Alexander Rehding

Visiting Scholar (Jun 2017-Aug 2017)

PhD, Fanny Peabody Professor of Music, Harvard University

Alex Rehding is a musicologist and music theorist with a broad interest in questions of sound and listening. Educated at Hamburg and Cambridge Universities, he joined the music department at Harvard University in 2003 and holds the Fanny Peabody Professorship of Music. A former editor of Acta Musicologica (the journal of the International Musicological Society), he is now editor-in-chief of the Oxford Handbooks Music Online series. His research is located in the history of music theory and the cultural history of music, focusing primarily on the nineteenth century and the ancient world. His book publications include Hugo Riemann and the Birth of Modern Musical Thought (2003) and Music and Monumentality (2009). His forthcoming Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (2017) explores the significance of the symphony this side of the millennium in contemporary digital culture. Rehding’s awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association. A grant from the Andrew Mellon foundation allowed him to convene the John E. Sawyer seminar on “Hearing Modernity” in 2013. While at the Max Planck Institute, Rehding is researching the nineteenth-century tax collector, astronomer, and polymath Friedrich Opelt and the innovative music theory he developed on the basis of the mechanical siren. Other ongoing projects include a cross-cultural study of music theory and a multimedia project exploring the Golden Record included in the Voyager space mission.


No current projects were found for this scholar.

Toward a Digital Music Theory: Opelt’s Siren and the Technologies of Musical Hearing


Selected Publications

Rehding, A., Kreuzer, G., McMurray, P., Krämer, S., & Moseley, R. (2017). Discrete/continuous: Music and media theory after Kittler. Journal of the American Musicological Society, 70(1), 221-256. doi:10.1525/jams.2017.70.1.221.

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Rehding, A. (2016). Instruments of music theory. Music Theory Online, 22(4), 1-22.

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Rehding, A. (2016). Three music-theory lessons. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 141(2), 251-282. doi:10.1080/02690403.2016.1216025.

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Rehding, A. (2014). Music-historical egyptomania, 1650-1950. Journal of the History of Ideas, 75(4), 545-580. doi:10.1353/jhi.2014.0037.

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Rehding, A., & Conway, B. R. (2013). Neuroaesthetics and the trouble with beauty. PLoS Biology, 11(3), 1-5. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001504.

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McKay, J. Z., & Rehding, A. (2011). The structure of Plato's dialogues and Greek music theory: a response to J. B. Kennedy. Apeiron, 44(4), 359-375. doi:10.1515/apeiron.2011.021.

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Rehding, A. (2011). Ecomusicology between apocalypse and nostalgia. Journal of the American Musicological Society, 64(2), 409-414. doi:10.1525/jams.2011.64.2.409.

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Past Events

Nachrichten & Presse

Alexander Rehding erhält Stipendium der Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung.