Noah Kahrs

I am a fifth-year PhD student and fixed-term Assistant-Professor (one year) in music theory at the Eastman School of Music. I previously completed an MA in Music Composition, also at Eastman, as well as an undergraduate degree in music and mathematics at the University of Chicago. I am currently on the job market.


I have a few different research projects that are accessible at varying levels of completeness. A more formal list of publications is on my Google Scholar profile.

Dissertation: Composing (with) Theories of Acoustics and Pitch Perception after 1950

My dissertation interprets compositions from the last few decades, particularly in spectral and experimental musics, as engaging theories of acoustics and pitch perception. Some sub-projects include:

Older Research

My masters thesis was on rhythm perception and compositional process Hans Abrahamsen's Schnee, and I've published about a shared rhythm between Schnee and other works. I've also made an interactive JavaScript implementation of my thesis's computational methodology.

I've published two articles on how sketch study helps us hear proportions in Sofia Gubaidulina's music, in Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung and Music Theory Online.

I've also worked a bit on mathematical models of chord spacing. Matt Chiu and I coauthored a paper/talk hybridizing models of chord quality and timbre. I also have a corpus study on string quartets having frequency-constant chord spacing.


I've been a composer for longer than I've been a music theorist. Here are two pieces I'm particularly happy with:

Intermedial Experiences of Geography

Here are two field recordings of interesting overpasses that I've spent a lot of time listening to.

Green Line trains at Garfield Blvd in Chicago.

the underside of the tracks
The Clinton Ave Bridge over the Howell St/Monroe Ave ramp to I-490 in Rochester

the underside of the overpass

You can also see photos from my travels across Chicago's 77 Community Areas, mostly taken 5+ years ago when I was an undergrad.