Noah Kahrs

I am a fourth-year PhD student 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 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 music, 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's a field recording of Green Line trains at Garfield Blvd in Chicago. (At some point, I will replace this with a field recording of the Clinton Ave bridge over an I-490 on/off-ramp in downtown Rochester.)

the underside of the tracks

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