Special Theory of Harmony). Topic include: seventh chords, exchange of common tones, diatonic zero cycle; resolution, preparation, application, symmetric system; hybrid 5 part harmony, symmetric system, S(9) resolution & preparation; forms of transformation, symmetric, forms of S(9); general system, S(11) diatonic harmony & symmetric system, chromatic system; modulation technique; the scale of key signatures; chromatic harmony. The handwriting in this series appears to be Lawrence Berk’s.
Series 04: Theory of melody & pitch scales
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Books IV (Theory of Melody) and II (Theory of Pitch-Scales). The handwriting in this series appears to be Lawrence Berk’s.
Series 05: General theory of harmony
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Book IX (General Theory of Harmony). Topics include: general theory of harmony; three-part harmony; four-part harmony. The handwriting in this series appears to be Lawrence Berk’s.
Series 06: Pedal point, melodization, harmonization
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Books VI (The Correlation of Harmony) and VIII (Instrumental Forms). Topics include: pedal point in symmetric system; melodic figuration; melodization of harmony (diatonic); instrumental forms of harmony; symmetric melodization; chromatic melodization; harmonization of melody (D-M) (D-H). The handwriting in this series appears to be Lawrence Berk’s.
Series 07: Special theory of harmony
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Book V (Special Theory of Harmony). Topics include: harmony (diatonic system); symmetric system progressions and structures; symmetric zero cycle; irregular doublings, 6th chords, doublings in S(6); G6 in symmetric harmony; G 6/4 in symmetric harmony; chromatic system. The handwriting in this series appears to be both Joseph Schillinger and Lawrence Berk's.
Series 08: Special theory of harmony
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Book V (Special Theory of Harmony). Topics include: harmony (diatonic system); symmetric zero cycle (Co); irregular doublings; sixth chords, passing chords, G 6/4, continuity; G6 in symmetric harmony; G 6/4 in symmetric harmony. The handwriting in this series appears to be Lawrence Berk’s.
Series 09: Permutations
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Book I (Theory of Rhythm). Topics include: variations (2 elements, 3 elements, 4 elements); permutations of the higher orders; simultaneity and continuity (homogeneous); series of factorial and fractional continuity, square of a binomial; square of a trinomial; generalization of the square; cube of a binomial, cube of a trinomial; generalization of all powers, rhythm of variable velocities. The handwriting in this series appears to be Lawrence Berk’s.
Series 10: Pitch scales & geometrical inversions
These materials appear to be similar to those of Schillinger System of Musical Composition Books II (Theory of Pitch-Scales), I (Theory of Rhythm), and III (Variations of Music by Means of Geometrical Projection). Topics include: pitch scales, table of resultants with and without fractioning; theory of melody; time ratios of the secondary axes; pitch-ratios of the secondary axes; modal transposition, modulations; the second group of scales; composition of continuity; symmetric systems of musical pitch, the third group; symmetric systems of musical pitch, the fourth group; geometrical inversions. composition of harmonic continuity thru geometrical inversions, geometrical expansions. The handwriting in this series appears to be Joseph Schillinger's.
Series 11: An introductory course in arranging
This appears to be an introductory course in arranging written by Lawrence Berk and possibly James McInerney and/or Lyle Dowling.