The Rhythms of Tonal Music

The Rhythms of Tonal Music

The Rhythms of Tonal Music

The Rhythms of Tonal Music

Excerpt

Our generation is witness to a profusion of books, articles, and dissertations on rhythm. As the author of each study has built upon the research of earlier writings, an increasingly sophisticated awareness of many aspects of rhythm has arisen. Many of these studies focus primarily on one or two aspects of rhythm: grouping, accent, hypermeter, rhythms of textural components, rhythm and linear analysis, phrase rhythm, continuity, musical form, rhythm and performance, and so forth. I believe that what is needed at this time is a more comprehensive work, one that reviews the available literature and that can bring to the individual facets of rhythm the benefits of a larger perspective.

The present book attempts such a comprehensive study. But it is by no means only a survey of existing literature. A new approach to the treatment of accent (presented in chapter 2) directly affects the understanding of meter and, by extension, provides a new way of approaching the issues of hypermeter, phrase rhythm, rhythm and style, and rhythm and texture; it also plays a major role in the evaluation of recent studies that relate rhythm to linear analysis. The discussion of rhythm and form is also without precedent in the literature on rhythm.

It is my hope that by surveying our present knowledge, by building on the already considerable knowledge shared by the various existing studies, and by raising more issues than can possibly be answered, The Rhythms of Tonal Music will demonstrate and enhance the considerable current state of our knowledge of the working of musical rhythm and will act as a spur to further research.

This study limits itself to rhythm in tonal music for several reasons. Pitch structuring is an important aspect of rhythm in any music. Only in tonal music is there a basic pitch syntax common to all compositions. And despite doctrinal differences, only in the realm . . .

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