My Introduction to the *Schillinger System…


Groves School of Music – Los Angeles, 1990-91


While studying at the Grove School of Music in Los Angeles in the early 1990’s, having enrolled in their film music program,  I was fortunate enough to be tutored, among others, by the esteemed Hollywood composer Joseph Harnell – one day he brought into our class, his own personal copy of the now famous red hardback two volume set edition published by Carl Fischer in the 1940’s of the Schillinger System of Musical Composition. I was immediately ingrigued. As Joe held up the books to pass around the room, he uttered simultaneously the words “Gershwin” and “But he didn’t need it’ in the same breath and I was therfore introduced in the same moment the man Schillinger, and the controversy surrounding the man.


I borrowed them as I recall, and returned the books a day or two later thinking to myself, “One day, I’m coming back to this”. So since 2000 or so, when online stores really took hold, I started looking for and seeing the two-volume set begin to reappear here and there online. But I held back for the right time.


Finally, a personal composition project I’ve had in the back of my mind for quite some time, and really a “life goal” came in front of me and I knew to accomplish it in this lifetime it would require a system to put it in place and bring it to completion. Something that would take me beyond anything I’ve done up to this point as a composer. I thought, “Ok, Schillinger….it’s time – ‘one day’ is now here”.

I would recommend the Schillinger System of Musical Composition to any composer or performer who is really interested in deepening his or her knowledge of their craft in order to grow as an artist.


Daniel Léo Simpson




*Schillinger is pronounced with a ‘hard G’ as in: hun-ger

Published on December 16, 2008 at 4:33 am  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Daniel

    This is an excellent site, I love your modulation exercises but how do you get time to input all of the Hindemith?!

    • Thanks Jeremy! Yes, it does take time but I love doing it! I’ll be adding many more in the “Keyboard Harmony – Schillinger Resultants – Bach Chorales” post as well!

  2. A friend of mine has both volumes and I borrowed them to study and I am amazed at it’s contents!

  3. hello,

    I’m an italian music student
    I’m interested to download a full pdf of the Schillinger system (1600 pp. and more, I know).
    I’m from Italy, and I can’t buy it for studying in my country (over 450 euros from germany or england, i.e. over 570 usd)

    I can pay for the pdf, at a raisonable price, obviuosly, via paypal or some other way

    could you help me in some way?
    (forget my english)

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