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Language and Music as Cognitive Systems$
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Patrick Rebuschat, Martin Rohmeier, John A. Hawkins, and Ian Cross

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553426.001.0001

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Grouping in the stressing of words, in metrical verse, and in music

Grouping in the stressing of words, in metrical verse, and in music

(p.4) Chapter 2 Grouping in the stressing of words, in metrical verse, and in music
Language and Music as Cognitive Systems

Nigel Fabb

Morris Halle

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that computations of the same kind determine the well-formedness of certain structures in language, metrical verse, and music. In all three domains, elements are organized into groups (pairs and triplets) which are themselves organized into groups (and so on). When stress is placed in words, syllables are grouped; syllables are also grouped when the metricality of a line is determined; and in the metrical organization of music, timing slots are grouped. Grouping is accomplished by a set of iterative rules, which generate a bracketed grid from the initial material. Specific aspects of the word, metrical line, or piece of music are controlled with reference to particular features of the metrical grid. The first three parts of the chapter introduce the iterative rules, and show how they explain the distribution of stress in a word, and show how in metrical verse they both control the length of the line as well as its rhythm. The fourth part discusses the grids assigned by Lerdahl and Jackendoff to music, and shows that these grids can be generated by the same iterative rules as are used in language and poetic metre.

Keywords:   stress, language, metrical verse, music, poetic metre, iterative rules, metrical grids

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