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Encyclopedia > Metre (music)

Metre or meter (US) is the measurement of a musical line into measures of stressed and unstressed "beats", indicated in Western music notation by a symbol called a time signature. Properly, "metre" describes the whole concept of measuring rhythmic units, but it can also be used as a specific descriptor for a measurement of an individual piece as represented by the time signature—for example, "This piece is in 4/4 metre " is equivalent to "This piece is in 4/4 time" or "This piece has a 4/4 time signature". English language spread in the United States. ... Music is a form of art and entertainment or other human activity that involves organized and audible sounds and silence. ... In musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration. ... Music notation is a system of writing for music. ... The time signature (also known as meter signature) is a notational device used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each bar and what note value constitutes one beat. ... A rhythmic unit is a durational pattern which occupies a period of time equivalent to a pulse or pulses on an underlying metric level, as opposed to a rhythmic gesture. ... Image File history File links 4-4_rhythm_metre_meter_time_measure. ...


Metre is an entrainment, a representation of changing aspects of music as patterns of temporal invariance, allowing listeners to synchronize their perception, cognition, and behaviour with musical rhythms. Rhythm is distinguished from metre in that rhythms are patterns of duration while "metre involves our initial perception as well as subsequent anticipation of a series of beats that we abstract from the rhythm surface of the music as it unfolds in time" (London 2004, p.4-5). Entrainment is the process whereby two connected oscillating systems, having similar periods, fall into synchrony. ... For the popular Tamil film, see Rhythm (film) Rhythm (Greek = flow, or in Modern Greek, style) is the variation of the accentuation of sounds or other events over time. ...


Ametric music includes chant, some graphically scored works since the 1950s, and non-European folk music such as honkyoku repertoire for shakuhachi (Karpinski 2000, p.19). Chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, either on a single pitch or with a simple melody involving a limited set of notes and often including a great deal of repetition or statis. ... A shakuhachi flute, blowing edge up. ...

Contents

Rhythmic metre

There are four different time signatures in common use:

Beats divided in two Beats divided in three
Two beats per measure simple duple compound duple
Three beats per measure simple triple compound triple

If each beat in a measure is divided into two parts, it is simple metre, and if divided into three it is compound. If each measure is divided into two beats, it is duple metre, and if three it is triple. Some people also label quadruple, while some consider it as two duples. The latter is more consistent with the above labelling system, as any other division above triple, such as quintuple, is considered as duple+triple (12123) or triple+duple (12312), depending on the accents in the musical example. However, in some music a quintuple may be treated and perceived as one unit of five, especially at faster tempos. In music, simple metre or simple time is a time signature or meter in which each beat (or rather, portion, 1/2 or 1/3 of a measure) is divided into two parts, as opposed to three which is compound meter. ... Triple metre is a musical metre characterised by a primary division of 3 beats to the bar, usually indicated by 3 (simple) or 9 (compound) in the upper figure of the time signature, with 3/4 and 9/8 being the most common examples. ... Image File history File links 3-4_rhythm_metre_meter_time_measure. ... In music, duple refers to duple meter. ... In music, compound metre or compound time is a time signature or meter in which each beat (or rather, portion, 1/2 or 1/3 of a measure) is divided into three parts, as opposed to two which is simple meter. ...

The piano intro to "Take Five", a jazz composition in 5/4, note that the rhythm suggests a 12312 division – Listen to this piece
The piano intro to "Take Five", a jazz composition in 5/4, note that the rhythm suggests a 12312 division – Listen to this piece

"Once a metric hierarchy has been established, we, as listeners, will maintain that organization as long as minimal evidence is present" (Lester 1986, p.77). Duple time is far more common than triple (Krebs 2005, p.16). Most popular music is in 4/4 time, though often may be in 2/2 or cut time such as in bossa nova. Doo-wop and some other rock styles are frequently in 12/8, or may be interpreted as 4/4 with heavy swing. Similarly, most classical music before the 20th century tended to stick to relatively straightforward metres such as 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8, though variations on these such as 3/2 and 6/4 are also found. By the 20th century, composers were using less regular metres, such as 5/4 and 7/8. Image File history File links Take_Five_piano_intro. ... A grand piano, with the lid up. ... Take Five is a classic jazz piece recorded by The Dave Brubeck Quartet and released on its 1959 album Time Out. ... Jazz is an original American musical art form that originated around the start of the 20th century in New Orleans, rooted in African American musical styles blended with Western music technique and theory. ...


