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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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Metre is music: a reply to Fabb and Halle

Metre is music: a reply to Fabb and Halle

(p.43) Chapter 5 Metre is music: a reply to Fabb and Halle
Language and Music as Cognitive Systems

Bert Vaux

Neil Myler

Oxford University Press

This chapter makes additional comments on the discussion in Chapter 2. The theory of metrification presented by Fabb and Halle (F&H) seems to be flawed in a number of respects. At the root of the problem is F&H's assumption that metrical structure is projected from the surface syllables of a linguistic text. It is argued that an alternative view not discussed by F&H is superior. This view — shared in its essentials by Kiparsky (1991), Lerdahl (2001), Hanson (2006), J. Halle (2008), and Deo (2007) among others — holds that metrification proceeds via the mapping of linguistic structures onto a pre-determined metrical template. It is shown that this view leads to more natural accounts of many of the relevant phenomena, especially with regard to mismatches between text and metrical structure, such as catalexis, anacrusis, anceps, and syncopation. This alternative has the advantage of allowing for poetic and musical metre and performance to be accounted for with a unified set of straightforward mechanisms. It is argued, contra the fourth section of F&H, that this is a desirable and feasible move.

Keywords:   metrification, language, music, metrical structure, linguistic structure, poetic metre, musical metre

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