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LIBRARY OF CONGHESS CATALOGUE CARD NUMBER:

64-15438

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED COPYRIGHT ©

1961
BY

BY PAUL CRESTON COPYRIGHT ©

1964

FRANCO COLOMBO, INC.

16

WEST

61

STREET N. Y.

NEW YORK

23,

MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED S'l'ATES OF AMERICA

ERRATA

Page 3, Page 33,

line lines

8: "e vg • a

into

n, n "
line above it.

4 and 5: "Example 29 should the

read "Example 31".J c·

Page 83: Example 87 precedes Page 91, "page last 69". paragraph, line

3: "Page 000" should read

Page 160: Under "Types Subdivision "Regular

of Trirhythmic (2)"

Po1ymeters" II

----

"Regular

Overlapping Subdivision first

in category (1)"

should follow?" 1. Scriabine: of

Overlapping

in category

Page 182, below Copyright

page of music of Sonata No.1 M.P. Be1aieff. sole agents. Used by permission

by Editions

Boosey and Hawkes,

Inc.,

Contents

INTRODUCTION THE ELEMENTS OF RHYTHM

Meter-Metrical

Notation-Pace-Accent-Pattern

PHE-CLASSIC DANCE RHYTHMS

45

Bourree-Courante-Galliard-Gavotte-GiguePavane-Sarabande
RHYTHMIC STRUCTUHES FIRST STRUCTURE: REGULAR SUBDIVISION SECOND STRUCTURE: IRREGULAR SUBDIVISION THIHD STRUCTURE: OVERLAPPING FOURTH STRUCTURE: REGULAR SUBDIVISION OVERLAPPING FIFTH STRUCTURE: IHREGULAR SUBDIVISION OVEHLAPPING POLYMETEHS AND POLYRHYTHMS MISCELLANEOUS DEVICES ~.

53 76
96

111 129 142


161 Patterns

Compositional

Rubato-Syncopation-Basic
SUMMARY

RHYTHMIC STRUCTURE AS A WHOLE: ApPENDIX I

172 195
Modes-

Principal Ancient Greek Meters-Rhythmic Mediaeval Meters-16th Century Meters


ApPENDIX

II
Solutions of Exercises

198 215

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ii

This book is dedicated to my wife, whose dances inspired my very first compositions and served to introduce me to the magical realm of rhythm. My deepest thanks are due Mr. Ralph Saiz for his invaluable criticism and suggestions.

"'···ltt~~4!?'~li.I·~.iiiiiil ••••••••••••••

...

'I. \

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iii

Introduction
IN TECHNICAL ANALYSES OF MUSICAL MASTERPIECES, THEORISTS

have been preoccupied mainly with thematic material, harmonic logic and formal structure. With rhythm they have been relatively unconcerned. In every school of music, a course in composition includes harmony, counterpoint, fonn and, sometimes, melody. Rhythm is an unknown quantity. Even those outstanding composers who have directed their efforts toward revealing the secrets of their art have treated the subject either as an unwanted step-child or as a pale shadow of poetic meter. Paul Hindemith's apology for the omission of rhythmic study betrays an all-too-prevalent intellectual lethargy in the matter; he writes: "... all questions of rhythm, as well as of the formal characteristics of composition which spring from it, are still so largely unexplained that it seems impossible at the present time to include rhythm as an integral part of a system of teaching the craft of composition.'? And Walter Piston's curt dismissal is no less discouraging: "It is assumed that the conceptions meter and rhythm are understood. Meter is simply measure. Meter has no rhythm/" Yet, as Karl Eschmann notes: "The literature on Rhythm is voluminous.?" What has been lacking is the special effort in coordinating the materials, resolving the confusion existent in this literature, and presenting the results in a thoroughly practical organization in order to assist the student of composition in mastering the element of rhythm. Even a work as erudite and authoritative as Curt Sachs'," which is advisedly subtitled "A Study in Music History," does not fulfill the student's need for basic principles and practical guidance. It must be admitted, there is confusion; and a sampling of the usual definitions of the term reveals distorted logic, vague fantasy or downright ignorance. Let us glance at some of these
1. 2. 3. 4. Craft of Musical Composition, Vol.!. Harmony. Changing Forms in Modern Music. Rhythm and Tempo.

iv

morsels of wisdom. 1. "Rhythm is that property or quality by which the cadences of every kind of movement are regulated and determined." (Dr. Busby (1755-1838), Dictionary) 2. "A particular arrangement of the alternately strong and weak sounds of a musical progression whereby, at regular or irregular intervals-that is, at every two, three, four or more bars-one sound of the progression (which the preceding sounds cause the ear to desire) conveys to the aural sense a feeling of rest, and the effect of a stop or close more or less complete." (Matthis Lussy, Musical Expressioii) 3. "We shall call the constant measure by which the measurement of time is made-METRE; the kind of motion in that measure-RHYTHM." (Moritz Hauptmann, The Nature of
Harmony and Metre)

4. «Rhythm ... is time, pace, metre and other things rolled into one, and it is not surprising that it has been used to name each of them singly." (Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians)

5. "Rhythm refers to the beat of the music-the time element." (Sidney A. Reeve, The Rational Theory of Music) 6. "Rhythm is engendered by the motion of the musical picture, and manifests itself in the association of differing timevalues." (Percy Goetschius, Materials of Composition) 7. "The disposition of Melody or Harmony, in respect of Time or Measure is termed Rhythm." (John Wall Callcott,
A Musical Gmmmar)

8. "Rhythm is Order and Proportion in Space and Time." (Vincent d'Indy, Course in Composition) 9. "Musical rhythm ... bases itself upon the regular heartbeat of a uniform time-unit, and derives its satisfactions from the many and subtle combinations of pulse-groupings that can be developed upon this, and from the increasingly varied means for their expression." (Geo. Coleman Gow, "Rhythm: the Life of Music," Musical Quarterly, October, 1915) 10. "The term Rhythm is constantly erroneously applied. It has only one true meaning in music-the number of bars in a phrase." (G. Egerton Lowe, "What is Rhythm?", Musical Times, July, 1942)

\ %"t~Ii,'

iiiii

J...

This last pronouncement is probably the masterpiece of intellectual egotism, especially in the light of Curt Sachs' more humble approach: "What is rhythm? The answer, I am afraid, is, so far, just-a word: a word without a generally accepted meaning." However, to separate the chaff from the wheat, several definitions which seem to pierce the veil of mystery should also be noted: 1. "Rhythm is ordered movement." (Plato) 2. "Rhythm is an ensemble of accents disposed according to a certain order." (Aristides Quintillianus [c. 100 A.D.] ) 3. "Rhythm is the art of well-ordered movements." (St. Augustine) 4. "Musical rhythm is the organization of sonorous movement." (Ph. Biton, Le rythme musical) 5. "The nature of rhythm may be defined as the periodic quality, regular or irregular, of all movement." (Margaret H. Glyn, Theory of Musical Evolution) 6. "Rhythm, in music, is the organization of duration." (Maurice Emmanuel, Le rythme d'Euripide a Debussy) Perhaps an account of the author's rhythmic experience will best clarify the reason for presenting this book as an answer to the confusion and neglect in the study of rhythm. When I began teaching composition, I assumed that rhythm was naturally one of the elements of composition and therefore included it in my course. I had noticed that, intuitively, I followed certain principles and I formulated these principles in such manner as would best aid the student in practising them himself. But I asked myself: "Are these principles applicable to my music only or are they present in the music of other composers?" An examination, from the purely rhythmic aspect, of a great deal of music from the 17th to the 20th centuries revealed that they were not original with me, but rather had always existed, although no article or book had presented them in quite the same form. After many years of teaching the subject, I was convinced that there was need for a textbook such as mine. This called for much further research, this time on the literature dealing with the subject, as well as the culling of specific examples. The "voluminous" literature of which Eschmann writes is, with insignificant exceptions, of the theoretic type and of little practical value to students of composition.

vi

It is my hope that this book will prove genuinely valuable to composition students. But in order to prepare them as to what to expect, I shall outline the purpose and scope of the book: 1. It is primarily for students of composition. No attention, therefore, is given to "performing" rhythm, although the performer will derive some benefit from a knowledge of the principles formulated. 2. Its purpose is practical not theoretic. For this reason, and in order to avoid elaborate discussions of certain points, it is necessary, at times, to be doctrinal in the expression of an idea. 3. It deals with mensurable rhythm in the music of Westem civilization from the 17th century to the present day. Hence, there are no discussions of Arabian, East Indian or African rhythms, and references to mechanical, physiological or cosmic rhythms are virtually non-existent. (The time spent on determining whether a sleeping person breathes in 2/4 or 3/4 can be more profitably utilized with problems of musical rhythms.) The limitation of "mensurable" rhythm also explains the omission of Gregorian rhythm and the practices of such modern rhythmists as Olivier Messiaen. 4. It is by no means an exhaustive study. Rather, I consider it more an introduction to the study of rhythm. On the other hand, it is not a mere codification of past practices, but includes contemporary devices and offers clues to future ramifications of the principles evolved. 5. Two extremes have been avoided: (a) presenting all material ready-made and in "pre-digested" form; and (b) leaving the student entirely to his own devices. Guidance and discipline are necessary-but so is personal experimentation. 6. Although solutions to certain exercises are given in Appendix II, the instructor should devise additional exercises similar in principle to those given.

1
CHAPTER ONE

The Elements of Rhythm


IF WE COMBINE
1

MAURICE

EMMANUEL'S

DEFINITION

OF MUSICAL

rhythm with that of Plato's for rhythm in general,2 we have one which will prove a practical guide in our study. This resultant definition is: "Rhythm, in music, is the organization of duration in ordered movement." The value of this definition is its comprehensiveness, being applicable to one measure of music as well as to a phrase or an entire composition. Attention must be brought to the word "organization," for, as Max Schoen states:" "There can be no rhythm in a simple duration. The duration must be broken up into units, whether of equal or unequal periods, to give rise to rhythm." In a Single measure the pulses (commonly called "beats") are the units of duration; in a phrase, the measures themselves become the units; while in an entire composition we think of durational units in terms of formal sections or segments of time in minutes. There are four elements comprised in a rhythm and which determine a primary "organization of duration in ordered movement," namely: METEH, PACE, ACCENT and PATTEHN.4 A change of even one of these elements results in an alteration of rhythm. For example, if the meter of the following rhythm

1. "Le rythme est, en musique, l'organisation de la duree." (Rhythm, in music, is the organization of duration.) Le rythme d'Eurlpide Ii Debussy. 2. "Rhythm is ordered movement." 3. The Psychology of Music. 4. "Meter" is commonly termed "time" (3/4 time, 6/8 time, etc.) and "pace" is traditionally called "tempo" (slow tempo, moderate tempo, etc.): Both traditional terms, "time" and "tempo" are indefinite and inaccurate, and in this book arc replaced by "meter" and "pace," respectively. By "I?attern" is meant any subdivision of a pulse or beat into smaller units, e.g. a J into;

n,

J"1,

rn,

.F113,

etc.

EXAMPLE

is changed to
EXAMPLE

oft) UJ DIJ
>>

>-

pJ FI
>

we have a change of rhythm. If instead of moderato we change the pace to allegro, or shift the accents to the so-called weak pulses, or alter the pattern to one of sixteenth notes, we also have a change of rhythm. This fact is further demonstrable by a comparison of the waltz, the sarabande, the mazurka and the polonaise. All four rhythms are in 3/4 meter. However, the rhythms vary in pace, accent or pattern, as the following table shows:
EXAMPLE

Waltz

,: i(£;1 r I(£ft r II 4 J
':1 ,..
Polonaise

Sarabande

IJ

J II'?
~

Mazurka

>-

~= >IF F

rn

OJ OJ OJ

I ,.. J rn

OJ OJ

3I

Therefore, to refer to a rhythm as 3/4 or 2/4 rhythm, or as fast or slow, would be an incomplete description. The four elements are the irreducible minimum in the classification of any rhythm. There are other factors involved which arise from the manipulation of these elements, particularly of meter, accent and pattern, and these factors will be dealt with in their proper place. It is seen, then, that "rhythm" and "meter" are not synonymous. Meter is only one element in the organization of duration, while rhythm is all-inclusive. This conception will become clearer as we deal with the various elements of rhythm and rhythmic structures (Chapter III through VII).

METER
Meter is the grouping of pulses within a single measure or a frame of two or more measures. "Meter" is commonly termed "time" (3/4 time, 6/8 time, etc.) and "pace" is traditionally called "tempo" (slow tempo, moderate tempo, etc.). Both traditional terms, "time" and "tempo" are indefinite and inaccurate, and in this book are replaced by "meter" and "pace," respectively. By "pattern" is meant any subdivisionof a pulse or beat into smaller units, e.g. a J into J. "J. "Pulse" (or "metrical pulse") is the term used in this study to designate what is commonly called "beat" (or "metrical beat"). For example, 3/4 meter consists of three pulses to a measure, each of quarter-note value; 6/8 meter consists of two pulses to a measure, each of dotted quarter-note value. The term "beat" is reserved for the actuall'hythmic beat which may or may not coincide with the metrical pulse. In the following rhythm:

n)

EXAMPLE

the metrical pulse and the rhythmic beat are one and the same. But in Example 5, the pulse is again of quarter-note value, but the actual rhythmic beat is of dotted quarter-note value.
EXAMPLE

This latter rhythm brings up another element of meter, the may not coincide with the pulse or with the beat. In Example 4, pulse, beat and unit are of equal value or coincide; while in Example 5 the common unit for pulse and beat (which in this case do not coincide) is the eighth note, so that the rhythm might be diagrammed as follows:

unit, which also mayor

EXAMPLE

A well-known application of this rhythm is Chopin's "Waltz in A fiat, Op. 42."


EXAMPLE

In other words, meter is comprised of three elements: pulses, beats and units. These three elements may all be equal to one another (coincide or be synchronous) as in Example 4; or the beat may be larger than the pulse, as in Example 5; or smaller than the pulse, as will be shown in the section dealing with irregular subdivision. To the author's knowledge, this distinction between pulse and beat has not been made by other writers on rhythm, perhaps because most music is metrically based on coincidental pulses and beats. However, after studying the rhythmic structures discussed in later chapters, the reader will realize the importance of this distinction in classifying certain rhythms. For reasons of convenience or practicality, the grouping of pulses is sometimes not contained in a single measure, but in a frame of two or more measures. The Mendelssohn "Scherzo" (Example 8a), written in 3/8, would imply three pulses to a measure. However, the pace is too fast to beat in 3 and the piece is actually conducted 1 beat to the measure. A whole measure, therefore, becomes the value of one pulse, and the metrical structure is, in this particular case, a frame of two measures or a dimeter. The Ravel example (8b) is also a dimeter.
EXAMPLE

a. Scherzo from "A Mids-ummer Night's Dream - Mendelssohn

-Win'

irk 'fit ,f rrOr ,_


L

Copyright 1920, Permission owner; Elkan·Vagel Co" Inc"

for reprint granted by Durand Philadelphia. Pa. agents.

&

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'

Paris

France

<,

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I I

When Beethoven writes in the Scherzo of his 9th Symphony:


EXAMPLE

9
Ritmo di tre battute

the metrical pulse is not the quarter-note but the dotted halfnote, and the rhythm could just as well be written in 9/4. The change, later in the movement, to "Ritmo di quattro battute" may have dictated the use of 3/4 throughout, besides the custom of 3/4 meter for the third movement of the traditional symphony. This, as well as the following example, implies a frame of three measures for the grouping of pulses, and is consequently a trimeter.
EXAMPLE

10 sorcier - Dukas
Rythme ternaire

L'Apprenti

Copyright 1908. Permission owner; Elkan-Vogel Co., Inc.,

for reprint granted hy Durand Philadelphia, Pa., agents.

&

Cie,

Paris.

France, copyright

This conception of pulse-grouping makes possible a classification of meters in terms of the number of measures comprising the meter, as follows: MONOMETER meter of one measure DIMETER meter of two measures TRIMETER meter of three measures TETRAMETER meter of four measures PENTAMETER meter of five measures HEXAMETER meter of six measures, etc. Most meters, of course, are monometers, but many examples of dimeters, trimeters, etc. will be found in the chapters on Regular Subdivision Overlapping and Irregular Subdivision Overlapping. A rhythm which changes meter every measure or every few measures is a multimeter, and one which employs two or more meters simultaneously is a polymeter.

6
EXAMPLE

11

MUL TIMETERS u, Chanson Albanaise from "Balkan Songs and Dances" - Slavenski

::-~ JI-ffit:=:tsJftEd2J Qt;J QJ I-I J. I

r;;I

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Ji

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of Milana

Slavcnskl,

h. Bagatelle, Op. 6 No. 10 - Bartok

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G
Used by permission of the original publisher, Editio Musica,

3/2

1/2

2/2

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Budapest.

POLYMETERS c. Balletto - C. E, Vitali

Italy,

New copyright

From "Suono

IU50 by Edizioni

e Ritmo"

of Emilia Gubitosi. Curci, Milano.

Copyright IU32 by Edizioni Used by courtesy of Edizioni

Curci, Curci,

Milano, Milano.

d, Minuet from Don Giovanni - Mozart DON GIOVANNI Vie - ni con

_--.....
me __
MASETTO L ..-scia -m i I

.f!

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mia vi-t .. 1
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7
e. Final movement
II

of Symphony

No.2 - Creston

11-9"
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1951. Used by permission

Multimeters and polymeters are more prevalent in preclassic and twentieth century music than in music of other periods. In fact, the chapter on Overlapping will reveal that multimetric rhythm was almost common practice with 16th century composers, usually concealed behind a single metric notation. When a multimeter follows a regular pattern of change, it is termed a metrical sequence. Brahms' Variations on a Hungarian Song, Op. 21 No.2, follows a metrical sequence of 3/4:4/4; Scriabine's Prelude, Op, 11 No. 16 is in 5/8:4/8; the author's String Quartet has in the first movement a sequence of 4/4:3/4:2/4 and in the third movement 15/8:21/8; and in his Seven Theses, the following metrical sequences are

8 employed:

No. 1-4/4:5/4:6/4:5/4 No. 5-4/8:3/8:2/8:3/8


12

No. 3-2/4:3/4:5/4 No. 6-2/8:5/8:3/8:4/8

EXAMPLE

METRICAL SEQUENCES a. Variations on a Hungarian Song, Op, 21 No.2 - Brahms

b. Prelude, Op. 11 No. 16 - Scriabine

'1'j\Mi~
Copyright sole agents.

WI['r Fa Ita
8 M. P. Belaieff. Used

u,drdiUu if!
8 by permission of Booscy & Hawkes. Inc.,

by Editions

c. String Quartet, Op. 8 - Creston

Used by courtesy of the publisher, Penna.

Templeton

Publishing

Co., Inc.,

Delaware

Wat er Gap,

It must be noted that one important distinction between metrical and free rhythm is that the pulses in the former are always of equal value. In Gregorian Chant, as an example of free rhythm, the pulsation is equal to two or three eighth notes, shifting from one to the other. So long as the metrical pulse is constant, a composition's rhythm is metrical even though there may be changes of meter. As will be shown in a later chapter, these changes of meter are often unnecessary in notation. The matter of strong and weak pulses in a measure (termed respectively "primary pulse" and "secondary pulse") is one which has existed more in theory than in practice. Theoretically, the first pulse of each measure is strong and the other (or others) weak. While this is true in some music, such as church hymns, dances and marches, the greater tendency has been to conceal, disguise, obscure or even ignore the prominence of primary pulses. Even in some dance rhythms, for

example, such as the sarabande and the mazurka (Example 3) the strong pulse is shifted away from the first of the measure. Strong and weak pulses are plainly distinguishable, and naturally so, in Schubert's "Marche Militaire":
EXAMPLE

13

Marche Militaire, Op, 15 No.1 - Schubert

but only the most insensitive musician would make a strong first pulse in the second measure (at ") of Schumann's "Traumerei" :
EXAMPLE

14

Triiumerei from "Scenes from Childhood," Op, 15 - Schumann

~&"j4T iO J 3

___.

iU eW *

Mozart and Beethoven did not hesitate to place strong accents on traditionally weak pulses of a measure.
EXAMPLE

15 of Violin Sonata in Bb (K. 454) - Mozart

a. Final Movement

J
b. Piano Sonata No.5 in Cm, Op, 10 No.1 - Beethoven

It was the pedantic insistence on the relative strength of pulses in a meter which gave rise to the "tyranny of the barline," producing a mass of purely metrical rather than rhuthmic music. The transference of poetic meters to music perhaps contributed to this misconception; But the element of pattern in musical rhythm, making possible many and varied subdivisions of a pulse or a beat (non-existent in poetry), is an important

10

distinction, and should restrain us from pressing too far the analogy of poetic to musical meter. The fallacy of strong primary pulses also led a number of pedants to decry the masters' misba1'ring of their music, accusing them of beginning a phrase on the first pulse of a measure when it was obviously an upbeat phrase. But the masters intuitively felt meter as a grouping of pulses, and allowed strong pulses to occur wherever the musical idea demanded. Nevertheless, primary and secondary pulses do exist in rhythm if not always in meter, and understanding their traditional conception metrically will clarify their use rhythmically. Moreover, the proper notation of certain rhythms is dependent on this conception of relative pulse strength. For these reasons, the table of music meters will include indications of primary, secondary and, when present, tertiary pulses. Thus far we have viewed, in the main, the organization of duration within one measure and in terms of pulse-groups. When we consider rhythm beyond the measure, i.e. the rhythm of the phrase, another factor enters our plan, one which plays an important role in characterizing a rhythm. This factor is concerned, on the one hand, with the type of initial "ictus" or impulse employed in generating the phrase rhythm and, on the other hand, with the final "ictus" resolving that rhythm. These types of ictus are called "species of rhythm," and are, consequently, in two groups: A. Initial Species 1) STRONG-PULSE"-first sound on a primary pulse. 2) WEAK-PuLsE-first ound before a primary pulse. s 3) SILENT-PULsE-silent primary pulse. B. Terminal Species 1) STRONG-PULsE-final sound on a primary pulse. 2) WEAK-PuLsE-final sound on a secondary pulse. 3) DOVETAIL-final sound becomes initial sound of succeeding phrase.
5', In conformity with foregoing explanations, the word "pulse" has been substItuted for what most writers call "beat." The latter would he satisfactorv were \~e dealing exclusively with purely metrical music (as distinct frori] r~yt.hm~c) where pulse and beat always coincide. But, as already stated, some d1stJn~tlO~mu~t be made for music in which the accented rhythmic beat does not ~om.c1cle with the underlying pulsation, which, furthermore, accounts for the Iascinatinn and effectiveness of certain rhythms.

11 Following rhythm:
EXAMPLE

arc musical

examples illustrating

the six species of

16 (Initial):

STRONG-PULSE

a. SOllata, Longo 47.5 - Scarlatti

b. Orgall Prelude

lind Fugue' ill C lIIilwr -

J.

S. Bach

WEAK-PULSE c.
ROlll(l1Ize

(Initial): No.4 - Schumann

from Symphony

d. Allf Fliigeilldes

Gesllnges,

~ ,I'I,~ A
SILENT-PULSE e. 1st Movement (Initial):

11 r

Op. 34 No.2 - Mcnclcl.isohn

r: r J

I F" J.

of SymphollY

No.6

- Beethoven

"i!
f. Prelude from English

tJ]1@J?
Suite No.2 -

18 ~

J.

S. Bach

STHONG-l'ULSE

(Terminal):

g. Prclutlc No. 17, Book lJ, Well- Telllj){!red Clauler - J. S. Bach

WEAK-PULSE h. Fugue No.1,

(Terminal): Book 11, Well-Tempered Clavier -

J.

S. Bach

12
i. Ist Movement of Symphony No.8

- Beethoven
Strong' Pulae

='il F"@1.l lPI8ffRifOlpjiPlifr leu; 1;)3


DOVETAIL: j. Fugue No.7, Book II, Well-Tempered Clavier -

Weak PuiM

J. S. Bach
>-

,2M'!."

Ir t

---:;;:-..... rn r FI ..fr cf r fir If'-=-!Jr crr r I r rI


>--:-..

k. Nocturne, Op. 15 No.1 - Chopin

---------------,

To complete the analysis of these species, we must note that of the examples of initial species: the Schumann and Beethoven examples are STRONG-PULSE in terminal species, and the Scarlatti is WEAK-PULSE; and of the terminal species examples (g), (j) and (k) are STRONG-PULSE (initial) as both phrases of (i) are, and (h) is SILENT-PULSE (initial). It must be understood that the term "primary pulse" is used in a larger sense than heretofore; to designate a strong pulse whether it is the first of a measure or not and "secondary pulse" is used to designate a weak pulse, wherever it may occur. In the foregoing examples, the pulse strength is of the traditional type. But there are many themes which are definitely WEAK-PULSE even though they begin on the first pulse of the measure, like the following:
EXAMPLE

17

WEAK-PULSE: a. Prelude No. 13, Book 11, Well-Tempered

4 -lIn_,,"! .c;m g. WIEU1- 9' I


¥

Clavier -

J. S. Bach

b. Novelletten, Op. 21 No.1 - Schumann

7p'~~'ml
a

13 And there are those which are STRONG-PULSE they begin on a traditionally WEAK-PULSE.
EXAMPLE

even though

18

Strong-Pulse a. Nocturne, Op. 37 No.1 - Chopin


~ &" (l

tlr E! @ fJ ~
~2'S

b. Nocturne, Op. 55 No.1 - Chopin

~ &h"b"

~Tr F r F I rnt£1

The same applies to the terminal species, as in the phrase ending of Example 18b, which is STRONG-PULSE though on a traditionally secondary pulse," Albert Schweitzer wisely warns, regarding the interpretation of Bach's music, that "... to play Bach rhythmically means accenting not the downbeat but the emphatic beat." (Author's italics)
QUESTIONS
1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7.

AND

EXERCISES

5.

8.
9.

10.

What is rhythm in music? Name the four elements of rhythm. Define meter. Name the elements of meter. What is a monometer? a pentameter? a trimeter? a dimeter? Define multimeter and polymeter. What distinguishes metrical rhythm from free rhythm? Define "primary pulse" and "secondary pulse." Where does a primary pulse traditionally occur in a measure? Write several melodic examples, each of two measures' length, illustrating each of the following initial species of rhythm: a) STRONG-PULSE. b) WEAK-PULSE. c) SILENT-PULSE. (It is understood that, for the present, only monometers are to be used. ) Write several melodic examples, each of two measures' length, illustrating each of the following terminal species of rhythm: a) STRONG-PULSE. b) WEAK-PULSE. c) DOVETAIL.

6. STRONG-PULSE has been termed "thesis" (by the Greeks), "arsis" (by the Romans), "masculine" or "downbeat" (by later writers). WEAK-PULSE has been termed "ursis" (by the Greeks), "thesis" (by the Romans), "feminine," "up-beat" or "anacrusis" (by later writers). The common, simple terms employed in this book are devised in the hope of avoiding confusion.

14 METRICAL NOTATION

Before studying the table of music meters, the student is advised to examine the various tables of ancient meters found in Appendix 1. He will realize that some composers still cling to the signs C for 4/4 and ¢ for 2/2, which are relics of ancient notation. Even with the exclusive use of fractions" to designate meter, our present system of rhythmic notation is not quite consistent, for, whereas in binary meters (2/4, 4/4) the denominator represents the value of the pulse, in ternary meters (6/8, 9/8) it represents the value of the primary unit. 8 Dalcroze'' sought to overcome this dual system by substituting a note for the denominator, thus: 4/ equals 4/4, 2/ equals 6/8, etc., while Villa-Lobos, Honegger, and others merely write the numerator, from which the musician assumes it represents the number of pulses in a measure, usually of quarter-note value. Another inconsistency, as pointed out by Henry Cowell.'? is the various interpretations of the same note in terms of duration. For example, the notes in Example 19 are all referred to as quarter-notes.

r'

EXAMPLE

19

IF

b~

II

rr

F Ii

rrrr

In reality, those in 19 (b) are sixth notes and those in 19 (c) are 3/16 notes. This conclusion is quite logically arrived at by basing our calculations on the whole note as equal to

7'. It is understood that "time-signatures" are not literally "fractions." This term IS merely a convenience in referring to them. 8. A binary meter is one whose primary units (the division into the next sm~tller unit) of each pulse are two. A ternary meter is one whose primary units are three. For example, 2(4 is binary, because the primary units of each pU,lse (qua~ter-note) are two eighth notes; while 6/8 is ternary, because the p,J'Jmary um~s of each l?~lse (in this case:, ~he d~tted quarter-note) are three eighth notes, _The tr~ditlOnal terms are SImple (binary) and "compound" ( ternary), whloh are inaccurate and misleading, There is nothing simple about ~ 7(4, meter (binnry}, nor anything compound about a 6(8 (ternary ) which IS a SImple group of two pulses in a measure, 9, Rhythm, Music and Education. 10. New Musical Resources,

15
four quarter-notes or eight eighth notes, etc.; or as expressed by sixteenth century writers, "the semibreve (whole note) is the mother of the other notes." Consequently, the whole note would logically be equal to three third notes, six sixth notes, ten tenth notes, and so on. However, Mr. Cowell's solution of reverting to differently shaped notes to represent third notes, sixth notes, etc., is neither practical nor necessary. This same system of variously shaped notes is recommended by Sidney A. Reeve" to represent sharps and flats. It was just the idea of practicality in writing which abolished square-shaped and diamond-shaped notes. As Sylvia Townsend Warner'? expresses it so well: "No invented notation is likely to supplant a notation which has been evolved." It is not surprising that examples of ambiguous metric notation will be found even in the works of the masters. Schumann's "Des Abends" and Chopin's Prelude in C are written in 2/8 when they should be in 6/16; Ravel's "Chanson Romantique" is written as a metrical sequence of 6/8:3/4, with no indication of the relative value of pulses or units (whether Ji equals ) or J equals J. preceding), instead of 6/8 alone, and the same situation occurs in Tach's piano piece Op. 32 No.1; Beethoven writes, in Variation 2 of Opus Ill, 6/16 instead at maintaining the 9116; Brahms' Sonata, Op, 1, second movement, presents several measures in 3116 which are really in 6/32, and his Sonata, Op. 2, first movement, has forty measures in 3/4 when mere convenience, if nothing else, should have dictated 9/8.
EXAMPLE

20 Op. 12 - Schumauu

a. Des AlJends [roni Fantasiestiicke,

11. The Rational Theory of Music. 12. In Grove's Dictionary.

16
b. Prelude, Op. 28 - Chopin

c. Chanson Romantique from "Don Quichotte rl Dulcinee - Ravel

Copyright 1934; Permission for reprint granted by Durand owner; Elkan- Vogel Co., Inc., Philadelphia, Pa., agents.

&

Cie, Paris,

France,

copyright

d. 3 Klaoiereulck»,

Op. 32 No. I - Tach

, eJtJ
Copyright

=2/4

=6/8

I b;

fIg, t#rtp bf I.e


1952, by B. Schott's Soehne.

1925, renewed

e, Variation 2 from Piano Sonata, Op. III - Beethoven

especially since this i.

f. 2nd Mooement, Piano Sonata, Op, 1 - Brahms :: 6/1)2

~ W-t4h,

17
g. 1st Movement, Piano Sonata, Op, 2 - Brahms

Such cases are not frequent. But their occurrence, even occasionally, in the works of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Wagner, Ravel and composers of similar stature, reveals the long-standing confusion regarding our metric notation. If the present day composer, however, should begin to commiserate himself in this plight, he can easily find consolation in the tribulations of the mediaeval musician and the chaos of that period's notational system. At that time, almost each composer and each copyist had his own theory of notation. Despite dualism, inconsistency and confusion, our present system of rhythmic notation is very practical if we bear in mind the following facts: 1. A meter is a grouping of puisee." The entire history of rhythmic notation up to the innovations of Dalcroze, VillaLobos and others, reinforce this conception of meter as pulsegroups. Psychologists and writers on rhythm have elaborated ad nauseam on the tendency of the mind to group into two's, three's, etc. any series of regular, periodic sounds: footsteps, heartbeats, clock-ticks, etc. and it is only natural that this tendency has been apotheosized in musical meter. 2. This conclusion would make the binary meters sufficient were it not for the musical possibility and practice of subdividing pulses into three (as well as two) units, thereby necessitating the ternary meters. 3. While the two classifications of binary and ternary are dictated by convenience, the large number of meters exists through custom. For example, a 6/8 meter could be written In 2/4, but it would require the numeral "3" over each group of three eighth notes. This inconvenience is quite apparent in the Brahms example of incorrect notation (Example 20g). And were it not for custom or habit, all meters with 2, 16, or 32 as
13. The aspect of meter as duration is discussed on page 34 under Pattern.

18 denominator (4/2, 2/2, 6/16, 6/32) could be dispensed with. Actually there is no difference in sound whether we write 3/2 J 60 or 3/4 J = 60 or 3/8 J! 60. But the musician has always associated whole notes and half notes with breadth, and sixteenth and thirty-second notes with speed. It is this appeal to the visual impression which the composer considers when he writes a majestic piece in 2/2 instead of 2/4. Another consideration in the choice between, say 3/2 and 3/8, is that of the smallest unit employed in a piece. If a piece written in 3/2 were to have 16th notes, they would have to be written in 3/8 as 64th notes, .H"3"'3 which would be rather cumbersome. 4. Three signs are of great assistance in obtaining almost any fraction or multiple of a pulse: the dot, the tie, and the group numeral." Whenever convenient, the dot or tie or both should be employed in preference to the numeral. For example:

m:J M '

Hf.l '

EXAMPLE

21
Instead of

write

n C2ru· I

E1 EF III ULI=u'

write.

instead of

Ir

r t44J

In slow-paced rhythms it is advisable for practical reasons to employ a notation which clearly reveals where each pulse occurs. Example 22 (b) and (d) would be practical at a very fast pace but quite difficult at a slow pace. The versions at (a) and (c) which show the exact position of eaeh pulse (0) make them simple of execution.
EXAMPLE
(in

write slow pace)

22

n.

jr'~rl o

r:91 'aI
0

instead of

b.

IrrrlllOOfrl
0

1"2'

c.

r:9' Ia1
0 0

Instead of

d.

Ivrrl

Note in the following table of meters that the meters are divided into two classifications: Binary and Ternary, and that each classification has a sub-classification dependent on the num bel' of pulses in a measure: Duple (two pulses), Triple (three pulses), etc. 2/2 or 2/4 or 2/8, therefore, is duple binary meter, while 6/4 or 6/8 or 6/16 is duple ternary meter.
14. The dot as used for additional value, as in a dotted quarter-note. The I~neral as used for a group of notes more or less than the normal number as in 2/4, or ~ in 6/8.' '

""if.!t

19
EXAMPLE

23

MUSIC METERS a. BINARY Duple

rl~ ~0I~~J Ii
~ y y V

Triple

Quadruple

QUintuple
>

~
'-'

'-'

'-'

~
::.'-'

'-'

v
'-'

'-'

:>

'-'

'-'

'-'

or

:>

'-'

'-'

'-'

:. ....... v __

,iiiiiiiiii

UUUUU

b!bf~br~

Septuple

20
b. TERNARY

L~·,r r ~·rrOle~~Ol/h~~l
IT;Pt~r~'r~f:rr
3
1

Duple

~~rT;~
I

Quintuple
:..
or >

V V

WWWWW
Septuple
;:..

V
........ ........

or>.

._.

........

........

WWWWWWW
" Possible Sextuple (slow pace): "'" Possible Sextuple (slow pace):
>

"lUI

err

>

........

rrrr

................

fA F

P~~~p

1M r' C' r' r' L' r


becomes 18/16 remains ternary

,..-V_-v_

Possible Sextuple (slow pace) :

becomes binary

becomes binary

21
EXAMPLE

24 AND RARE METERS

Examples of UNCOMMON

a. Variation 11 from Variations on a Theme of Schumann, Op, 9 - Brahms


't

b. Gigue from Partita No.6 Allegro

J.

F. Bach

~-! t

i' J. 4)
Adagio
II

r' ), f .;40' •r F' stl=l


Clavier -

tta

c. Fugue No.9,

Book II, Well-Tempered alla breve

J.

S. Bach

nH.'~I~ r r I r
: '*/2 _,?: ~,
Q

(= 4/2)

IT

r
f"

FA
J. S. Bach

d. O)'gan Chorale Prelude "Aus tiejer Noth Schrei lch xu Dir" -

IT

It

rr

e. No.6 from Piano Pieces, Op, 37 (Part II) - Hindemith

)l : 132

bi b . e , #t· '. ~. t=t tl [,t Err 11',-[ n£bJ?


Copyright 1927, renewed 1955 by B. Schott's Soehne.

:~~~:~C~!Y2/4

f. No.3 tram Sept pieces breves - Honegger

Copyright all countries.

1921, renewed 1949, by Editions Used by permission.

Max Eschlg , proprietor

of the copyright

for

22
g. No. 12 from Piano Works, Op. 40 - Tach

Copyright

1927, renewed

1955, by B. SChOll'S Soehne.

h. Mikrokosmos No. 113, Vol. 4 - Bartok

Copyright

1940 by Hawkes &: Son (London)

Ltd.

1. Mikrokosmos No. 115, Vol. 4 - Bartok

-"
OJ

--::;:: __,

..lJ
oJ

----

ff"""'

--- - Ltd.

___Clavier -

Copyright

1940 by Hawkes &: Son (London)

--

--

- ---

j. Fugue No. 11, Book II, Well-Tempered

J.

S. Bach

k. 1st Movement of Symphony No.3 - Brahms

1. Organ Chorale Prelude "Dies sind die heil'gen zehn. Gebot" - J. S. Bach

23
m. Prelude to "Parsifal" - Wagner

n. Gigue from Partita No.4 -

J.

S. Bach

o. The Tides of Manaunaun - Cowell

1~'if nfH!nF If HnHp ~h


8"''''''''''''''''''; • 8"''''''''''''''''''''''':

inoorrectly notated as 4/2

Copyright

1922, renewed

1950, by Breitkopf

Publications,

Inc.

P: Prelude No. 13, Book T, Well-Tempered

Clavier -

J.

S. Bach

q. Fttgue No.4, Book II, Well-Tempered

Clavier -

J.

S. Bach

r. Drei Klavierstilcke,

Op, 32 No.2 - Tach

-J. ~, F I FA

15/8

CU c::U fLU• ~r r r
Copyright 1925, renewed

~-" ~}sf: IFA EU C11 OS 1


Soehne.

1952, by B. Schott's

s. String Quartet, Op, 8 - Creston

Used by Gap, Pa,

courtesy

of

the

publisher,

Templeton

Publishing

Co., Inc.,

Delaware

Water

Other unusual meters are noted in the section on Pattern, on page 42. The matter of rests in notation requires some consideration. There is dualism also here in our system, but the following guiding points should help in clarifying correct usage.

24

all meters, whether binary or ternary, the whole rest always signifies silence for the entire measure. It may not be employed to equal a rest of whole note value (in other words, for two silent pulses) in meters with 2 as denominator (3/2, 4/2, 5/2) except in 2/2 where it is equivalent to a whole measure.
In ~
Incorrect Correct ~

1i2EiJ r I ! r F gg

In 5/4, four pulses of silence are designated by two half rests (and not one whole rest) or by quarter- and half-rests.
Incorrect Correct

a
i

F Ir
lt

r IF

5/4 is subdivided into 3 2 or 2 3, never as 4 1. The following examples will be a guide concerning sounds and silences:

Ir

tl

or

Otherwise, the rest signs are equivalent corresponding note values.


Binary meters ~=

in silence to their

F
= j'

~=j m=j'

~=p
~~.

~:U
~:fetc.

eto.

Ternary meters ~

7/4 is treated Similarly as 4

+ 3 or 3 + 4.

The dotted half rest sign of ternary meters must not be used in binary meters.
Incorrect Correct

l¥td

trm

A half rest is used only on primary or secondary (not tertiary) pulses. (Refer to 4/4 in table of meters for explanation.)

25

Incorrect Correct

t r tJ t r I I r 1- V I r

In 3/4 meter a silence of two pulses is noted by two quarter

rests.
Incorrect Correct

1r

I
$

r
r
I

lEr 1

I* t

The same rule applies to 3/2 for half rests and 3/8 for eighth rests.
Incorrect Correct

~§§r~~~IJ~1 ~Hd~~ ~ij~r~~~1 Bg~"~!1d~

In ternary meters a quarter rest may be used in place of two eighths when the rest occurs on a pulse.
Correct Incorrect Corrected

e t p l P I ~ t P ijJj]
~

p t P t HI P t P t P t ~ p"lJp'I'i'IUp""p''iPH I

Ternary meters with 4 or 16 as denominator are treated similarly.

QUESTIONS

AND

EXERCISES

1. Define binary meter and name six binary meters. 2. Define ternary meter and name six ternary meters. 3. Name a) the triple binary meters; b) the triple ternary meters; c) the quadruple binary meters; d) the quintuple ternary meter. 4. Write short, simple melodies (four to eight measures long) in the following meters: 2/4,3/2,4/8, 5/4, 6/8, 9/16, 15/8. 5. Write two accompaniments for piano in each of the meters given below in any type of figuration desired; left hand alone, right

26 hand alone, both hands, melodic line, chords, broken chords, etc. Each example need not be more than one or two measures long, it being assumed that the figuration would continue throughout the section or entire piece: 2/2, 3/8, 4/2, 5/8, 7/8,6/4,9/8,12/16. The following are specimens of what is meant by figuration:
EXAMPLE

25

a. Prelude No. 24 - Chopin

,:~ flIif ~UffJ


h. Prelude No.3 - Chopin

Allegro appassionato

'l'.~jirUgiit

Vivace

c. 2nd Movement of Piano Sonata, Op. 2 No.3 - Beethoven

'-I;t!!:!JJ(~
Adagio
d. 3rd Movement of Piano Sonata, Op. 27 No.2 - Beethoven

Presto agitato

e. Suite for Viola and Piano - Bloch

Copyright

1920. Used by permission

of G. Schirmer,

Inc.

27 6. Do the same in the following meters, utilizing rests as part of the figuration: 3/4,6/8,9/4,3/2,5/4,7/4. Specimens:

i n.h ~~} II ~ J7n ~ifflll

--

PACE
Pace is the rate at which the pulses of a meter occur, noted in music by the metronome indication J = 60, J = 72, etc. It is commonly referred to as "tempo," an unsatisfactory term. "Tempo" in Italian, like "time" in English, has a number of meanings, even in music, such as: duration, pace, meter, etc. There is very little to be said of this element which is not quite obvious, except that it is affected to some degree by meter and pattern. A large meter (4/4, 12/8, 5/4) gives the feeling of slower pace than a small meter (2/4, 6/8), even though the actual rate of pulses is the same. This is due, naturally, to the more widely-spaced primary metrical pulses, as the following experiment with simple counting will demonstrate:
EXAMPLE

26

J J

=96
12 12 34 12 12 3 4 12 12 3 4

4/4

=96
12

2/4

Similarly, a large unit of pattern, or J , gives the feeling of slower pace than a small unit, ), ) or ,even though meter and pace are the same as in Example 27:

EXAMPLE

27

96

2/4 2/4

fffi.J7TI

IJ

IJ
I~

IJ

iffl]

Since this book is concerned only with compositional rhythm, that element of pace known as "rubato" is not discussed. Mention will be made, however, in a later chapter, of "compositional rubato."

28 ACCENT Accent is the very life of rhythm. Without it, meter is a monotonous series of pulse-groups; pace has no real sense of motion; and pattern can become a nebulous elaboration. But we are accustomed to thinking of accent only in terms of dynamics or tone intensity, which is merely the most obvious and perhaps the most elementary type of accent. There are various more subtle ways of rendering prominent a certain tone, and any means which draws attention to, singles out, or gives special significance to a tone, is a form of accent. Accent, therefore, is that element of rhythm which makes prominent or emphasizes a pulse or beat. There are eight types of accent accomplishing this emphasis, which may be employed individually or in combination, namely: 1. Dynamic, 2. Agogic, 3. Metric, 4. Harmonic, 5. Weight, 6. Pitch, 7. Pattern, and 8. Embellished. Of these eight types, the metric accent is often implied or felt rather than heard."

1. The dynamic accent emphasizes a pulse or beat by means of tone intensity, i.e. a tone louder than the others, noted in the usual manner by > or .if . It is a qualitative accent. This is the most common and best understood type of accent, and one that is dependent on the performer rather than being inherent in the musical structure itself.
A ,

EXAMPLE 28

a. Sonata, Longo 375 - Scarlatti

15. A ninth type of accent could be included, tone-color; but it is not discussed here because it rightly belongs in the realm of orchestration. It is that ~ype which might be expressed by a stroke on the triangle or any percussion Instrument. The classification of eight types is not intended as a limitation but rather ~s a starting point. Other types are conceivable and possible. Also; ~e expres~lVe accent is ~ot inclu,ded, be:ause it does not affect the rhythm but IS a function of, express!O~, ThIS last IS usually found in running passages, where one tone IS emphasized by tone intensity within the run for expressive color; or when every note of a melody is accented to signify an intense tone,

29
b. 2nd Movement of Symphony No.1 - Beethoven

2. The agogic accent expresses emphasis by means of duration, i.e., a tone longer than those preceding or following it or both preceding and following it. It is a quantitative accent. It is the most effective of accents in clarifying the rhythm of a melodic line unaided by harmony or accompaniment. In organ music it is constantly in evidence since the dynamic accent is not indigenous to the instrument, at least in the sense of sounding one tone louder than others on the same manual.
EXAMPLE

29

a. Organ Fantasia and Fugue in G minor -

J.

S. Bach

i~\r" r rtfr~(frfr
t

-+-~ ~

--... t

tE-rf)~rrrFrrrr
t

,....

t
I

eif

b. Scherzo from Piano Sonata, Op, 26 - Beethoven

t t t Any means which makes one tone seem longer than its surrounding tones is a form of agogic accent. In this respect, two devices should be noted which give a tone seemingly longer duration: (a) repetition of the accented tone, and (b) a staccato note preceding the accented tone.

,-w~141 j 4' J 41 J 419 J


t

EXAMPLE

a. Organ Fugue in G maier -

*",.
30

J.

S. Bach

J44R

J J J IJ

OJ ]

f'D"J 1 DEi J3Lq


t J.
S. Bach

b. Bourree II from English Suite No.2 -

3. The metric accent is implied in a rhythm which simply

30 sounds the particular metrical grouping of pulses, as in Example 31 (left hand). Sometimes it is aided by tone intensity or by harmonic changes, but it remains fundamentally a metric accent if it agrees with the traditional accentuation of primary pulses in a meter.
EXAMPLE

31 Clavier -

Prelude No.8, Book I, Well-Tempered

J.

S. Bach

4. The harmonic accent emphasizes a pulse or beat by means of a dissonance on that pulse or beat. Like the agogic accent, this type is inherent in the musical structure even though it usually calls for a dynamic accent as well.
EXAMPLE

32

a. 1st Movement of Piano Sonata, Op, 111 - Beethoven

b. Sonata, Longo 429 - Scarlatti

c. Sarabande from English Suite No.2 -

J. S. Bach

31
5. The weight accent expresses emphasis through texture or volume of sound, in terms of amount rather than intensity or loudness. Note that in the following two examples, the thicker texture is sufficient for the purpose of emphasis at the desired points, without assistance from tone intensity.
EXAMPLE

33

a. 1st Movement of Piano Sonata, Op. 31 No.3 - Beethoven

h. Intermezzo,

Op, 116 No.5 - Brahms

6. The pitch accent occurs at the highest or lowest tone of a group. For this accent to be effective, there must be an appreciable distance between highest and lowest tones. Examples (a) and (c) are, therefore, more telling than (b).
EXAMPLE

34

a. Toccata from Organ Toccata and Fugue in G A

J.

