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Wall chart of musical instruments, showing for each instrument its fundamental, overtones, range, sub-ranges, whole-and half stopping, notation, then an illustration and a repertory list, preceded by an introduction.

The table measures 199 x 62 cms (78¼ x 24½ inches), and presents 83 instruments, including, in addition to the standard orchestral instruments, the saxophones, saxhorns, cornets, keyed bugles, flügelhorn, and opheiclide. It is perhaps the most popular and widely disseminated of all Schenker's published works, having sold in excess of 11,000 copies by the mid-1990s.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the Table, apart from its general pedagogical application, is the prominence with which it promotes the technical details of 18th-century instruments, notably the oboe d'amore (citing examples from J. S. Bach and R. Strauss), the natural horns and trumpets (citing Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven).

Author's name

The work is published under the pseudonym "Artur Niloff." According to Federhofer, the pseudonym, sometimes spelled "Niiloff" or "Nijloff" in correspondence, is a partial anagram of the last name of Schenker's closest friend, Moriz Violin. The identity with Schenker was put beyond question in a letter from Schenker to August Halm of 1918 (DLA 69.930/3): "H. Niloff, i.e. I myself, manufactured this little trifle many, many years ago out of pity for his pupils and for the critics of the daily newspapers in Vienna, who […] have used English terms such as 'stopped' in their reviews, [and have] praised Sebastian Bach’s clarinets to all the Heavens." (italics added). Despite its authorship's having become known early in the work's history, the Table has always been published under the pseudonym: unlike Schenker's Harmonielehre (1906), which was published initially under a pseudonym and later under Schenker's name, the true authorial name still does not appear even in present-day editions.

Publication History

Negotiations over the Table were underway by September 11, 1906 with Joseph Stritzko, the director of J. Eberle & Co., and involved the music publisher Doblinger. Details of the terms are shown in the diary entry OJ 1/5, p. 19, September 13, 1906, when Stritzko wanted "possible and impossible trills" to be included. Schenker reported that the Table went to the printers on April 6, 1906 (ibid, p. 12), and it is unclear how much production work, if any, had been done when negotiations broke down shortly afterward over royalties.

Universal Edition took over publication, releasing it first to schools with a small print-run in November 1908 (OC 52/28, November 11) to test the market, the Introduction signed "October 1908." This was Schenker's first UE publication under Emil Hertzka, and was evidently successful ("300 copies sold within three weeks in Vienna alone", CA 96-98, May 6, 1909), since Hertzka issued a public first edition three months later. Apparently, French and English editions were announced in 1909 (ibid), but never materialized. For the 1909 edition, Schenker supplied "supplementary notes" on instrument classification, production of overtones, instrument families, and transposition, but these proved too extensive for publication and were not included until the second edition (1912).


The editions produced before the World War II were as follows (some confusion exists as to the correct numbering of the editions; the two systems in use are shown below), with release date and print-run:

  • "schools edn" (= 1st) : November 1908 : 500?
  • 1st (=2d) : February 6, 1909 : 2,000
  • 2d (= 3d) : May 7, 1912 (500)/August 23, 1912 : 1,500
  • 3d (= 4th) : September 3, 1917 : 1,000
  • 4th (= 5th) : November 9, 1920 : 1,000
  • 5th (= 6th) : January 10, 1922 : 1,000
  • 6th (= 7th) : October 25, 1925 : 1,000
  • 7th (= 8th) : January 22, 1928 : 1,000
  • 8th (= 9th) : January 11, 1933 : 1,000
  • 9th (= 10th) : July 23, 1937 : 1,000

A letter of July 2, 1920 (OC 52/410), from the Book-keeping department of UE, corresponds with the first part of the above except that it speaks of an edition of 1,000 copies in 1912, and a further edition of 1,000 copies "that was not produced until 1913 but had already been ordered in 1912."


  • Universal Edition Verlagsdruckbücher (UE Archive, Vienna)
  • Federhofer, Hellmut, Heinrich Schenker nach Tagebüchern und Briefen ... (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1985), p. 30
  • Bent, Ian, "'That Bright New Light': Schenker, Universal Edition, and the Origins of the Erläuterung Series, 1901-1910," Journal of the American Musicological Society 58/1 (2005), 69-138, esp. 73, 83 [where Stritzko is wrongly identified with Hertzka]


  • Ian Bent

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