Metric Representations and Metric Well-Formedness

Justin London

in Hearing in Time

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195160819
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786763 | DOI:
Metric Representations and Metric Well-Formedness

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A cyclical, time-continuous representation for meter is given. Rapid periodicities are marked on the outer rim of a circle, while slower periodicities (i.e., “higher” metrical levels) are drawn within it. Various notions of metric well-formedness are then considered. Five well-formedness constraints are proposed, involving (a) limits on the fastest and slowest possible periodicities that may be metrically salient; (b) that all component periodicities be continuous and coordinated; and (c) that each metrical level must involve periodicities in the same temporal range. A particular organization of metrical cycles is a metrical type, which may be distinguished by the number of periodicities they involve (metric depth) and their interrelationships. The music-theoretic distinction between meter and hypermeter is subsumed under the notion of metrical type. Metrical types can further be distinguished by tempo.

Keywords: metrical cycle; periodicities; tempo; metrical type; hypermeter

Chapter.  6697 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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