S. Bach

32
b. Fugue from Toccata and Fugue in C for Organ -

J.

S. Bach

c. Organ Chorale Prelude in G "Allein Gatt in der Hah' Sci Ehr'"

J.

S. Bach

WlErrrlbttftFrJI_tFr±[
t 1 til

The separation of a bass note from chords in dance accompaniments (waltz, polka, etc.) is also a type of pitch accent. 7. The pattern accent is evident in a repeated figure of characteristic contour. This type is especially useful when a smoothly :flowing rhythm is wanted without the quasi-jerky effect of dynamic accents.
EXAMPLE

35

a. Valse Brillante, Op. 34 No.3 - Chopin

,I

-,

~~irrEjrrIE

b. Prelude from English Suite No.5 -

-~~
J.
S. Bach

rfrrrlHrrrrlErrrU
~ ! I I

~~ ~WIWW1

8. The embellished accent is obtained by any means of melodic embellishment: appoggiatura, acciaccatura, mordent, trill, etc.
EXAMPLE

36

a. Bourree I from English Suite No.2 -

'$r r
I

J. S. Bach

I [1 F E t" IF)J t I

b. Sonata, Longo 104 - Scarlatti

33
c. Sonata, Longo 375 - Scarlatti

~~II#.

t As already stated, these types of accent may be employed singly or in combination. In fact, the alert reader may have noticed that most of the foregoing examples really employ at least one other type than the one noted in each case. Example j1 employs agogic accents in the right hand melody besides metric accents in the accompaniment. Example8t1a is both agogic and embellished. The second measure of Example 32a is also agogic because of the short tone preceding the accent; and for the same reason, so is the second measure of Example 32b ( ~ ). Example 34b shows an especially ingenious form of agogic accent in the 2nd and 4th measures: the use of silence to emphasize a pulse. Rhythmic analysis of a seemingly simple passage like Example 37 reveals no less than four types of accent employed for one rhythm: metric, dynamic, agogic and pitch.
EXAMPLE

fltf' 2 I IT F en

37 No.7 - Beethoven

Lsi Movement of Symphony

On the other hand, Example 38 employs four types of accent for three different rhythms: dynamic in upper melody, agogic and weight in the inner figure, and pattern in the lowest figure.
EXAMPLE

38 de chumbo from "Prole do hebe - Villa-Lob os


> >

o boisinho
Lent

.r:

Copyright all countries.

1927. renewed 1955, by Editions Used by permission.

Max Eschtg,

proprietor

of the copyright

for

34 QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES

1. Define Pace and Accent. 2. How does meter affect pace? How does pattern affect it? 3. Write melodic fragments with accompanying chords of four or five measures' length, illustrating the metric accent, in 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, and 9/8. 4. Do the same to illustrate the dynamic accent, in 2/4, 12/8, and 12/16. 5. Write melodies, four to eight measures long, demonstrating the agogic accent in 4/4, 3/4,5/4,12/8,9/8. One of these melodies should employ the repetitional form of agogic accent and one, the preceding staccato tone. 6. Write a fragment, four to five measures long, to show the harmonic accent in each of the following meters: 3/2, 2/4, 6/8, 4/4. 7. Do the same (as in Question 6) to show the weight accent. 8. Write a melodic line, of four to five measures, illustrating the pitch accent in each of the following meters: 6/8, 3/4, 4/4. Do the same to illustrate the pattern accent. 9. Write one melody, about 12 measures long, employing as many embellished accents as desired.

PATTERN Pattern is the subdivision of a pulse, a beat, or a group of pulses or beats, into smaller units. If we turn back to Examples 6 and 1, Chapter I, we can see this clearly illustrated. The pattern in this case is the group of three eighth notes, which is a subdivision of the rhythmic beat of dotted quarter-note value. How many subdivisions of pulses can there be? Theoretically, on paper, a very large number. For reasons of practicality and effectiveness, the number is much smaller but by no means confining; because rhythms which cannot be heard do not really exist, and those which cannot be executed, are not even born though fully conceived in the mind and present on the manuscript of the composer. The major requisites of practicality and effectiveness in rhythm will be stressed often in later chapters. In the meantime, to introduce this recommendation, the reader is asked to consider the following two rhythmic patterns, played on two drums of equal pitch and level of dynamics:

35
EXAMPLE

39

2/4
On paper, we have two patterns, but in sound we have only one, namely:

Unfortunately, the actual instances in music of this non-fulfillment of rhythmic conception are not always as simple and apparent. Only a meticulous analysis of the music will reveal the disparity between intention and result. The note values employed in modern notation might lead us to believe that the subdivisions of a pulse are few. Including the exceptional ones (double whole-note and one-hundredtwenty-eighth note) the table of note values might appear to be:
EXAMPLE 40

Double whole note Whole Half Quarter Eighth Sixteenth Thirty-second Sixty-fourth One-hundred-twenty-eighth
1O

jq

or

1=4

.,.

J J
j

'"

16. Nicolas Slonimsky in "The Hoad to Music" quotes the following example of seeming 256th notes from Couperiu. Enough is enough!
EXAMPLE 40A

36

In other words, each smaller unit is half the value of the larger one. But by means of dots, ties, or numerals, we have at our disposal almost any mathematical fraction we wish. Considering the whole note as "the mother of the other notes" and excluding the exceptional ones (double whole-note and 128th note), a larger (though not complete) table of subdivisions would be the following: ( all considered as of 4/4) : Whole Three-fourth Half notes Third notes Three-eighth notes Quarter notes Fifth notes Three-sixteenth Sixth notes Eighth notes Tenth notes Twelfth notes Sixteenth notes Twentieth notes Twenty-fourth Thirty-second notes notes notes notes
«»

iii
f" f'
j'

or

.J
f"
a

r
f"

r r

t:. i
L

-~.. '-u r:
~

-.L

-r:

r 5 r

-.. ~

r r
r

i---r- V

L....l~
.......,

~i
j

j (] ~18j

i L
.s.

L! U

---

r:

U
..i-

L
~ ~ ~

b: 6 b~ b b i

br bbi .§._

L LL Li
..Jl_

UjLUUJ
I I I / ~ I I I I I I I I I I I I

~~6L~~~r
.s.
$

Thirty-sixth notes Forty-eighth notes

~bLb6Ljrr

~~~~~L ~~~~rI ~~ / ~

s.

Sixty-fourth notes

~~~~~~~L~~~~~~~rl
I

These calculations are based on the whole note , and the whole is considered equal to four pulses. What about 12/8? Is the dotted-quarter, which is the pulse, equal to a quarter or

37
to a quarter plus an eighth? In reality, it is equal to a quarter note. Our dual system rears its head once morel Without recreating confusion, the student is reminded that the classifications of meter into binary and ternary exist solely for convenience of notation, and it is not necessary to be pedantic regarding the true name of a note-value. Suffice it to know that all of these fractional values (and more) do exist, and that the knowledge of a fact is of greater importance than its name or symbol. It must not be assumed that a pattern always consists of equal units for every pulse. The following, for example, are also patterns of a quarter note, and may be employed individually in a repeated pattern or in any order desired:
EXAMPLE

41

tJlCCflr

ErICUFlIF

r-;9l

PlrrHISrrrrlrrrrrrr a ·5

Patterns may be classified as regular or if1'egular, and simple or compound. A pattern which is a normal, metrical subdivision of, a pulse is regular. For example, in 2/4 the quarter-note pulse may be normally subdivided into: or Jffi , etc. In 6/8, the dotted quarter-note pulse may be subdivided into: J Ji , or ~ etc. These

rn

n ,n,
m
»

m,

are regufJJJJ~tterns. However. If we write in 2/4: or or in 6/8: or ,then we dve

rn
~

_£.

J)
_-

irregular pattern. Groups such as

J J 2 J3

ro~
5____

or an are

or

J J J J oJ J J

irregular in both binary and ternary meters. A repeated pattern is simple and a changing pattern is compound.
EXAMPLE

42

SIMPLE a. Regular b. Regular c. Irregular

1
U

rna. 6th I
E! r;;[:
888
(j

Qt C 0' W I

ffil
(;

d. Irregular

13 J J j n J 11 r r r r r
e

38
COMPOUND a. Regular
b. Regular c. Irregular

I b QJ tEE"" t;
I

n b Fa
a
0

"Jill ill I
"I lCt E r IT r r
a

d. Irregular

Through this important element of rhythm, pattern, a number of unusual resultants are conceivable which are not listed in the table of meters, but which are nonetheless perfectly valid. They stem from the aspect of meter as duration, which is actually included in our definition of meter as "the grouping of pulses within a single measure or within a frame of two or more measures." They do not vitiate our fundamental concept of meter, for no matter by what means we arrive at a meter, whether through pulse, beat, accent or pattern, the final result is the same: a g1'O'uping of pulses. When Debussy writes 18/16 (Example 43), he is not trying to be esoteric or to avoid a commonplace 9/8. The pattern expressed is a double triplet to the pulse and not a sextolet, and the metric notation is perfectly logical.
EXAMPLE

43
Flilte, Alto et Harpe - Debussy

Sonate

POft!'

= 18/16

Copy~igh[ 1916. Permission owner; El kan-Vogel Co., Inc,

for reprint granted by Durand Philadelphia, Pa., agents.

&

Cie, Paris, France,

copyright

Neither is it an invention of the 20th century. Bach was quite fond of such subdivisions, even though his notation did not

39 always declare it as such, as in :


EXAMPLE

44

Organ Chorale Prelude "AUein Gatt in del' Huh' Sei Ehr'" -

J.

S. Bach

= 18/16

These two examples reveal one method of enlarging our table of meters: through secondary and tertiary subdivisions of a pulse and re-grouping." To illustrate: the Debussy excerpt stems from a 9/8 meter. The primary subdivision of 9/8 is and the secondary subdivision is~~~ or two secondary units to each primary unit. Re-grouping the secondary units into triplets, we arrive at 18/16:

J:l:lmm

~JljfflJmf.l
"-,L.....J"-,L.......JL.....JL.....J

Alterations of meters through pattern occur principally in ternary meters. The alteration of 3/4 into 6/8 is the exception for binary meters. If the reader will refer to the table of meters, he will notice this aspect of meter already suggested by the alteration of 6/8 (in the duple group) to 12/16 (in the quadruple group). Now, if 6/8 may be converted to 12/16 and 9/8 to 18/16, then 12/8 should be variable to 24/16. And so it is. The following two examples of 24/16 are from Bach, one notated as such, the other hiding behind an innocent e .

" "Secondary units" are the metrical subdivision of a pulse into the second smaller unit. The following table will clarify the terms "primary," "secondary," etc. as used in this book. Pulse BINARY TERNARY METERS METERS Primary units Secondary units Tertiary units

r-J

JJjJ

H"'B}ffi

J.

JJJJ

JJ

Jf.FDffi Hf3

For the explanation of "extrametrical" units see foot note Page 83.

40
45 Clavier -

EXAMPLE

a. P1'elude No. 15, Book I, Well-Tempered

J.

S. Bach

b. Prelude No.6, Book 1, Well-Tempered

Clavier -

J.

S. Bach

Example 45b reveals an interesting practice: the use, in reality, of an unusual meter in a usual metric notation. If we were to insist on naming the true mathematical values of notes, the follOwing Scriabine example would be called a 10/10 meter in the right hand, basing our calculations, as always, on the whole note.
EXAMPLE

46

Prelude, Op, 31 No.3 - Scriabine

However, the 2/2 notation accomplishes its rhythmic purpose quite well. It cannot be too strongly stressed that the student of rhythm must learn to work from the mental concept of a rhythm to its suitable notation rather than the reverse procedure. As already stated, "the knowledge of a fact is of greater importance than its name or symbol." If we were to concern ourselves excessively with the true names of note values and meters, there would be no time left for rhythm. Examine the following examples from Scriabine, and notice how much can be done with the group numeral in the matter of pattern alone as well as its influence on meter.

41
47

EXAMPLE

a. Etude, Op, 42 No.1 - Scriabine

b. Etude, Op. 42 No.2 - Scriabine

c. Etude, Op. 42 No.3 - Scriabine

d. Etude, Op. 42 No.6 - Scriabine

All of the above Scriabine quotations are copyrighted permission of Boosey 8: Hawkes, Inc., sole agents.

by Editions

M. P. Belaieff,

Used by

Continuing the alterations of ternary meters, the last columns of the duple, triple and quadruple groups need not be the final ones regarding pattern. 6/16, 9/16, and 12/16 may become, respectively, 12/32, 18/32 and 24/32, and the units of these alterations may be re-grouped into triplets.

42
48

EXAMPLE

-*i[fFFG{[FFFFF[HrrrrrrHF

rI

rt

rt

r-J

rI

r-I

r-1"

Or

mgt

g' gr g]

Similarly, with the binary meters, 2/8, 4/8 and 5/8 may become, respectively, 4/16, 8/16 and 10/16; but there is no need for these alterations unless one is employing changing meters (containing among them those with an odd numerator) where the unit of measure is the sixteenth. Stravinsky, in the Danse Sacrale from "Le Sacre du Printemps," has the following multimeter: 3/16, 5/16, 3/16, 4/16, 5/16, 3/16, 4/16, etc. Ironically enough, this is one instance where this complexity of notation is entirely unnecessary: the entire section from cue 142 to 149 can be written in 2/8. (More of this in a later chapter.) One must be careful that with the concern for consistency one does not create confusion. In selecting a meter with a higher denominator (i.e., 6/16 in place of 3/8), for the purpose of maintaining a constant unit of value, the resultant primary subdivision must be considered. Any meter with a multiple of 3 as numerator (but not 3 itself) such as: 6/8, 9/16, 12/4, 15/8, 12/32, etc., implies a ternary subdivision, a grouping of primary units by triplets. In other words, Jfflf.I is not 6/16 but 3/8, and 1ffl Ji]j Jffl is not 12/16 but 3/4. To be 6/16 and 12/16, they must be written, respectively: and fflfflmI:f.l. It is better, at times, to change denominators for the sake of rhythmic clarity, with some indication as to whether the constant value is the unit or the pulse, as in Example 49. Note that in (a) the pulse is constant while in (b) the unit is constant.

mm

EXAMPLE

49

,i t:1r::rI~ r 0:; EIfflia

-J:

a.

J. = J preced

ing

b.

ir?ffrFOrr

--..

Jl= Jl

In~

aoffiB' I
or

J. = J.

In Villa-Lobos' "0 Lobosinho de Vidro," four different denominators are employed at various times: 13/16, 3/4, 5/8, 2/2, with no indication of relative values. However, the con-

43 text of the music makes it obvious that the value of the sixteenth note is constant. Mention should be made of a subsidiary element of pattern, namely phrasing. The character of a rhythm is slightly altered by a difference in phrasing, i.e. a difference in slurs, legatos and staccatos. For example, the following, although virtually the same rhythmic pattern, vary somewhat in the "feeling" of the rhythm.

J_

a)

,I

hi 4jJ "b ctt b W


~ ~ '.. '"

b)

0)

116£& C r t:i "b [bt! Q{ll


~r'""'

~'""'

fi

d)

This subsidiary element of Pattern is what distinguishes the tarantella from the gigue. Both dances are in 6/8, fastpaced and generally based on the same pattern. However, the rhythmic phrasing is different. Whereas in the tarantella the 3rd eighth note of each triplet serves as an impetus to the next pulse, in the gigue this same note is a sort of rebound ajte« the pulse. The following will clarify this difference in one pattern which has been used in both dances.

ClCUE

TARANTELLA
(-=

Mastery of the element of pattern in rhythm will be of inestimable value in the manipulation of the rhythmic structures explained in following chapters. The student is urged to give it full and constant attention, beyond the mere execution of the exercises at the end of this chapter.

