David Damschroder trained in mathematics, keyboard performance, and music theory, earning graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University. His current research focuses on harmony in tonal music, a project that began with a careful examination of historical analytical practices, the basis for his Thinking About Harmony: Perspectives from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Cambridge University Press, 2008). The project continues with focused studies on selected repertoires: Harmony in Schubert (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Harmony in Haydn and Mozart (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Harmony in Chopin (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Harmony in Beethoven (Cambridge University Press, 2016), and Harmony in Mendelssohn and Schumann (Cambridge University Press, 2018). The project currently is proceeding with an exploration of developments after 1850.
Damschroder offers Schenkerian Theory and Analysis I–II every other year. These courses develop the Schenkerian perspective in conjunction with innovative procedures for harmonic analysis and a broad assessment of other analytical approaches. Late nineteenth-century repertoire is featured in his Chromatic Harmony seminar, offered in alternation with the Schenker courses.
Graduate performance majors and junior or senior undergraduates have been enrolling in Damschroder’s Schenkerian Analysis for Performers course for over thirty years. This practical orientation to analysis incorporates explorations of works from individual students’ repertoires.
Damschroder has had extensive experience teaching undergraduates, both music majors and non-majors. He has taught Sophomore Theory and Ear-Training at the University of Minnesota since his appointment in 1983. Currently he teaches the third semester of the core curriculum, a fall course devoted to chromatic harmony, plus rondo and sonata forms. Most graduate music theory majors with research interests in tonal music have the opportunity to apprentice as teaching assistants in the sophomore course. Offshoots of his teaching include the textbooks Listen and Sing (Schirmer/Wadsworth, 1995), Foundations of Music and Musicianship (Schirmer/Wadsworth, 2006), and Tonal Analysis: A Schenkerian Perspective (W. W. Norton, 2018).
Damschroder is the principal author of Music Theory from Zarlino to Schenker (Pendragon Press, 1990), which the Society for Music Theory honored with a special citation. His articles and reviews have appeared in Music Theory Spectrum, The Journal of Music Theory, Music Theory Online, In Theory Only, The Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, The Journal of Musicological Research, and Gamut. He is editor of the Harmonologia series at Pendragon Press.
As a complement to his scholarly, analytical and pedagogical work, Damschroder occasionally performs on fortepiano and modern piano. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and India. His interests outside of music include Renaissance art, German literature, and yoga.