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William Rothstein
Position: Professor, Queens College and the Graduate Center
Campus Affiliation: CUNY Graduate Center|Queens College
Phone: 212-817-8596
Degrees/Diplomas: PhD, Yale
Research Interests: Schenkerian Analysis; theories of rhythm; theories of form

William Rothstein's areas of interest include Schenkerian theory and analysis, theories of rhythm, history of music theory, opera, and theories of form.  He has also written on performance practice and the relationship of analysis to performance. His landmark book, Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music, received both an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award and the Society for Music Theory's Young Scholar Award.


Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music. Schirmer Books, 1989.

“Riding the storm clouds: Tempo, rhythm, and meter in Beethoven’s ‘Tempest’ Sonata.” In Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata: Contexts of Analysis and Performance, ed. Pieter Bergé, Jeroen d’Hoe, and William Caplin. Analysis in Context: Leuven Studies in Musicology, Vol. 3. Leuven: Peeters.

“National Metrical Types in Music of the 18th and Early 19th Centuries.” In Communication in eighteenth-century music, ed. Danuta Mirka and Kofi Agawu. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Pages 112–59.

Common-tone tonality in Italian Romantic opera: An introduction.Music Theory Online 14, no. 1 (March 2008).

“Transformations of Cadential Formulæ in Music by Corelli and His Successors.” In Studies from the Third International Schenker Symposium, ed. Allen Cadwallader. Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2006.

“Circular Motion in Chopin’s Late B-Major Nocturne (op. 62, no. 1).” In Structure and Meaning in Tonal Music: Essays for Carl Schachter, ed. Poundie Burstein and David Gagné. Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2006.

“Ernst Oster (1908–1977).” In Schenker-Traditionen: Eine Wiener Schule der Musiktheorie und ihre internationale Verbreitung, ed. Martin Eybl and Evelyn Fink–Mennel (Vienna: Böhlau, 2006). Wiener Veröffentlichungen zur Musikgeschichte Nr. 6.

“Playing with Forms: Mozart’s Rondo in D Major, K. 485.” In Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis, ed. Deborah Stein (Oxford University Press, 2005), 202–14.

Like Falling Off a Log: Rubato in Chopin’s Prelude in A-flat Major (op. 28, no. 17).Music Theory Online 11/1 (March 2005).

“Conservatory Schenker vs. University Schenker.” Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie 7/3 (November 2002): 239–41.

"Chopin and the B-major complex: a study in the psychology of composition." Ostinato rigore, revue internationale d'études musicales 15 (2000): 149-72.

"The Form of Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasy." In James Baker, David Beach, and Jonathan Bernard, eds., Music Theory in Concept and Practice (University of Rochester Press, 1997). Pages 337-59.

"The Tristan Chord in Historical Perspective: A Response to John Rothgeb." Music Theory Online 1/3 (May 1995).

"Ambiguity in the Themes of Chopin's First, Second, and Fourth Ballades." Intégral 8 (1995): 1-50.

"Analysis and the Act of Performance." In John Rink, ed., The Practice of Performance: Studies in Musical Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Pages 217-40.

"Beethoven with and without Kunstgepräng': Metrical Ambiguity Reconsidered." In Christopher Reynolds, ed., Beethoven Forum, Vol. 4 (University of Nebraska Press, 1995). Pages 165-93.

"On Implied Tones." Music Analysis 10/3 (1991): 289-328.

"Rhythmic Displacement and Rhythmic Normalization." In Allen Cadwallader, ed., Trends in Schenkerian Research (Schirmer Books, 1990). Pages 87-113.

"The Americanization of Schenker Pedagogy?" In Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 4/2 (1990): 295-99. (Response to an article, "A Schenker Pedagogy," by Gregory Proctor and H. Lee Riggins, in the Spring 1989 issue.)

"The Americanization of Heinrich Schenker." In Hedi Siegel, ed., Schenker Studies (Cambridge University Press, 1990). Pages 193-203. Originally appeared in In Theory Only 9/1 (1986): 5-17

."Phrase Rhythm in Chopin's Nocturnes and Mazurkas." In Jim Samson, ed., Chopin Studies (Cambridge University Press, 1988). Pages 115-41.

"Heinrich Schenker as an Interpreter of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas." 19th-Century Music 8/1 (1984): 3-28.

"Linear Structure in the Twelve-Tone System: An Analysis of Donald Martino's Pianississimo." Journal of Music Theory 24/2 (1980): 129-65.