The Work of Kathleen Schlesinger and Elsie Hamilton

The Work of Kathleen Schlesinger and Elsie Hamilton

Kathleen Schlesinger was a musicologist, the author of “The Greek Aulos” (Methuen 1939) now out of print, where she analyses the tuning systems used in Greece and other ancient and indigenous cultures to deduce a system known as the Harmoniai. This method of tuning was used by her friend, the composer Elsie Hamilton in her music. Here we present reprints of some rare articles by Schlesinger and Hamilton.

Note. Despite extensive research, we have been unable to track down the copyright holders of these pieces. They are presented here as the important documents they are in the recent history of just intonation. Please contact us if you have any information relating to the ownership of these pieces.

“Kathleen Schlesinger and Elsie Hamilton – Pioneers of Just Intonation” by Brian Lee. An introduction to the work of Kathleen Schlesinger and Elsie Hamilton in their historical and cultural context. Including rare photos of Elsie Hamilton.

Elsie Hamilton and Kathleen Schlesinger: biographical notes

The Modes of Ancient Greece  by Elsie Hamilton. A booklet written by Elsie Hamilton that explains her use of the modes of the Harmoniai.

The New Language of Music by Thea Stanley Hughes from the Australian magazine Movement, June 1948. A review of The Greek Aulos by Kathleen Schlesinger including biographical and anecdotal material on Schlesinger and Hamilton.

The Language of Music  by Kathleen Schlesinger from “Anthroposophy Vol I, 1920-22”

The Return of the Planetary Modes by Kathleen Schlesinger. Originally published in “Anthroposophy Vol II, 1923”. Here Schlesinger reveals the metaphysics behind the Harmoniai.

The Nature of Musical Experience in the Light of Anthroposophy by Elsie Hamilton. Originally published in “Anthroposophy Vol I, 1926”.

Appendix III  from The Greek Aulos by Kathleen Schlesinger (1939) where she talks about the modern use of the Harmoniai and the works of Elsie Hamilton.

Divisions of the Tetrachord:   A Prolegomenon to the Construction of Musical Scales by John Chalmers. (Published by Frog Peak Music. 1993). A book on the application of Ancient Greek musical concepts to contemporary composition. Thanks to John Chalmers for permission to reprint Chapter 8 of his book which deals specifically with Schlesinger’s Harmoniai.


If you want to read the whole book it is no longer in print but the full text is online here:


Sensa, a play in three acts written by Mabel Collins and Maud Hoffman with music by Elsie Hamilton. Three performances took place in the Etlinger Hall London in 1919. The only part of the music that remains is the Hymn to Ra,  a setting of the text: “Hail! All hail! Thou who art Ra! When thou riseth, thou riseth! Thou shinest! Thou shinest! Thou who art crowned King of the Gods!” Here we include here the full script of the play.

Sensa dramatis personae
Sensa Act I
Sensa Act II
Sensa Act III

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