QUESTIONS

AND

EXERCISES

1. Define Pattern. 2. What are two major requisites in rhythm? 3. Name the available subdivisions of a pulse (up to 64th) which are not included in our traditional note-value notation.

44 4. By what method of alteration can the table of meters be enlarged? 5. Which numerators imply a ternary primary division? 6. Write at least 40 patterns (regular and irregular) of a quarter note, employing up to and including 32nd notes. Begin with 2 note patterns, then to 3 note patterns, 4 note, etc. (Solution Appendix II) 7. Re-write the preceding patterns based on a half note instead of a quarter note. For example, for the quarter note would become J . .,j) for the half note. 8. Write at least 40 patterns of a dotted half-note, employing up to and including 16th notes (regular, irregular and compound), e.g., =J but not simple patterns such as:

J.

DeIW

JmJmJffl

45
CHAPTER TWO

Pre - Classic Dance

Rhythms
TO THE RHYTHMIC STRUCTURES, THE AUTHOR

BEFORE PROCEEDING

feels it advisable to discuss briefly several pre-classic dance rhythms for the purpose of applying what has been thus far learned regarding meter, pace, accent and pattern.' The student is asked to write one example of each dance rhythm, of about 12 to 16 measures in length, illustrating the particular rhythm; and to utilize at least one for treatment in a complete composition. In the complete composition, the form may be whatever the composer wishes: two-part, three-part, rondo or free sectional fonn. The pattern for each dance is the basis of its general rhythmic feeling. The composer's ingenuity will be revealed in the many ways of varying this fundamental pattern without sacrificing that feeling. Moreover, in full-length compositions, some variation is mandatory if the music is to be more than a mere tonal interpretation of drum-beats, handclapping, footstamping, etc. The importance of understanding traditional types of rhythmic treatment cannot be overstressed. There are students who, in their concern with being thoroughly modern and up-todate in rhythmic practice, belittle any theory of an earlier century and forget that what exists today, in music, as significant and worthy can trace its origin to ancient philosophies.
1. These dance rhythms have always been misnamed dance forms, An analysis of many musical examples of the dances shows, however, that the distinguishing features are neither formal nor harmonic, Practically all of the Bach sarabandes, conrantcs, gigues, etc. are in two-part form and the harmonic vocabulary is the same as in his other types of composition, What does characterize a dance, other than its mood, is its rhythmic organization of meter, pace, accent and pattern.

46

As C. F. Abdy Williams states: 2 "All the simple forms (in rhythm) that we use were used by the Greeks, and are intelligible to other races and other stages of civilisation than ours. The iambuses and trochees, the anapaests and dactyls of the Greeks reappear in the Hymns of St. Ambrose, in the ancient folksongs of Europe, in the litanies of the Roman Church, in the Sonatas of Beethoven, in the songs of Schubert, in the modern music-hall ballads, in the music of the South Sea Islanders." The dance rhythms are presented in alphabetical order, but the student may work on them in any order he wishes. Alternating slow and fast dances might be interesting.

BOURREE

This dance is of French origin, although some authorities believe it to have originated with the Spanish. The word itself means a "stuffing" or "padding." It was the most vigorous of the old dances, a sort of rustic clog-dance of the natives of Auvergne and Berri. It was also sung and danced during the wine-makers' crushing of the grapes (by stamping upon them with their bare feet). The Bach Bourree from the 2nd Violin Sonata is a fine specimen and really expresses the true character of this dance. Of its purely rhythmic aspects, the following must he observed: The meter is duple binary (2/2) and begins on the fourth quarter weak-pulse initial species). The pace is lively, about d = 112 for the actual dance. The two pulses are strongly accented, and the pattern is principally J I J J.

dd

EXAMPLE

50
(Partita) for Violin Solo -

BOtHTee from Sonata No.2

J.

S. Bach

2. The Aristoxenian

Theory of M1tsical Rhythm.

47
COURANTE There are three different types of this dance, two of which Bach utilized in his suites and partitas. The type to be employed in this exercise is the French, in triple binary meter (3/2), beginning with a weak pulse eighth note. The pace for dancing was about J = 82, but for musical purposes (as in Bach's examples) can be slightly faster. The accentuation is traditionally metrical and the pattern generally J. )l J . .)\J . .h . However, a special feature of this courante is the alteration from 3/2 (J J J) to 6/4 (J. J.) without indicating this change by the metrical designation. In some compositions, this alteration to 6/4 occurs only in the last measure of a section, but in others it will be found more frequently. For this reason, the Courante by Chambonnieres is quoted as a specimen, but there are many fine examples among Bach's works. The student may feel free in the inclusion of 6/4 measures, but there should be at least one such at the conclusion of a section. The word "courante" means "running," and although this idea of running was more evident in the Italian form of the dance (written in 3/8 or 3/4), running passages may be employed at will.
EXAMPLE

51

It~ 1 =;~:J:;::lj If::::~: 1 I(~~


Cow'ante -

J.

C, de Chumbonnicres

2,

(6/4)

(3/2)

(3/2)

'tr

~I
I

48

GALL lARD
As with courante, there are three types of this dance, known under the titles of galliard, tourdion, and volte, All three types were based on the rhythmic characteristic which gave it still another name "cinque pas" (five steps). The galliard originated in Italy (known there as gagliarda, and also as romanesca) and was a rather merry dance with jumps involved, although Praetorius called it "an invention of the devil." In his Orchesography, Arbeau explains: "The Galliard ought to consist of six steps, seeing that it contains six crotchets (quarter notes) played in two bars of triple time. All the same there are only five steps, because the fifth and penultimate note is lost in the air. On the count of 5 the dancers always executed either a little or a big jump, landing in a cadent posture on the count of 6." Early settings of the galliard very often had no note on the fifth count. The dance is in dimetric triple binary meter (two measures of 3/4) and the pace lively. The pattern, deduced from the description of the steps, would be principally I J J J I ~ J I, with a rather strong accent on the first pulse of each second measure. Good examples will be found by Hassler, Frescobaldi, Dowland, Byrd and Orlando Gibbons.
52
- Hans Leo Hassler

EXAMPLE

Calliard

49

GAVOTTE

Originally a rather rough dance in which there was a good deal of kissing and capering, the gavotte was introduced to the French court in the 16th century and was gradually refined in character until it attained formality and stateliness, finally developing to a degree of stiffness and artificiality. Neither the original roughness nor the eventual artificiality need be the character of this dance in our present use of its rhythm, but rather a certain grace and dignity. The meter of the gavotte is 4/4 beginning on the third quarter and ending the section at the half bar with a half-note. The pace is moderately fast, about J = 120, and the pattern principally-l J 1 J J J I. It must be remembered that a pattern need not, in fact, should not, be rigidly maintained throughout, but varied in many ways. The pattern is given only as the general rhythmic character of the dance. In the gavotte, perhaps more than in any other of these dances, it has been common practice to vary the pattern of the half-note at the beginning of a measure. There are many good examples among the works of early French composers: Couperin, Rameau, etc.

Used by permission

of Edward

Schuberth

and Co., Inc.,

New York.

GIGUE

The gigue, or giga, is of Italian ongm and its name is derived from that of a small stringed instrument (giga). It has always been a very lively dance even when appearing in other countries: France, Ireland, etc. Mattheson has said: "The Italian Gigas, which are not meant to be danced but to be

50

PAVANE
Although the pavane is generally said to have come from Spain, the name lends evidence to an Italian origin. Some authorities state that the name is derived from paoo, the Latin for peacock, while others believe it derived from Padovana, an ancient dance of Padua. At any rate, the pavane of the 16th and 17th centuries was a slow, stately, and solemn dance, often presented in procession and in religious ceremonies. Like many early dances, it was originally sung as well as danced. The example given, quoted in Arbeau's "Orchesography", was sung, and included a drum accompaniment with the following pattern throughout: J J J . The pavane is in 2/2 meter, the pace J = 90 for the actual dance (according to L'Affilard in "Principes tres faciles") but may be slightly faster in the musical setting. The accentuation is traditionally metrical and the pattern principally of half notes.
EXAMPLE

55 Pavane from "Orchesographie" - Arbeau

I
,ai

II

Bel • Ie qui tiens ma vi Qui m'e.a l'e. _ me r a - vi


no

1"''''''

I '"

I~

.. I R.

e D'un soubz-riz

cap

I t' -1

ve

dans tea gra -ci

. eux,
.n

yeulx,

.flI

.'*'" .....

51

SARABANDE
The history of the sarabande is most curious. Of probable Spanish origin, it was originally a lascivious dance; in fact, so much so, that it was for a time suppressed. However, toward the end of the 16th century it was revived and transformed into the dignified dance we have found it to be in the music of Bach and Handel. It is this latter type of sarabande with which we are concerned. This sarabande is in triple binary meter (312 or 3/4) and of moderately slow pace. The accent, on the second pulse, is rarely a dynamic accent, more often agogic, harmonic or weight.3 The pattern is principally ~ "! in 3/2 or ~ in 3/4, but may be varied in many ways without sacrificing the rhythmic feeling. Each section should begin on the first pulse (strong-pulse initial species) and end on the second or third pulse (weak-pulse terminal species).

EXAMPLE

56

Sarabande from Suite No. 11 - Handel

SICILIANA
The siciliana belongs more properly to the classic, rather than pre-classic, period. However, it seems advisable to include it in our study of dance rhythms. It is often found in Handel's works, sometimes unidentified as such (as in "He Shall Feed His Flock" from "The Messiah"). It is closely allied to the pastorale, being in 618 or 12/8 meter and of moderate pace, about J. = 72. Classic examples are usually in a minor key. There is no strong accentuation in this rhythm, the character of the dance being smooth and tender.
3. As already recommended, the Bach sarabandes amined with the matter of accent in mind. should he carefully ex-

52
The Casella example given below should be examined in its entirety. It is most effective in its simplicity of treatment regarding both the character of the dance (by employing a modal melodic idiom in a contemporary manner) and the manipulation of the basic rhythmic pattern (by arrangements of the segments of the pattern and.J ) .) The example should also show that ancient rhythms can still be interestingly employed.

rn

EXAMPLE

57

SiciUana from "Pieces enfantines" - Casella

ll~~:rr;::
Copyright 1921. renewed 1949, by Universal Edition,

A. G.

SUGGESTED

READING

PRE-CLASSIC FORMS. ORCHESOGRAPHY.

Louis Horst.

DANCES OF ENGLAND AND FRANCE.

Mabel Dolmetsch. Thoinot Arbeau (Jehan Tabourot). COURT DANCES AND OTHERS. Nellie Chaplin. THE STORY OF DANCE MUSIC. Paul Nettl. THE ANCIENT DANCE FORMS. Jeffrey Pulver. Musical Association Proceedings, Session 39 and 40.
GROVE'S DICTIONARY.

Articles on bourree, courante, gavotte, etc.

53
CHAPTER THREE

Rhythmic Structures. First Structure: Regular Subdivision


THE ORGANIZATION OF DURATION IN ORDERED MOVEMENT IS

accomplished by five different plans termed RHYTHMIC STRUCTURES, and these are: I. Regular Subdivision 2. Irregular Subdivision 3. Overlapping 4. Regular Subdivision Overlapping 5. Irregular Subdivision Overlapping Each of these structures is explained in a separate chapter. Regular Subdivision is the organization of a measure into equal beats, i.e., beats of equal duration. These equal beats mayor may not coincide with the pulses, as explained by Examples 4, 5, and 6, in Chapter 1. Perhaps ninety percent of our music is rhythmically based on regular subdivision of the traditional and purely metrical type in which pulse and beat are one and the same. However, what should be of greater concern to us is not the type of regular subdivision present in synchronous pulses and beats, but the rhythmic principle of metrical alteration already suggested in the analysis of the Chopin "Waltz in A-flat" (Ex. 7), the courante (Ex. 51), and the alteration of meters discussed in the section on pattern. The reader will recall that, in the Chopin "Waltz," the six units of eighth-notes (in 3/4) were grouped into 2 x 3 or 2 groups of 3 J J J J J J instead of the normal 3 x 2 or 3 groups of 2; and in the courante, the six units of quarternotes (in 3/2) underwent a similar transformation:
l__) '----'

ultimately

in place of

F r ~ r ~r .

Fr1 ~1 r

This particular

alteration, termed the "hemiola," is found in

54
the music of Greece and Arabia, in that of Western civilization since the 16th century, and in several South American dances, among them the Bambuco of Colombia, the Pasdlo of Ecuador and the Cueca of Chile, which should be sufficient testimony for its popularity.' The following are several further examples of this "extra-metrical" subdivision into equal beats.
EXAMPLE

58 Claoler -

a. Fugue No . .10, Book I, lNell-Tempered

J.

S. Bach

,.

C ,.

,.

,.

L___l

L.____.J

b. 1st Movement of Symphony

No.2 - Brahms

c. Dance of the Apprentices from "Die Meistersinget"

- Wagner

d. Scherzo in E malar, Op, 54 - Chopin

~U.I ~. II r

r .~.f r

I~r .

~.j Ur

c. Valse No.7 Of "Valses nobles et sentimeniales"

_ii(P

t" r r III["h-f" r r
&

- Ravel

Copyright 1911. Permission for reprint granted by Durand owner; Elknn-Vogcl Co., Inc., Philadclphta, Pa., agents.

Cic

,j

Paris

France
J

copyright

1. "Hemiola" was the term used in mediaeval music to designate the ratio of 3:2. I~ hUI;nony it referred to the interval of a fifth, and in rhythm to any .'3:2 relattonship, such as 3 notes in place of 2 or 3 notes against 2. The Latin term was "proportto sesquialtera."

5,5 As is quite evident, the two meters, 3/4 and 6/8 (or 3/2 and 6/4) are therefore interchangeable, so that the hemiola is also present in 6/8 meters altered to 3/4. This latter was a favorite rhythmic practice with Brahms, almost to the complete exclusion of any other possible metrical alteration. Examples of this type are more numerous, and following are several other than the Ravel "Don Quichotte" (Ex. 20).
EXAMPLE

59 Op. 12 - Schumann

a. Aufschw!lTlg from Fantasiestitcke,


= 3/4

h. Berceuse, Op. 57 - Chopin

c. Aragonaise from "Le Cid" - Massenet

~ • ell r ,'a crr!r

=8/4

11=

P ,. rEm
of Hengel

I
&

Used by courtesy

Cic, Paris,

France.

d. 31'd Movement of "Scheherazade"

- Rtmsky-Korsakov
:8/4

~#RnlE!tflUI.3JII=
Copyright sole agents. by Editions M. P. Be!aiell.

@r Ulffir

DI
Inc.,

Used by permission

of Boosey &: Hawkes,

56
e. Ballade, Op. 47 - Chopin

f. Capriccio, Op, 76 No.8 - Brahms


:8/2

g.

Capriccio, Op. 76 No.5 - Brahms


:8/4

h. Intermezzo,

Op, 117 No.1 - Brahms

Regular subdivision has been applied to other meters, and in fact, can be applied to all meters. In our study of meter we learned that, through pattern, 6/8 may become 3/4 or 12/16, 9/8 may become 18/16, 12/8 may become 24/16, etc. But with the exception of the hemiola (3/4-6/8 interchange) the beats were merely binary subdivisions of ternary pulses. To extend the principle of regular subdivision, as exemplified by the hemiola, to other meters, it is necessary to subdivide the measure into a number of beats against the pulses. In a sense, this is merely a different approach to the enlarging of the table of meters in terms of beats rather than pattern. The result is the

57

same but with an extension of possibilities within a single metric notation. Now, if we consider the problem in its aspect of pulse-beat relationship as well as pattern alteration, we shall realize, first of aTI,that the hemiola is available also in 2/4 meter, illustrated by the following excerpts from Brahms and Chopin. (See also Example 20 (a) and (b).)
EXAMPLE

60 Op. 76 No.6 - Brahms

a. Intermezzo,
=3/4

b. Etude, Op. 10 No.5 - Chopin

~r·I.~~ !

