University of Chicago Library

Preliminary Description for the Easley Blackwood Papers 1762-2017

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Descriptive Summary


Blackwood, Easley. Papers



Accession Number:

2013-574; 2018-201; 2019-157


148.25 linear feet (105 boxes)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Easley Blackwood (born 1933) professor of music, pianist, and composer. Papers include manuscripts, scores, correspondence, and notes.

Information on Use


This collection is open for research, but access is restricted to portions containing administrative, financial and student evaluative records. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Blackwood, Easley. Papers, Box #, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Scope Note

Easley Blackwood is an American professor of music, a concert pianist, a composer of music, some using unusual tunings, and the author of books on music theory, including his research into the properties of microtonal tunings and traditional harmony. Blackwood was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1933. After studies at many places (including Yale University, where he earned his Master of Arts degree) in the United States, he went to Paris to study from 1954 to 1956. For forty years, from 1958 to 1997, Blackwood taught at the University of Chicago, most of the time with the title of Professor. He then became Professor Emeritus at the University. Early music by Blackwood has been characterized as in an atonal yet a formally conservative style. In 1980-81 Blackwood shifted rather abruptly to a new style, releasing Twelve Microtonal Etudes for Electronic Music Media. For these pieces, he used microtonality to create unusual equal tempered musical scales. As a performer at the piano, Blackwood has played diverse compositions and has promoted the music of Charles Ives, Pierre Boulez, and the Second Viennese School. In addition to his solo piano performances, Blackwood is pianist in the chamber group Chicago Pro Musica, largely comprising members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Blackwood has written a very substantial treatise on music harmony, A Practical Musician's Guide to Tonal Harmony. Blackwood is also known for his book, The Structure of Recognizable Diatonic Tunings, published 1986.

This collection has not been organized. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information about this collection.

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This collection has not been organized by the Special Collections Research Center and is in the order in which it was received. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information about this collection. (https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/scrc/visiting/contact/)