Daniel Harrison

Allen Forte Professor of Music Theory
Yale University

PhD, Yale University (1986)
BA, Stanford (1981)

Professor Daniel Harrison is a music theorist, author, former Chairman of the Department of Music, and currently Chairman of the Theater Studies Programme at Yale University. Most interested in tonal theory, Professor Harrison wrote his dissertation on the music of Max Reger at Yale (PhD 1986), which eventually became Harmonic Function in Chromatic Music: A Renewed Dualist Theory and an Account of Its Precedents (1994). Also specialising in pop music, particularly The Beach Boys, he appeared in the Don Was documentary Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times (1995). During his tenure at Yale, he was named the Allen Forte Professor of Music Theory in 2006, and Chairman in 2007. From 2001 to 2003, he was editor-in-chief of Music Theory Spectrum. Professor Harrison has a long-standing interest is musical rhetoric, especially on techniques of proposition and argument and their realisation in performance. At both Yale and at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, Professor Harrison taught courses in chromatic music and analysis; analysis of rock music; the pedagogy of music theory; and, most recently, tonality after the common practice, which has resulted in Pieces of Tradition: An Analysis of Contemporary Tonal Music (2016). His primary instrument is the organ, which he studied with Herbert Nanney at Stanford and Robert Baker at Yale. In Rochester, he was assistant to David Craighead at St Paul’s Episcopal Church for twelve years. Among his other musical experiences, Professor Harrison had a stint as an arranger and bass-pan player in the steel-drum band Calliope’s Children.