Die Reihe

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Die Reihe (German pronunciation: [diː ˈʀaɪ̯ə]) was a German-language music journal, edited by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen and published by Universal Edition (Vienna) between 1955 and 1962 (ISSN 0486-3267). An English edition was published, under the original German title, between 1957 and 1968 by the Theodore Presser Company (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania), in association with Universal Edition (ISSN 0080-0775). A related book series titled Bücher der Reihe was begun, but only one title ever appeared in it, Herbert Eimert's Grundlagen der musikalischen Reihentechnik (Eimert 1964).


The journal, whose title means "The Row" or "The Series", owes its genesis to the founding of the electronic music studio of the Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR) in Cologne (later WDR) under the influence of Werner Meyer-Eppler, and the realisation that technology was becoming an important element in the work of younger composers (Grant 2001, 55). The contributions from composers working in the studio were frequently based on their projects there, and in the early stages of competing with the radio-play department for resources, Eimert found having such a journal useful. It helped to raise the studio's educational and academic profile above the entertainment aims of other departments of the radio station, as well as providing opportunities to young authors for publication (Custodis 2004, 86).

Character and history[edit]

The subtitle of the original edition, "Information über serielle Musik" ("information on serial music") reflected the intent of the editors, but was changed for the English edition to "A Periodical Devoted to Developments in Contemporary Music", a phrase that did not effectively represent the journal's specific context and may have been one reason for an unfavourable reaction from American composers and critics (Grant 2001, 1–2). There were just eight volumes published, each under a thematic title. Further issues had been planned, but publication was broken off when deteriorating relations between the two editors reached the point of open rupture. In 1958, a competing journal, the Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik, was launched by Wolfgang Steinecke, director of the Darmstädter Ferienkurse. When Stockhausen agreed to let Steinecke co-publish an article that Eimert had expected exclusively for Die Reihe (Stockhausen 1958), Eimert felt he was being disloyal. When other young composers began following Stockhausen's lead, and Stockhausen himself authorised a short version of another article originally published in Die Reihe (Stockhausen 1957b), it put increasing pressure on Eimert, who was threatened with a cut in funding by Alfred Schlee of Universal Edition (Custodis 2004, 86–87). On the other side, on 24 May 1961 Eimert published in the Kölnischer Rundschau a glowing review of Hans Werner Henze's opera Elegy for Young Lovers. Since Henze's style was comparatively old-fashioned, Stockhausen regarded this as a betrayal of the principles of serial music underlying Die Reihe, and vehemently broke with Eimert over it (Kurtz 1992, 111).

English edition[edit]

Differences between the German and English editions can be seen from a comparison of their respective tables of contents. Occasionally items were omitted or substituted, but more commonly these involve the order of the articles. In some cases, however, these resulted in a different tone or emphasis, contributing to the problematic reception of Die Reihe in America (Grant 2001, 6). For example, the foreword to the first volume (1955) of the German edition declared it to be the mouthpiece for the younger generation, but this foreword was omitted in the 1957 English edition (Grant 2001, 19).

Subject matter[edit]

Each of the eight issues of Die Reihe was dedicated to a different theme, announced in a subtitle:

  1. (1955) "Elektronische Musik" / (1957) "Electronic Music"
  2. (1955) "Anton Webern" / (1958) "Anton Webern"
  3. (1957) "Musikalisches Handwerk" / (1959) "Musical Craftsmanship"
  4. (1958) "Junge Komponisten" / (1960) "Young Composers"
  5. (1957) "Berichte—Analyse" / (1961) "Reports—Analyses"
  6. (1958) "Sprache und Musik" / (1964) "Speech and Music"
  7. (1960) "Form—Raum" / (1964) "Form—Space"
  8. (1962) "Rückblicke" / (1968) "Retrospective"


Die Reihe became the most important source of information about European serial and electronic music, thanks in part to the appearance of the English edition (Grant 2001, 2).

Die Reihe excited considerable controversy, especially after the English editions began appearing in 1957. George Perle (1960) and John Backus (1962) wrote particularly scornful reviews (Grant 2001, 3, points out an example of wilful misquotation in Backus's review), but even in his relatively factual report on the first volume, Arthur Jacobs could not resist making a joke with reference to the contentiousness surrounding the journal, in connection with a suggestion that the title should also have been translated: "if 'The Row' is open to mispronunciation, 'the Series' would have done" (Jacobs 1959). Dika Newlin, reporting on volume five, concludes (apparently with reference to the item in it by John Cage) by saying "Many readers will be disquieted by the periodical's continuing mixture of worthwhile investigation with pretentious phoniness" (Newlin 1962, 619). John Backus especially singled out Eimert, Stockhausen, Henri Pousseur, and Paul Gredinger's articles in his review, where he described the extensive use of scientific methodology as inaccurate and pseudo-scientific; the use of jargon disregarded the meanings of scientific terms and made the articles unintelligible; and all the contents lacked any reference to the results of other workers as support for their statements. Werner Meyer-Eppler's article in volume 1 is singled out as the sole exception: "an interesting account of some experimental results in psycho-acoustics, [which] is adequately supplied with references, and is a model of lucidity" (Backus 1962, 171). Backus makes it clear that his concern is exclusively with the use or misuse of scientific terminology: "We shall not concern ourselves with their musical content" (Backus 1962, 161).

