John Rahn Retired from Teaching in 2013

I remain active as Co-Editor and President of the journal Perspectives of New Music

I can be reached at

  • John Rahn
  • updated 2019

    News (from 2010)

    I am a Professor of Music in the University of Washington School of Music, Seattle. I am (bio here) a composer of music and a music theorist.

    In January 2001, I resumed the Editorship of Perspectives of New Music , an international professional journal for composers and others interested in contemporary music.

    I was involved in starting the new journal and Society for Mathematics and Music. I am on the Advisory Board for the European-American Journal of Mathematics and Music. I am also on the Board of the Society for Mathematics and Computation of music. I was on sabbatical leave during the 2003-2004 academic year. From October through March in 2003-2004 I was associated with the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.

    In October through December 2003 I visited Paris (from Barcelona) for some conferences, giving a keynote address for a conference about music and mathematics at the Institut Recherche et Coordination Acoustique-Musique (IRCAM).


    You can download some of my computer music compositions in .wav soundfiles here.

    You can follow this link, updated in August 1999, to get my Lisp Kernel and related software.

    Here are some recent articles:

    I composed a chamber opera for five female singers and small orchestra, with computer music interludes, called The New Mother . In 2005 I composed a trombone duet based on ancient Greek music theory, called Greek Bones, which was premiered by Chris Stover and Don Immel. A directory of GIF files for the score is here.

    A book of selected essays called Music Inside Out: Going Too Far in Musical Essays appeared in 2001, in the Gordon and Breach Arts International series, "Critical Voices".

    Some other theoretical work includes an article called "Composing and the Sense of Self" (click here to view), a book called Perspectives on Musical Aesthetics (editor), W. W. Norton, N.Y. 1994, and an article called "Some Remarks on Network Models for Music" in Musical Transformations and Intuitions: A Festschrift for David Lewin , ed. Raphael Atlas and Michael Cherlin, Pendragon Press, 1995.

    Here are some papers on cultural theory.


    At the UW I teach composition and theory. Some past courses:

    In Winter and Spring 2009, I taught a two-term seminar on music and mathematics , jointly with Prof. Patrick Perkins from the department of mathematics for the second half of the seminar.

    In Winter 2007, I taught a double or triple interdisciplinary seminar on music and philosophy, jointly with Comparative Literature Professor Marshall Brown. Here is its web site:
    Music 575/576/CLIT502

    In Autumn 2006 I taught a class analyzing Janacek and Stravinsky, and a seminar on ancient Greek music theory.

    At ESMUC in Barcelona during 2003-4, I taught composition and a public seminar in music and mathematics. One of my composition students, Joan Robuste, won the International Guinjoan Composition Award at the end of 2003. In addition to advising graduate students at the University of Washington, I served as First Reader on the doctoral committee for the Paris Ph.D. dissertation of Moreno Andreatta (at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales).

    Here is a Winter 2005 syllabus on History of Music Theory, Ancient through Medieval, with particular reference to Greek music theory.

    Here are links to some other course materials from recent years.

    John Rahn

    School of Music Box 353450

    University of Washington

    Seattle, WA 98195-3450

    (206) 543-2291

    Web --

in Red Square