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Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era$
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Roger Mathew Grant

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367283

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367283.001.0001

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The Persistent Question of Meter

The Persistent Question of Meter

(p.209) Chapter Eight The Persistent Question of Meter
Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era

Roger Mathew Grant

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on integrated metric shifts: ways of changing the meter of the music mid-composition without altering the tempo, character, or intended affect. This compositional innovation was an outgrowth of meter's conceptual divorce from the tempo giusto relationships that had once bound it intimately with character and tempo. By the early nineteenth century, meter had become a flexible way of attending that did not have a fixed relationship to the notated measure, while tempo had become the calculable dimension of musical temporality in the numerals of Maelzels metronome. It should be no surprise, then, that some of the most famous integrated metric shifts were composed by a passionate advocate of the metronome and a composer that experimented with hypermeter: Beethoven. This chapter demonstrates that the twenty-first-century questions concerning hypermeter and metric dissonance were first formulated and made possible by late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century music and music theory.

Keywords:   integrated metric shifts, hypermeter, character, Haydn, Mozart, Spohr, Beethoven, Boieldieu, Fétis

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