The chapter begins with a consideration of metric ambiguity. In some cases, a melody or rhythm may be construed in more than one metric framework (metric malleability). In other cases, a passage may contradict the established metric context (syncopation, hemiola, and polyrhythms). If the mismatches between the listener's established meter and rhythmic pattern continue long enough, his or her meter may change by shifting the phase of one (or more) metrical cycles, by changing the period of one or more metrical cycles, or both. Differences between metric ambiguity in western versus non-western musical contexts are discussed. The chapter concludes with a consideration of “metric dissonance”. It argues that such dissonances cannot derive from hearing two meters at the same time, based on psychological studies of figure/ground perception.
Keywords: metric ambiguity; metric malleability; hemiola; syncopation; phase-resetting; period resetting; metric dissonance
Chapter. 3913 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis
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