=3/4

e:,~mE' I iffitcbt W'


~

.r:F

And this interchange of the 3 x 2 and 2 x 3 relationship is conceivable in 9/8 or 18/16, thus:
EXAMPLE

61
=2><3

M CJ' C:1" 0'


or 18/16

r-----l

r------l

As it is possible to obtain 2 beats against 3 pulses, so is it possible to obtain 4 beats against 3 pulses, as in the following examples:
EXAMPLE 62

a. Valse, Op, 64 No.1 - Chopin

58
b.O lobosinho de vidro from "Prole do hebe" - Villa-Lobos

= 12/16
Copyright all countries. 1927. renewed 1955. by Editions Used by permission. Max Eschig, proprietor of the copyright for

This subdivision is more obviously present in the 6/8-12/16 interchange, as in the next examples, since it is a binary beat subdivision of ternary pulses.
EXAMPLE

63

a. Ballade, Op. 38 - Chopin

b. Prelude, Op. 56 No.1 - Scriabine


(syncopated)

Copyright sole agents.

by Editions

M. P. Belaielf;

used

by permission

of Boosey

8.: Hawkes.

Inc.,

An instance of interchange of all four meters, 2/4-12/16-3/46/8, is found in Debussy's Prelude "Les collines d'Anacapri." The notation by the composer is 12/16 = 2/4, but it could very easily be written in 2/4 throughout by the use of group numerals.

59
EXAMPLE

64

Les collines d' Allacapri [rom. Preludes, Vol. I - Debussy Tres modere H/s)
Vif :

Copyright 1910. Permission for reprint granted by Durand owner; Elkan-Vogel Co., Inc., Philadelphia, Pa., agents.

& Cie, Paris, France, copyright

Now let us take another binary meter, 4/4, and see how the principle of regular subdivision can be applied. We have, first, the normal metrical subdivisions of 2,4 and 8 equal beats, thus:
o

I: 2/2

J J I: 4/4 J J J J I:

S/s

nnnn

The extra-metrical (not metrically implied) subdivisions would be 3, 5 and 6 equal beats. How do we arrive at these? By a simple mathematical process: find the common denominator. For the subdivision into 3 equal beats, the common denominator of 3 (beats) and 4 (pulses) is 12. The measure must therefore be divided into 12 units, which would be

mmmm
$
$
--!t

--!t

and these 12 units must then be regrouped into 3 x 4 (3 groups of 4) instead of 4 x 3 (4 groups of 3) thus:

mmmm
a a a
L____,J L__._I

l_____l

Translating this into simple beats, without pattern, we have:

~ )J ~ )~
L::J~l:::..J$. W

This is not an uncommon rhythm in arrangements

of American

popular music and is usually notated J J J J which is an L-3-' acceptable notation when the pace is fast, but impractical at

60 a slow pace. (Refer to remarks on Example 22, Chapter I, regarding practicality of notation. ) The common denominator of 6 (beats) and 4 (pulses) is also 12. Utilizing the same means of obtaining 12 units in 4/4, we group these units into 6 x 2, thus:

mmmm
L-.J

L..J

L-.J

L-.J

L...J

L...J

or in simple beats:

These two regular subdivisions, 3 and 6 beats, are naturally available in 12/8, with a difference only in notation: the addition of dots to two of the quarter notes and the elimination of the group numeral: 3 beats in 12/8 J.:__)lJ~J 6 beats in 12/8 J .t)J J ) ... ~J = 6/4.

-LJ.

= 3/2;

In other words, the 4/4 or 12/8 meter has been transformed into either 3/2 or 6/4, or mathematically expressed, a 4 x 3 relationship has been altered to 3 x 4 or 6 x 2. Notice that the new arrangement of 6 x 2 can be regrouped into a large 2 x 3 or 3 x 2, thus:

~ J a)l
I '-"

).9J
I

;a..h..h-a.J
I -

6/4

J ~~J
~

l___j

J )l~J i:::..___j

Following are several examples of the 6 x 2 subdivision in 4/4 or. 12/8. (Even when the notation is 4/4, a division of the measure into 12 units implies 12/8.)
EXAMPLE

65

a, Rhapsody, Op, 79 No.2 - Brahm"

b. 0 gatinho de papelao from "Prole do lJebe" - Villa-Lob os

t~
> >

61

c. 0 boisinho de chumbo from "Prole do bebe" - Villa-Lobos

All of the above VilIa-Lobos quotations are copyright Max Eschig, proprietor of the copyright Cor all countries.

1927. renewed 1955. by Editions Used by permission.

The common denominator of 5 (beats) and 4 (pulses) is 20. To obtain 20 units in 4/4, each pulse must be divided into 5 units. For practical reasons, in performance, it is necessary to work with the full pattern of 5 notes to a pulse rather than beats alone, and to regroup the normal 4 x 5 into 5 x 4, thus:

.r.n=T.l.r.n=T.l ~
(; (;
L______j
L____J

"

t_...___j

t_...___j

.f.fT.f.l
'-----..J

"

Of course, if the r.ace is sufficiently fast, we can have the simple _____, beats notated J J J J J . Even in this case, sounding the pulses in conjunction with the extra-metrical beats is often helpful.

,--:-"

EXAMPLE

66

Slow or Fast

Fast

GfW'_'

_j

~.-

62
It must always be borne in mind that no matter how fascinating a rhythm may appear on paper, if it is not practical in performance it is a waste of effort writing it. Extrametrical regular subdivision is applicable to all meters. But all possible subdivisions are not equally practical in all meters, certainly not in simple beats. Example 65a demonstrates one method of making an unusual subdivision practical: by employing the full units of the pattern. The fingers of the instrumentalist perform the task of minute division much more easily than the mind can in counting, especially when the units are rather fast. In other words, from the standpoint of execution, it is easier to gauge a multi-divisional pattern from pulse to pulse rather than from an irregular group of beats within an entire measure. A reference to the Scriabine examples, 47 (a) (b) and (d) reveals his understanding of practicality in execution through full patterns in unusual rhythms. Another means of making a rhythm practical is by employing a notation which reveals exactly where each pulse occurs. For example, Egon Wellesz in his opera "Die Bakchantinnen," has a subdivision of 3 equal beats in 5/4, notated in the usual impractical manner.

EXAMPLE

67 - Wellesz

Act II of "Die Bakchantinnen"

Copyright

1939, by Ed. Bote and G. Bock.

Write this in the same manner as we wrote 3 equal beats in 4/4, showing the position of each pulse, and the terrifying difficulty disappears.

63

EXAMPLE

68

Idem: Ex. 67

Now that we have a little insight into the principle of regular subdivision, let us tabulate, systematically, the possibilities with all common meters. We shall begin with the organization of 2 equal beats in a measure, and the meters to be so treated are: 2/4, 3/4, 3/2, 4/4, 5/4, 6/8, 9/8, 9/4, 12/8 and 15/8. Naturally, those subdivisions available in 2/4 are available also in 2/2 and 2/8; and those in 3/4 also in 3/2 and 3/8; those in 6/8 also in 6/4 and 6116, etc. For this reason, some of the meters presented in Chapter I are omitted in the tabulation. The subdivisions are notated in simple beats, without the full units, as in Example 66b. These beats are designated by the accent sign ( », and pulses (when noted) by a circle. In some meters, of course, pulses and beats are synchronous. Observe that the notation must conform with the meter employed: 2 equal beats in 6/8 are notated J. J.; but in 3/4 J. ~,so that the pulse in each case is quite evident. This is particularly necessary when pattern is involved, which will be discussed later.
EXAMPLE

69

Two equal

beats

= 6/S or 2~3
>>-

= 6/4 or 2><3
>-:>

I r r n r' ff U
= 18/16 or
2><9

['=r0 o

rr
0

=212

=10/S or 2"6
>-

II f f'
2'9

;::..

Iii

:>

r=((f
= 30/16

>

IIR r' r' II


or 2><15

= 18/8 or

,6/4 or 2'6

The next step is to arrange a similar tabulation for 3 equal beats in a measure, for the same meters.

64
70

EXAMPLE Three

equal

beat. , 3/4 or 3~2

,3/2 or ~4

.15/18 or 3x5

=3/4 or 3><2
~

'3/2

or 3><2 »>00

ar r
>~

0000000

n=p

r=r

IIg F

»>

n F IlJi f'

Fa

II~ F'

r'

F' II

,3/2 or 3"4

It has always been the author's contention that mere memorization of formulas does not insure complete understanding of a theory or practice. Understanding must be developed from within through individual thought and experimentation. For this reason, the student is asked to try his utmost to solve the next problem through his own efforts, and to refer to the solution in Appendix II only as a last resort. The problem is to complete the table of regular subdivision as begun in Example 71. The first column is for 2 equal beats, the second for 3, the third for 4, etc. Those subdivisions already solved are entered in their proper places. Remember that in this table only the simple beats are to be noted, and wherever necessary (that is where pulse and beat do not coincide) these beats should be designated by the accent sign and the pulses by the circle. The numbered subdivisions are also to be written in a separate table at the bottom, with full-unit patterns for slow pace. The new metrical result should also be designated by notation or multiplication formula or both, as in the second column for 214 = 3 x 2.

65

TABLE

OF REGULAR

SUBDIVISION

EXAMPLE

71

2 beats

3 beats
= 3/4 or 3"2
>0

4 beats
Slow =4/8

5 beats

6 beats

r--a-'

:>

r;]l u »:
0

= 6/S or 2'3
>-

012/16
e:>

>-

Fa.t=5/S
:>

® ®

or 3/4

L-J

0: 6/4 or 2><3
~ :> 0 0

Fast. 5/4

-=6/4 or 6"2

or

I' ('I
>-

= 2/2

=3/2 or 3"4
:>

ra;.ra;.
0

Fast:5/4
0

~
0 0

:> ~

ra,:r
0

:10/8 or 2"5

~15/8 or 3"5

o
>0

'al

W
0

Fast:S/4

o
>0

,3/4 or 3<2
>-

Fast=5/8

: 3/2 or 3~2
e0 :> 0

>-

Fast:5/4

18/16 or 2"9
>0

>-

(There are at least 4 ways of notating this' Fast=15/16 Jie:=ttJi::wa:


W&v-e;r.;-t

CV

18/16 or 6><3

impractical.) Fast:15/S

18/S or 2,,9
>0 0

>0

® ®

=18/S or 6:><3

=3/2 or 3"4
e-

>-

Fast:15/S
:>

:6/4 or 6"2
>- >0

>::..>
0 0

>-

=30/16 or 2,15 =3"5


:>

:>

>0 0 0

=6)(5

66

Were this a purely theoretical book, the tabulation of regular subdivision rhythms would complete our study of the principle. But since the fundamental purpose of this work is the application of rhythmic principles to composition, it is necessary now to proceed to the practice of this principle. There are two well-defined types of preliminary exercises which the student must do in order to gain mastery of regular subdivision before applying the principle in actual composition. The first, rather simple, exercise is to incorporate a certain rhythm in various meters, thereby learning to correlate, so to speak, the idea of groups of beats with any meter being employed. In this exercise we are still dealing with simple beats, so that no melodic line is required, but merely note values as in the table of regular subdivision. Also in the description of the rhythm as long and short, one long equals two shorts. (Hint: work by means of common denominator. For example, spondee rhythm in 9/8 = 2 equal beats in 3 pulses; common' denominator of 2 and 3 is 6; obtain 6 units which would be 6 dotted eighths notate as 2 equal beats:

J. n.J. --"-

n. n. n. ;

A. EXERCISESl
1. Write the spondee 2

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

J J (2 longs) in each of the following meters: 2/2,6/8,3/4, .5/4, 9/8, 7/4. Write the molossus J J J (3 longs) in the following meters: 3/2, 6/4, 6/8, 2/4, 12/8, 4/4, 5/4. Write the dactyl J (long-short-short) in the following meters: 4/4,6/8,3/4,5/4,12/16, 12/8. Write the trochee rhythm J )l (long-short) in the following meters: 9/8, 3/2, 6/8, 12/8, 2/4, 4/4, 12/16. Write the matic trochee nTI (4 shorts) in the following meters: 4/4,6/8,3/4, 12/16, 5/4. Write the major ionic J J (2 long-2 short) in the following meters: 3/4,6/8,2/4,9/8,15/18,7/4.

1. Solutions in Appendix II. . 2. See Appendix I for Table of Ancient Greek Meters.

67
The second exercise, which is also a sort of tabulation, is to translate the beats of a rhythm into patterns. For example, taking the 2 beat regular subdivision of 3/4, which is: J. j)J, we tabulate a number of patterns of both simple and compound types. In the simple type, the pattern of the second beat is exactly the same as that of the first, thus:
EXAMPLE

72

I J, V;

r IT r r r r IE p r p lE1cJ ID o
r---l'-I r--J r--"1 ~
0 0

r---,

'-u:.F'
~
r---, o ~
0

Observe especially the notation of (c) and (d) in the preceding example. Although this rhythm is actually in 6/8, the notation must conform to the meter employed, which is 3/4. To write them
EXAMPLE

73

*E'·ur-:r
would be incorrect. The pulses of the written meter must be evident at all times. Observe also that the patterns are written in a simple method of pitch differentiation, a sort of pitch and pattern accent method (though not really melodically) , in order to show better, without dvnarnic accents, where each beat occurs. This method is clea~'erthan employing dynamic accents on notes of the same pitch, thus:

c)

eE r r r r r ,
~> >

~>

ClUW r ,
>

Remember the definition of pattern: the subdivision of a pulse, a beat, or a group of pulses or beats, into smaller units. In these exercises, it is the beat (for Simple patterns) which is subdivided, and a group of beats (for compound patterns) which is subdivided. In the compound type, the pattern is not repeated for all beats, thus:
EXAMPLE

74

Ir c:J
B. EXERCISES

a)

r--r

Q:r

Ir;r g:rrQ

b)

r------l

Write many patterns, simple and compound, employing no unit smaller than a sixteenth note, of the following regular subdivision rhythms:

68 1. 2. 3. 4. Two equal beats in: 3/4,5/4,9/8. (Solution in Appendix II) Three equal beats in: 2/4, 4/4, 6/8, 12/8, 15/8. Four equal beats in: 3/4,5/4. Six equal beats in: 3/2,4/4, 12/8.

With these two sets of preliminary exercises, the groundwork is now laid for the application of regular subdivision in actual composition. This application is also twofold: rhythmic and melodic. In the purely rhythmic aspect, we shall work with figurations, thereby incorporating the elements of pulse, beat, and unit into one unified whole. The three steps, therefore, in learning to apply a rhythmic principle are: 1) beats 2) patterns 3) figurations. In the tabulation of regular subdivision beats we completed the first step, and in the devising of patterns we completed the second step. Now we shall deal with the third and final step. The matter of figurations was first presented in the second set of exercises of Chapter 1. Employing regular subdivision in a figuration simply means utilizing meter, pace, accent and pattern in harmonic dress in order to present the particular rhythm. For example, to present the 2-beat regular subdivision of 3/4, the following figurations would be possible:
EXAMPLE

75
a) Andante

r::::::J
~

; r' p=r "'= i ty?


021<8 rhythm

d) Tranquillo

69 The points to bear in mind are: 1. The figuration should be considered as an accompanying figure, although it can be made sufficiently significant and interesting to be the actual musical idea of a composition. 2. It may be for left hand alone, right hand alone, or both hands (for piano, of course). 3. Any pattern of the same rhythm may be used. Try not to repeat a pattern: there are numerous possibilities. Use both simple and compound regular and irregular." 4. A two-hand figuration may have the same rhythm in both hands, or one hand may maintain the purely metrical rhythm. (See the two versions of Ex. 75d.) 5. The regular subdivision rhythm should be clear in your mind and should be designated by brackets. 6. Think in the new meter, but write the correct notation metrically. Note that in Example 75 the figurations are actually in 6/8, and to conceive them one must think in 6/8, although the notation is always in 3/4. 7. Think in musical terms; that is, think of mood, pace, dynamics, phrasing, etc. Exercises which are thought of as exercises and nothing more, are of little worth. 8. The figurations must be practical. They must be so written that no superhuman effort, physical or mental, is necessary to bring out the rhythm. The mere playing of the notes, with no aid from foot-beating or mental counting, should be sufficient to execute the rhythm. 9. The rhythm must be clearly audible and not merely look right on paper. In other words, the intention and the actual result must be one and the same in sound. 10. Employ as many types of accent as possible, and do not constantly rely on the dynamic accent alone. Note in Example 75 the agogic accent in (a) (b) and (e); the weight and pitch accents in (c) and (f), the pattern accent in (d).

