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Dane Rudhyar

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Dane Rudhyar (born Daniel Chennevière March 23, 1895 in Paris, France - September 13, 1985 in San Francisco, CA) was best known as a modernist composer and humanistic astrologer. He was the pioneer of modern psychological astrology, and he wrote dozens of books on the subject during his lifetime.

Most of Rudhyar's more than 40 books and hundreds of articles concerned astrology and religion. However, at the beginning and end of his life he wrote prolifically about music. His music books include: Claude Debussy and the Cycle of Musical Civilization, Dissonant Harmony (1928), The New Sense of Sound (1930), and The Magic of Tone and the Art of Music (1982). He also wrote two novels.

His music uses dissonant harmony, emphatically not of a systematic variety such as Charles Seeger's (he was philosophically opposed to such a rigid approach to music composition). His musical thought was influenced by Henri Bergson and Theosophy, and he viewed composers as mediums, writing (1926, 15) that "the new composer" was "no longer a 'composer,' but an evoker, a magician. His material is his musical instrument, a living thing, a mysterious entity endowed with vital laws of its own, sneering at formulas, fearfully alive." He was influential on several early twentieth-century composers including Ruth Crawford Seeger and Carl Ruggles, the center of a group that Carol J. Oja calls the "ultra-modernists."

In the 1970s, Rudhyar's compositions were rediscoverd by fans including James Tenney and Peter Garland. Garland claimed that, Rudhyar's "best works occurred in the 1920s and... 1970s!"

Works Cited

Rudhyar, Dane (1926). The Birth of the Twentieth Century Piano: Concerning John Hays Hammond's New Device. Eolus 5, 14-17.

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