Patrick McCreless Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Music Theory


Russian music, music theory, Shostakovich


Much of my work has focused on Wagner and on the music of the late nineteenth century. My dissertation/book, “Wagner’s Siegfried: Its Drama, Its History, and Its Music”, remains one of the two monographs on an individual opera of the Ring cycle. Another early publication examines the analytical work of the Swiss theorist Ernst Kurth, whose pathbreaking book on Wagnerian harmony, Romantische Harmonik und Ihre Krise in Wagner’s Tristan, set the stage for later twentieth-century approaches to Wagner’s music. In “Schenker and the Norns,” I bring later nineteenth-century tonal and structural principles together with Schenkerian analytical principles to bear on the opening scene of the Prologue of Götterdämmerung. My most recent project involving Wagner is my collaboration with the literary scholar Adrian Daub, of Stanford University, in writing all the entries on the Ring for the “Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia”.