One of the most severe critiques was published in the last issue of Die Reihe itself. This was by the Dutch physicist Adriaan Fokker, and was directed primarily at Stockhausen's article "… wie die Zeit vergeht …" (Fokker 1962; Stockhausen 1957a). A response defending Stockhausen was published by his colleague, the composer Gottfried Michael Koenig, in the same issue (Koenig 1962).


  • Backus, John. 1962. "Die Reihe—A Scientific Evaluation". Perspectives of New Music 1, no. 1:160–71.
  • Behne, Klaus-Ernst. 1991. "Wie vergeht die Zeit?" In Musikwissenschaft als Kulturwissenschaft: Festschrift zum 65. Geburtstag von Hans-Peter Reinecke, edited by Klaus-Ernst Behne, Ekkehard Jost, Eberhard Kotter, and Helga de la Motte-Haber, 145–56. Perspektive zur Musikpädagogik und Musikwissenschaft 15. Regensburg: Gustav Bosse. ISBN 3-7649-2422-5.
  • Custodis, Michael. 2004. Die soziale Isolation der neuen Musik: Zum Kölner Musikleben nach 1945. Beihefte zum Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 54, edited by Albrecht Riethmüller, with Reinhold Brinkmann, Ludwig Finscher, Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen, Wolfgang Osthoff, and Wolfram Steinbeck. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. ISBN 3-515-08375-8.
  • Evans, Peter A. 1962. "Die Reihe, No. 5: Reports Analyses", Music and Letters 43:144–46
  • Eimert, Herbert. 1964. Grundlagen der musikalischen Reihentechnik. Bücher der Reihe: Information über serielle Musik. Vienna: Universal Edition.
  • Fokker, Adriaan D. 1962. "Wozu und Warum?" Die Reihe 8 ("Rückblicke"): 62–72. English as "Wherefore, and Why?". Die Reihe 8 ("Retrospective", 1968): 68–79.
  • Grant, Morag J. 2001. Serial Music, Serial Aesthetics: Compositional Theory in Post-war Europe. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jacobs, Arthur. 1959. "'Die Reihe (English Edition): Electronic Music' Edited by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen". Musical Times 100, no. 1391:19.
  • Koenig, Gottfried Michael. 1962. "Kommentar". Die Reihe 8 ("Rückblicke"): 73–92. English as "Commentary". Die Reihe 8 ("Retrospective", 1968): 80–98.
  • Kurtz, Michael. 1992. Stockhausen: A Biography, translated by Richard Toop. London and Boston: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-14323-7 (cloth); ISBN 0-571-17146-X (pbk).
  • Newlin, Dika. 1956. "Die Reihe: A Periodical Devoted to Developments in Contemporary Music; Hrsg. von Herbert Eimert unter Mitarbeit von Karlheinz Stockhausen. Heft 1: Elektronische Musik; Heft 2: Anton Webern. Wien, Zurich, London: Universal Edition, 1955". Notes, second series, 13, no. 3 (June): 432–33.
  • Newlin, Dika. 1958. "Die Reihe; A Periodical Devoted to Developments in Contemporary Music. Ed. by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Vol. I: Electronic Music. Bryn Mawr, Penna.: Theodore Presser Co. in assn. with Universal Edition, [1958].". Notes, second series, 15, no. 3:405.
  • Newlin, Dika. 1959. "Die Reihe: A Periodical Devoted to Developments in Contemporary Music. Ed. by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Vol. II: Anton Webern. Bryn Mawr, Penna.: Theodore Presser Co. in assn. with Universal Edition, [1958].". Notes, second series, 15, no. 3 (March): 257–58.
  • Newlin, Dika. 1960. "Die Reihe: A Periodical Devoted to Developments in Contemporary Music. Ed. by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Vol. III: Musical Craftsmanship. Bryn Mawr, Penna: Theodore Presser Co. in assn. with Universal Edition, [1959].". Notes, second series, 17, no. 4 (September): 580–81.
  • Newlin, Dika. 1962. "Die Reihe: A Periodical Devoted to Developments in Contemporary Music; Vol. 5: Reports, Analysis". Notes, second series, 19:618–19.
  • Perle, George. 1960. "Book Review: Die Reihe III: Musical Craftsmanship". Journal of Music Theory 4, no. 1:102–104.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1957a. "... wie die Zeit vergeht ...". Die Reihe 3 ("Musikalisches Handwerk"): 13–42. Reprinted with notes by Dr. Georg Heike, in Stockhausen's Texte zur elektronischen und instrumentalen Musik 1 (Aufsätze 1952–1962 zur Theorie des Komponierens), edited by Dieter Schnebel, 99–139. DuMont Dokumente. Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg, 1963. English as "... How Time Passes ... ", translated by Cornelius Cardew. Die Reihe 3 ("Musical Craftmanship", 1959): 10–40.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1957b. "Musik im Raum". Die Reihe 5 ("Berichte—Analyse"): 59–73. Excerpt reprinted under the same title in Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik 2, 30–35. Mainz: Schott, 1959. English version, as "Music in Space", translated by Ruth Koenig. Die Reihe 5 ("Reports—Analyses", 1961): 67–82.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1958. "Musik und Sprache", Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik 1, 65–74. Mainz: Schott. Published concurrently in Die Reihe 6 ("Sprache und Musik", 1958): 36–58. Reprinted in three parts in Stockhausen, Texte zur Musik 2, edited by Dieter Schnebel, 58–68, 149–56, and 157–66. DuMont Dokumente. Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg, 1964. English version, as "Music and Speech", translated by Ruth Koenig. Die Reihe 6 ("Speech and Music", 1964): 40–64.

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