3. Remember that regular subdivision is concerned with equal beats, not patterns. Therefore, although an irregular pattern may be employed, it remains regular subdivision as long as the measure is divided into equal beats. In the Chopin Etude Op. 25 No. 12, the pattern is irregular (3 + 3 + 2) for each half note, but the measure is divided into 2 equal beats: the rhythm is, consequently, regular subdivision.

70
C. EXERCISES

Write several figurations for each of the following rhythms:


1. 3/4 a) 2. 6/S a) 3.

J.
J )

b) b) b) b) b) b) b)

~A a)
a)

.h J .J._.)8.J __ .J a.t_.J

nnn. -n.n.
~lJ

4. 514

5. 12/S a) 6. 9/S a) 7. 15/S a)

J nJ --J. )lJ J )l J. J. .r.-:I. J. J.:_.J

---- ~UU. -

J '8' J aJ ....._.... r: n .r:-l._.J ....._.... J )l)lJ J )l)lJ > r.-:J. .r.-:l. ~ . J. .r.-:J. J . ...___

~_PJ
-

:>

The principle of extrametrical subdivision may be applied as a purely rhythmic basis in the accompanying figure, as was done in the preceding exercises, or in the melodic aspect of a composition, or in both. (It is understood that in any case the harmonic plan coincides with the rhythmic plan.) When it is applied to both the elements of rhythm and melody, the effect is one of a complete change of meter. As a general rule, therefore, it is more effective when applied to only one of the elements, the other either maintaining the normal metrical rhythm or presenting still another extrametrical subdivision. This latter method will be discussed in the chapter on Polymeters. There are two methods for the melodic application of regular subdivision: simple and mixed. In the simple method only one regular subdivision, either in a single or varying pattern, is used throughout the melody. (In the varying pattern, the simple beats may also be used; among various patterns of those same beats.) The Chopin Waltz in A flat (Example 7) is a specimen of the simple melodic application. Here are several others:
EXAMPLE

76 No.2 - Brahms

a. 1st Movement of Symphony =6/8 __

_luff 15£1(£ I [Tr rIDI [T[ r!jl


from Fantasiestiicke, Op, 12 - Schumann
=3/4
>~

OJ)

dJ]
""'--'"

b. "Aufschwung"

~ i"l,b

Rf

r t YIF]?w

71
c. 1st Movement of Symphony
'3/4

No.5 - Tchaikovsky

~ ~n r g Fe: clfiC @t r~E2f151


L-..J
L..J
L._j

¥04: ITt: r'1'r

,he Y!,1 «r1 I

d. Fetes from "3 Nocturnes" - Debussy

_ Il hf hy
© Frornont-1914, Used by permission

=3/'

hf
.Iohert-I!l30 (Full Score).

Jobert-1948 (Piano Solol-© Frornont-1909, of Jean jobcrt, Editcur, Paris.

e. 4th Movement of Symphony

No.3 - Brahms

4 n".,; t J r~r'r
!

, 6/4.

r-:9"

I; 1 J

IF'

r--;;"f

rPm '-e

"

~.

r-r rIDr-r r pJ
~~

f. Melodic Line of Exaniple 6$0 - Villa-Lobos

.'T_Jl~!;W.1
=6/4. Copyright all countries. 1927, renewed 1955, by Editions Used by permIssion. Max Eschig, proprietor of the copyright for

The second method employs several regular subdivisions (of the same meter), including the traditionally metrical one. An elementary application of this method is the interchange of binary and ternary meters, i.e. triplets in a binary meter or duplets in a ternary meter. Sometimes the interchange occurs for only a part of the measure.
EXAMPLE

77

a. Mandoline - Debussy

~ ~# • R

ijf21r:2'
'i ~
bina.ry

P ~ 1 r'

terna.ry
&: Cie, Paris. France, copyright

Copyrig-ht 190.F}. Permission for reprint granted by Durand owner; Elkan-Vogel Co., Inc., Philadelphia, Pa., agents.

h. "Green" from "Aquarelles" - Debussy

~!'I,bb!'

n,.

'2'

js

p pip

'2'

'f"21

bina.ry © FI'01110nt-1913, .Iobert-1946.

terna.ry

~,r

P BJ 1 r' J
of Jean Jobert, Editeur,

Used by permission

Paris.

72
c. Prelude, Op, 16 No. - Scriabine

, &"IMI
Copyright sole agents. by Editions

bin8,ry

n na I
8
ternary Belaieff.

D
by

OJ I J
ternary of

JJI
&

binary

M. P.

Used

permission

Boosey

Hawkes,

Inc.,

But as we know, regular subdivision can be extended beyond the mere interchange of binary and ternary meters, The following are several examples of this extension:
EXAMPLE

78

a. Part 1from "Le Callier Romand" - Honegger

, I ir
Copyright 1923, copyright Snlabert , Paris.

b1

= 12/16

I~ctrberI&r'
Senart . Used by pcrmisvion of Editions

renewed

by Editions

b. Berceuse, Op. 57 - Chopin

~ b"'h~

_,$IE rfff
= 18/16
?

= 3/4-

fit

EC fEf
'-----l

'-----l

r" f f r r
t.___j

c. Nocturne, Op. 9 No.3 - Chopin

4~ijij.1!n rSc!rpr[

r#fl 'i'C r¥k

r4

PNjllrT"C
4.

rrtCtr

d. Valse, Op. 64 No.1 - Chopin


=12/16

r Irrrr

P.C.

4 i_I

Andante

P.C.
=6/8

ciil;pi riP_I[" 1i5tt6l#Ctl:W I r


8 8 6' 6'

=3/4.

:12/16

73
The exercises which follow are not only for the purpose of mastering the melodic application of regular subdivision, but also as a preparation for the use of multirhythms.

D. EXERCISES
1. Write several melodies of from 6 to 8 measures in length, simple (as in Ex. 76 (a) or (d)) or florid (as in Ex. 78 (b) or (c)) in one extra-metrical regular subdivision rhythm throughout (as in Example 76) in the following meters: 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8, 5/4. 2. Write several melodies, 6 to 8 measures long; alternating traditional and extra-metrical regular subdivision, interchanging binary and ternary meters of the type in Example 77, in: 2/4, 6/8, 9/8. 3. Write several melodies, 6 to 8 measures long, simple or florid, employing varying regular subdivisions (traditional and extrametrical) of the type in Example 78, in: 3/4, 4/4, 9/8, 12/8, 5/4. A final group of exercises is a combination of the preceding two groups: both rhythmic and melodic application in one example. 'Write several short pieces for piano, not less than 12 measures in length, utilizing extrametrical regular subdivision in one hand and traditionally metrical regular subdivision in the other. The pieces may be no more than a melody-with-accompaniment idea, and the extra-metrical rhythm must be in the melody for some examples, and in the accompaniment for others. The easiest kind to do at first is that which contains a binary subdivision in one hand and a ternary in the other, as in the following specimens:

EXAMPLE

79

a, Nocturne, Op. 32 No.2 - Chopin

74
b. Variation II from "Toccata et Variations pour Piano" - Honegger

"'""Y

c. No.3 of "Klaoierstiicke, Op. 3" - Kodaly

binary With permission of the original publisher, Editio Musica, Budapest.

d. ''ALI' die alie M.utter"from "Gypsy Songs," Op, 55 - Dvorak

Andante can moto

f. Prelude, Op, 13 No.2 - Scriabine Allegro

The above Scriablne excerpts are copyright of Boosev & Hawkes, Inc., sale agents.

by Editions

M. P. Belaieff.

Used

by permission

75
Then try the really extrametrical rhythms: 2 or 4 beats against 3 pulses, 3 beats against 2 pulses, etc. as in the following examples:
EXAMPLE

80

a. 2nd Movement of P'iano Concerto - Ravel

Adagio assar

Copyright 1932. Permission for reprint granted by Durand owner; Elkan-Vogcl Co., Inc" Philadelphia. POl., agents.

&:

Cic, Par-in. FI',H1ce, copyright

b. Saudades das Selvas Brasileiras - Villa-Lob os

~~:::£ij11!~:; 1:;:;]
~..__.. -.3/2'_' --

c. 0 l obosinho de oulro from "Prole do bibe" - Villa-Lobos

The above Villa-Lobos excerpts copyright proprietor of the copyright [or all countries.

d. Prelude, Op. 38 No.2 - Creston

-r ll::;::iSitl;Wi£ZI:;:1
!T,"n~l ~
6/4 (ThiS rhythm is ma in tai ned throughout the piece)

1927, renewed H)5[). by Editions Used by permission.

Max

Eschig,

1946 by Leeds Music Corporation, by permission. All rights reserved.

322 West 48th

Street, New York :Hi. N. Y. Reprinted

76
CHAPTER FOUR

Second Structure: Irregular Subdivision


MUSICIANS REALIZED LONG AGO THAT CONTINUOUS REGULARITY IN

music results in monotony. By some means or other, therefore, the principle of irregularity was applied, The two terms "regular" and "irregular" will be found in various aspects of musical composition, but primarily and most naturally in the rhythmic. Irregular Subdivision, in rhythm, is the organization of a measure into unequal beats, i.e., beats of differing duration. The principle is inherent in unusual meters like 514 and 7/4. In 5/4, for example, the meter is rarely conceived as a group of five equal pulses, but rather most often arranged as 3 2 or 2 3, with the first pulse of each group stronger than the others. However, true irregular subdivision is not concerned with the irregular grouping of equal pulses, but the organization of unequal beats through units. Let us examine the probable origin of this rhythmic structure. In subdividing the pulses of 4/4 meter into primary units of eighth notes, the traditional grouping is 4 x 2: The earliest composers realized, however, that these 8 units could be grouped in various ways without vitiating the fundamental pulses. The first grouping which suggested itself was: ~Mor '-J 3 3 2. Of all irregular subdivisional rhythms, \--rl this one has always been the favorite. It is found in the music of Greece, China and India, and in our own Western music from mediaeval times to the present; it is, incidentally, the basic rhythms of the Cuban rumba.

n n n n.

L--.J

++

In the following examples, note the three different notations for this 3 3 2 rhythm: (1) pulses-4/2 or 4/4, (2) primary units-8/S, and (3) rhythmic structure- 3 + : + 2.• There may be some justification for the 8/8 of the Ravel example, but there is none for the Bartok 3 + ~+ 2, ) even though

++

77
that structure is maintained throughout the composition. If a metrical signature is to include the various rhythmic structures in a work, the first page of many compositions would present a most perplexing sight. Curt Sachs in "Rhythm and Tempo" mentions the "probably unsurpassed signature 3 + 2 + 3 + 2 +2+3+2+2+2+3+2+2+3+2+3+3+2+ 3 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 2 quarters." (For whatever value the information may have, this curiosity is found in a composition by one Daniel Jones.)
EXAMPLE

81

a. Missa. "Pangue Lingii,a - [osquin des Pres

b. 1st Movement from Trio pour Piano, Violon et Violoncelle - Ravel

Copyright 1915. Permission owner; Elkan-Vogel Co., Inc.,

for reprint granted by Durand Philadelphia, Pa., agents.

&

Cie, Paris,

France,

copyright '

c. Mikrokosmos, No. 153, Vol. VI - Bartok

Copyright

1940 by Hawkes

&

Son

(London)

Ltd.

Used by permission.

d. 1st Movement of St'l'ing Quartet No. <1 - Bartok

Copyright 1929 by Universal Edition. Renewed IgoO, Cop)'I'ighl and Renewal assigned 1,0 Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. for U,S,A. Copyright all other countries by Universal Edit ion. Used by permission. .

78
e. 1st Movement of Symphony No.4 - Creston

~1F'"ftrlF'Rr
Property of G. Ricordi

I"fttr

Ir'ftNcl

&: Co., New York.

Applying the principle involved, other arrangements of these 8 units in 414 are possible, In 2 unequal beats, we could have 5 + 3 and 3 + 5; and in 3 unequal beats besides the 3 + 3 + 2, there would be 3 + 2 + 3 and 2 + 3 + 3.
EXAMPLE 82

a. A Rumor, Op, 27 - Creston

Used by permission

of G. Schirmer,

Inc.

b, 0 gatinho de papel{i.o from "Prole de bebe" - Villa-Lob as

~tr R
<I 5 Copyright all countries.

I #F'

<I

rr
IS

If R r
Max Eschig,

5+3+2

3+5

IIIF'

R
copyright for

1927, renewed 1955, by Editions Used by permission.

proprietor

of the

c. 1st Movement from Trio pour Piano, Violon et Violoncelle - Ravel

Copyright 1915. Permission owner; Elkan-Vogel Co., Inc.,

for reprint granted by Durand Philadelphia, Pa .• agents.

I\: Cie,

Paris,

France,

copyright

d. 1st Movement of Somite pOUTElate, Alto et Harpe - Debussy

''_/

. Cn~yri~ht 191 G. Permission 0\\ ncr, Elknn.Vogal Co., Inc.,

for ,rcprint .granted Philadelphia, Pa.,

by Durand agents.

&:

Cie, Paris,

Fruncc,

copyright

79
e. 4th Movement of Concerto [or Orchestra - Bartok

Copyright

1946 by Hawkes

&

Son (London).

Ltd.

Used by permission.

f. A Rumor, Op. 27 - Creston

Used by permission

of G. Schirmer.

Inc.

g. 1st Movement of Symphony

No.4 - Creston

Property

of G. Ricordi

&

Co., New York.

In Example 82a, the regularity of the pattern does not alter the irregularity of the primary unit grouping. As the principle of regular subdivision exemplified in the hemiola can be extended to all meters, so the principle of irregular subdivision exemplified in the 3 3 2 grouping can be Similarly extended. Let us calculate some of the possibilities with another meter: 9/8. There are 9 primary units in the measure: and these may be irregularly grouped as: 2 unequal beats-5 4 or 4 5; 3 unequal beats-4 3 2, 4 2 3, 2 4 3 or 2 3 4; 4 unequal beats-3 2 2 2 or 2 2 3 2, etc. The following example presents several illustrations.

++

mmm
++

+ + ++ ++ + +++ +++

EXAMPLE

83

a. Mtkrokosmos, No. 103, Vol. IV - Bartok

Copyright

1940 by Hawkes

&

Son (London)

Ltd.

Used by per-miss inn.

80
b. Sonata No. 10 for Piano, Op. 70 - Scriabine

With

permission

of the original

publisher,

Rob.

Forbcrg,

Bad Godcsbcrg.

c.2nd Movement

of Symphony

No.4
4

~~hJ JUJjJJtJJ3W dJJ1JjJ JdJ


~::>~>-...._.... Property of G. Ricordi
&

a!

- Creston +

Co., New York.

d. Prel-ude, Op. 11 No. 16 - Scriabine

~ ~b'hwa .,
Copyright sole agents. by Editions

=9/8

ijf I Us
J
3
.j.

DL @J I tiJ
2

ijJ I
4, &

M. P. Bclaieff.

Used

by permission

of Booscy

Hawkes,

Inc.,

e. Mikl'okosmos,

No. 148, Vol. VI - Bartok

Copyright

1940 by Hawkes

&

Son (London),

Ltd.

