Allen Forte is a music theorist and musicologist. He was born in Portland, Oregon. He is now Battell Professor of Music, Emeritus at Yale University. Forte is arguably best known for his book The Structure of Atonal Music, in which he extrapolates from the serial theory of Milton Babbitt, proposing a musical "set theory" of pitch-class-set analysis analogous to mathematical set theory with the avowed intention of providing a method for the analysis of non-serial atonal music. The musicologist Richard Taruskin and the composer and music theorist George Perle are among the most vocal critics of this method. Forte was also the editor of the Journal of Music Theory during an important period in its development, from volume 4/2 through 11/1. His involvement with the journal, including many biographical details, is addressed in David Carson Berry, "Journal of Music Theory under Allen Forte's Editorship," Journal of Music Theory 50/1: 7-23.
Forte has published analyses of the works of Webern and Alban Berg and has written about Schenkerian analysis and American popular song. A complete, annotated bibliography of Forte's publications appeared in David Carson Berry, "The Twin Legacies of a Scholar-Teacher: The Publications and Dissertation Advisees of Allen Forte," Gamut 2/1, 197-222, accessible at. Excluding items only edited by Forte, it lists ten books, sixty-three articles, and thirty-six other types publications, from 1955 through early 2009. The article also provides a list of all seventy-two of Forte's Ph.D. advisees at Yale University. The list is ordered chronologically by dissertation submission, and each advisee is given an "FA" number to denote his or her ordering among the advisees.