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Hearing in TimePsychological Aspects of Musical Meter$
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Justin London

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195160819

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195160819.001.0001

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Metric Representations and Metric Well-Formedness

Metric Representations and Metric Well-Formedness

(p.60) 4 Metric Representations and Metric Well-Formedness
Hearing in Time

Justin London

Oxford University Press

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

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