Used by permission.

f. Lst Movement

of Symphony

No.4

- Tchatkovsky

g. Finale of Piano Sonata No.1,

Op, 1 - Brahms

h. 1st Movement

of Piano Sonata No.1,

~ g!,,~a!:
Copyright sale agents. by Editions M. P. Belaleff,

1 tfffU
L._j

Op. 6 - Scriabine

L.......J L..J L...J 8+2+2+ Used

by permission

of Boosey

&

Hawkes,

Inc.,

81
I, Lsi Movement of Symphony No.3, Op. 48 - Creston

~ ~"tfEi1c r ~tE±f I~rI.e r e r ft"


T+~+~
lJsed by courtesy Gap., 1' a. o[ the publisher, Templeton 1\ Publishing

+T
Co., Inc., Delaware Water

Although Example 83d is written as a metrical sequence of 5/8:4/8, it is in reality 9/8 with an irregular subdivision of its 9 primary units; and, of course, the 9116 of 83b is correctly conceived through primary units and not different from a 9/8 meter. At this point, several characteristics of irregular subdivision should be noted: 1. Whereas regular subdivision deals with divisive rhythms (3 x 2, 4 x 3, etc.), irregular subdivision deals with additive rhythms (3 3 2, 4 3 2, etc.). 2. Irregular subdivision does not mean that all beats are unequal to each other when there are three or more. As long as there is one beat which is unequal to the others, it is irregular. One may have 3 3 2 or 3 2 2 2 and the rhythm would still be irregular. 3. Any number of units may be grouped unequally except 2,3,4 and 6, for various reasons. First, no beat can be as small as a unit. This requires a little clarification: A single beat or a single pulse cannot express rhythm; there must be at least 2 beats in order to measure the duration. Consequently, there can be no 1/4 or 1/2 meter. Where certain composers have illogically inserted a 1/8 or 114 measure in the course of a composition, that 1/8 or 1/4 properly belongs to the preceding measure and does not exist as an entity in itself. Since a measure must contain at least 2 pulses, and a pulse consist of at least 2 primary units, so must any beat be equivalent to at least 2 units. For this reason, neither 2 nor 3 units may be grouped unequally, the only obtainable groupings being 1 1 and 2 1. Second, with 4 or 6 units, the only possible groupings would be, respectively: 2 2 (3 1 already being excluded) and 3 3 or 2 2 2, both of which are regular. 4. There must be at least 1 beat which is not an equal divisor of another. In a rhythm such as 4 3 2, the 2 unit

++

++

++

+++

++

++

82 beat is an equal divisor of the 4 unit beat, but the 3 unit beat is not, thereby creating irregularity. However in rhythms such as: 6/8 divided into 4 + 2, 4/4 into 4 + 2 + 2, 9/8 into 6 + 3, or 12/8 into 6 + 3 + 3, although the beats are of differing lengths, the smaller beat is but an equal divisor of the larger, resulting in a perfectly subdivisional rhythm. The same would apply to a rhythm such as: 18/16 = 9 + 6 + 3, where the 3 unit beat is exactly 1/3 the 9 unit beat, as well as 1/2 the 6 unit beat. This may seem an obvious fact to many, but it is surprising how often a composer will write what appears to be an irregular rhythm but is, in reality, regular. In the Ravel Trio already quoted from, there occurs a section seemingly still based on the 3 + 2 + 3 rhythm of Example 82c.
EXAMPLE 84

Lst Movement of Trio pour Piano, Violon et Violoncelle - Ravel

intention:

~ ~em-i:ftG1EUfhlG
3"t 2 + 3

I@~WII
&: Cie, Paris. France, copyright

Copyright 1915. Permission for reprint granted by Durand owner; Elkan- Vogel Co., Inc., Philadelphia, Pa., agents.

However, in actual sound, this passage is really a regular


4 x 2.
EXAMPLE

85

Idem-

Ravel

i4ioAr
actually: 4>( 2

~.

e II

A similarly unfulfilled intention is found in the first movement of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra (Example 86). The intention is a 3 + 3 + 2 rhythm, unnecessarily notated as a metrical sequence. The result, in sound, is a simple 4/4.
EXAMPLE 86

1st Movement of Concerto for Orchestra - Bartok

mtenhon: result;

.'n.SltE7Isbt Iltr¥ifI't§21Is.r
3

4 t "'0 11r I
.,...--:::::--. .-.-,bCopyright

4/4

b~-rb'--

r efbd:t ~t9.r
Ltd, Used by permission.

1946 by Hawkes &: Son (London)

83 Once more it must be stressed that "the intention and the actual result must be one and the same in sound." By extension, the principle of irregular subdivision may be applied to secondary, tertiary and even extrametrical, as well as primary, units.' Otherwise, 2/4, 6/8 and 3/4 could not be governed by this principle, thereby lessening its validity. Just as regular subdivision is applicable to all meters, so is irregular subdivision. By means of secondary units, we can obtain 8 units in 2/4, and 12 units in 3/4 and 6/8, both of which (i.e. the 8 and 12 units) are applicable in irregular subdivision. Tertiary units in 2/4 would equal 16, and in 3/4 and 6/8, 24. Extrametrical subdivision would give us 12 units in 2/4,9 units in 3/4 and 8 (secondary extrametrical) in 6/8. The following are several illustrations of irregular subdivision:
EXAMPLE secondary

87
unit.

i JJJ!JJJJ
ter t l ary units

III

JJJJJJJJJJJJlla

JJJJJJJJJJJJ

II

i j 333 J 333JillJ J J 3J J IIij

J J J J J j j j J j Jill J j j j J j J J J J J 3 II

~ JjJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJjJJJJJJIl
extr2l.metricP.l

-I J JJ JJ J JJ JJ J J II ij J J J J J J J J J IIB J. J. J J 13:1aa
EXAMPLE

88
3
f 1)

a. Suite from the Ballet "The Incredible Flutist" - Piston

=4;mUiiQII
> >~ Copyright 1939 by Associated Music Publishers, Inc. Used by permission.

1. By extrametricaI units is meant a subdivision not normally implied in the meter, e.g. ternary units in a binary meter, 2/4 or binary ., units in a ternary meter, 6/8 To be more specific: in 2/4 the primary units are the primary extrarnetrical the secondary

.fffl ~

nn ,

n.n..

and the secondary extrametrical ~

mm
~,etc.

IfJJfJ

84
b. A baratinha de papel from "Prole do beblf' - Villa-Lobos

Copyright all cou ntrles,

1927, renewed. 1~55, by Editions Used by permission.

Max

Eschig,

proprietor

of the copyright

for

c. Two-Part Inventions,

No.5 - Creston

Copvright

1946. Used by permission

of G. Schirmer,

Inc.

d. 1st Movement of Symphony

No.4 - Creston

Property

of G. Ricordi

&

Co., New York.

In diagramming an irregular rhythm, the same three elements of a meter are included as in regular subdivision, namely: pulses, beats, units. The 3 + 3 + 2 grouping, therefore, would appear thus:
EXAMPLE

89
UNITS lHIAIS PULSES

Returning to 4/4 meter, let us calculate the possibilities with secondary and extrametrical units in 2, 3, and 4 unequal beats. There are 16 secondary units in 4/4, and in 2 unequal beats we would have 9 + 7 and 7 + 9:

Jffl.1ffl Jffl Jffl


9

and jffl jffl jffl Jffl which, translated into simple beats, would be: d_.f.I...:_J and J.. ~J . Completing the tabulation, the following rhythms are obtainable.
7 +' 9 '

85
90
+ 7 f 10+6 11

EXAMPLE

TWO BEATS
9

EEl' -= U l . lI;Pp F' IIr=-Ul

~hEkr.tEm
888 8

secondary units_

THR.EE BEATS

secondary units-

r"
4

7f5+4

~1' r II r"
7

7+6+36+5+15

rr--g'
+
2>1-

IIF'

FEll

II r

8+15+3

U'lI

extrametrioa.l-

r-rpl r ::il.
5

+3

IIr=p 8 r7p8r I

FOUR BEATS 6f 5 + 3 + 2 seoondary units-

----

F' pEtta II F' pCU1F'

6+4 +3+3

1\

r=utrtJ
4+3+3+2

5+

5 + 4.

II

r'*&fUpu, II

5+

4+

r-U""go;r

5+5+3+3

"r=r.'1¢la fF extr~etri~l_4__

5+8+2t2

r "r=p ..2.,.ii..!!- r ~ r " r=p

It is understood that any of these figures may be rearranged: 7 -I- 5 -I- 4 may also be: 7 -I- 4 -I- 5,5 -I- 4 -I- 7, 5 -I- 7 -I- 4, 4 -I- 5 -I- 7 or 4 -I- 7 -I- 5. The 8 -I- 5 -I- 3 subdivision is not irregular in the true sense of the term, It is a subdivision of the measure into 2 equal beats, 8 -I- 8, with the second 8 unit beat again subdivided into 5 -I- 3, which is really a regular subdivision with an irregular pattern. (See footnote, page 69, and remarks later on regarding "mixed rhythms," Example 97.) For a different reason, those rhythms marked (~) are possibilities but not recommended because there should not be too great a difference between the largest and the smallest beat. As a general rule, the largest beat should be less than three times the smallest. How many beats are possible in a measure through irregular subdivision? This is dependent on two factors: the number of pulses and the pace. It is a guiding principle in rhythm that accents should be neither too many nor too few. Too many accents diminish the rhythmic value of the accent and too

86
few result in a loose rhythmic structure. Normally, the number of irregular beats should be limited to 1 more than the number of pulses; e.g., 4 beats in 3/4, 5 beats in 4/4, etc. A very slow pace and a subdivision of tertiary or even smaller units, would allow for 1 or 2 additional beats. The following example, from Piston's Second Symphony, has two different arrangements of 5 beats in 8/8 (which is equivalent to 4 pulses or 4/4) calculated from secondary units. Note that the largest beat, 5, is less than three times the smallest, 2.
EXAMPLE

91

Symphony No.2 - Piston

Copyright

1945 by Associated

Music

Publishers.

Inc. Used

by permission.

Sometimes a rhythm which is obviously irregular in structure is nevertheless difficult to analyze. The reason for this is that, within the single measure, two different units apparently are employed, one of these units being extrametrical. Observe the following example:
EXAMPLE

92

1st Movement of Symphony No.2 - Creston


9t 7
1"

~I
Copyright

r ftJlfp r s:
~
tl ~

II
Inc.

1954. Used by permission

of G. Schirmer,

You will note that the subdivision is marked 9 7 8. How is this arrived at? The first half of the measure is based on primary units, 2 to a pulse ( while the second half is based on primary extrametrical units, 3 to aspulse ( The common unit for these two is 6 (or J J J J J J ) to a pulse (quarter note). The first note, (D), therefore equals 1 and 1/2 pulses or 9 units, the (B) equals 1/2 pulse (3 of the 6 units) plus 2/3 pulse (4 of the 6 units) or 7 units, etc. A diagram will facilitate this analysis:

++

nn )

m m ).

87
EXAMPLE

93

Idem

This seeming dualism is but an extension of the practice, in regular subdivision, of mixing binary and ternary units within the same measure. Actually, there are not two different units but the one common unit for the two, in this case, the secondary extrametrical units, 6 to a pulse. The size of the beats, though designated by such numbers as 7, 8 and 9, is not unduly large. • Lest the student be confused, he is reminded that pattern, in addition to simple beats, is involved in irregular subdivision as it is in regular subdivision. In Example 83b, for instance, the 2 unit beat is a simple beat, the 4 unit beat has a pattern of 2 notes, and the 3 unit beat has a pattern of 3 notes. As with regular subdivision, there is a limit to the possibilities in irregular subdivision, and a further limit in the number of truly effective rhythms. To return to 414 meter, there are, in the secondary extrametrical subdivision, 6 units to a pulse or IS' IS' IS' IS' 24 to a measure: ~~~.fffiT.l. In 2 unequal beats, the possibilities are: 13 11, 14 10, 15 9 and 17 7, (16 8 being regular). The 14 10 is reducible to 7 ~ 5,;;.wh1ch a grouping of the primary extra1s metrical units:

+ +

and the 15 9 is reducible to 5 the primary units:

mm m m
nnnn
L..___j '---J

+ 3, which

is a grouping of

EXAMPLE

94 a.

(1

(1

8'

14-

8'
1

[6

(I

8'

10

8'

I)

88

c.

13

11

This leaves the 17 7 and the 13 11 groupings. Of the two, the latter is useful, but the former is questionable because of the great difference in length of beats. Before proceeding further, a little advice is well in order. The student must not think that mastery of irregular subdivision involves complex mathematical computations. (The degree of complexity, moreover, is dependent on the composer's personal taste; this author prefers simplicity). The calculations and tables treated of in this chapter, like all exercises in this book, are for the sole purpose of developing the rhythmic sense, which is much more necessary than rhythmic knowledge. As Margaret Glyn wisely reminds us ("Theory of Musical Evolution"): "It is important to remember that each rhythmic unit was once a rhythmic creation, produced out of the need for articulate expression." In this respect, the student's preoccupation should be not so much with highly involved calculations but with the absorption of rhythmic principles into the anatomy of his music. Every rhythm, therefore, should be lived with in a musical manner until it becomes a quasi-instinctive impulse. One method of absorption is this: play the new rhythm at the piano in the Simplest form, while sounding the metrical pulse. The following examples illustrate this method with several irregular sub divisional rhythms already mentioned.

89
EXAMPLE

95

a) Allegro

I~

"

3+3+2

~.
(simple

~"!""

...

be a t s)

b) Allegro
G
c-

.... +:>-"' > pat ter n )

(simple

4:>4

~. 1'~'''''~

repeat

s e ve r a I t ime s

c) Andante

d) Allegretto

The application of a principle in figurations, as already practised with regular subdivision, is another method of developing the rhythmic sense. Two conditions should be considered in the selection of an effective irregular rhythm. The first is the place at which the largest beat occurs, and the second is the order of the beats. In both regular and irregular subdivision, the bar line has an importance which should be acknowledged. (This is not true of the other three structures dealt with in later chapters.) Normally, therefore, the first pulse should be more prominent than the others. In irregular subdivision, this is accomplished by placing the largest beat on the first pulse. As to the preferred order of beats, this is effected by the avoidance, as much as possible, of synchronous beats and pulses other than the first pulse and beat. Now, we have in 9/8, in 3 unequal beats, the following possibilities: 4 3 2, 4 2 3, 2 3 4, 2 4 3. Let us diagram these rhythms.

++

++

++

++

90
EXAMPLE

96

Example (d) has the smallest beat on the first pulse and a synchronous beat and pulse on the third pulse, thereby not satisfying either of the two conditions. Example (c) has the non-synchronization of beat and pulse, but again the smallest beat occurs on the first pulse. Example (b) has the largest beat on the first pulse, which is good, but a synchronous beat-pulse on the third pulse. This leaves only Example (a) as satisfying both conditions. It must not be assumed, however, that the other three arrangements are unusable. One must simply remember that an arrangement obeying the two conditions is the norm and preferable, and a departure from that norm must be considered in its relation to the musical context and expression. The 4 3 2 is prefe-rable ... not mandatory. A third condition might be mentioned in the selection of an irregular rhythm, which applies to those rhythms derived from tertiary units. This condition is that there be an appreciable difference in the lengths of beats. As an example: there are 36 tertiary units in 9/8 (32nd notes). In 2 unequal beats, a 19 17 would differ slightly from 2 equal beats J..:_..I.:l). in the lengths of beats. The same would apply to a three-beat rhythm such as: 13 12 11. For this reason, it is wiser to rely on tertiary units only in exceptional cases, even in slow pace. Differently expressed, it is advisable to limit the number of units in a measure to 24.

++

tL4JJ·

A. EXERCISES2
1. Devise many rhythms, in 2 unequal beats, notated in simple beats, utilizing primary, primary extra-metrical, secondary and secondary extra-metrical units (but not more than 24 units in a measure) in the following meters: 2/4,3/4,4/4,5/4,6/8,9/8, 12/8 and 15/8. 2. Do the same in 3 unequal beats in: 2/4,3/4,.4/4, 5/4,9/8 and 12/8.
2. Solutions in Appendix II.