Also in the 20th century, it became relatively more common to switch metre frequently—the end of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is a particularly extreme example—and the use of asymmetrical rhythms where each beat is a different length became more common: such metres include already discussed quintuple rhythms as well as more complex constructs along the lines of 2+5+3/4 time, where each bar has a 2-beat unit, a 5-beat unit, and a 3-beat unit, with a stress at the beginning of each unit; similar metres are used in various folk musics. Other music has no metre at all (free time) (such as drone-based music as exemplified by La Monte Young), features rhythms so complex that any metre is obscured (such as in serialism), or is based on additive rhythms (such as some music by Philip Glass). Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Russian: Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский, Igor Fëdorovič Stravinskij) (June 17, 1882 – April 6, 1971) was a Russian composer best known for three compositions from his earlier, Russian period: LOiseau de feu (The Firebird) (1910), Petrushka (1911), and Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) (1913). ... The Rite of Spring (French: Le Sacre du printemps; Russian: Весна священная, Vesna svjaščennaja) is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. ... Additive rhythms are larger periods of time constructed from sequences of smaller rhythmic units added to the end of the previous unit. ... In music, a drone is a harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout much or all of a piece, sustained or repeated, and most often establishing a tonality upon which the rest of the piece is built. ... La Monte Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer whose eccentric and often hard-to-find works have been included among the most important post World War II avant-garde or experimental music. ... Serialism is a technique for composing music that uses sets to describe musical elements, and allows the composer manipulations of those sets to create music. ... Additive rhythms are larger periods of time constructed from sequences of smaller rhythmic units added to the end of the previous unit. ... Philip Glass (born January 31, 1937) is an American composer. ...


Metre is often combined with a rhythmic pattern to produce a particular style. This is true of dance music, such as the waltz or tango, which have particular patterns of emphasizing beats which are instantly recognizable. This is often done to make the music coincide with slow or fast steps in the dance, and can be thought of as the musical equivalent of prosody. Sometimes, a particular musician or composition becomes identified with a particular metric pattern; such is the case with the so-called Bo Diddley beat. Some examples (Scruton 1997): The waltz (G.: Walzer, It. ... Tango music is traditionally played by an orquesta típica, a sextet which includes two violins, piano, doublebass, and two bandoneons. ... Prosody may mean several things: Prosody consists of distinctive variations of stress, tone, and timing in spoken language. ... Bo Diddleys emphasis on rhythm largely influenced popular music, especially that of rock and roll in the 1960s. ...

March rhythms
March rhythms
Polka rhythms
Polka rhythms
Siciliano rhythms
Siciliano rhythms
Waltz rhythms
Waltz rhythms

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (884x91, 3 KB)March rhythms Created by Hyacinth using Sibelius and Paint. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (884x91, 3 KB)March rhythms Created by Hyacinth using Sibelius and Paint. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (884x91, 2 KB)Polka rhythms Created by Hyacinth using Sibelius and Paint. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (884x91, 2 KB)Polka rhythms Created by Hyacinth using Sibelius and Paint. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (884x91, 3 KB)Siciliano rhythms Created by Hyacinth using Sibelius and Paint. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (884x91, 3 KB)Siciliano rhythms Created by Hyacinth using Sibelius and Paint. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (884x91, 3 KB)Waltz rhythms Created by Hyacinth using Sibelius and Paint. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (884x91, 3 KB)Waltz rhythms Created by Hyacinth using Sibelius and Paint. ...

Polymetre

Polymetre is the use of two metric frameworks simultaneously, or in regular alternation. Examples include Béla Bartók's "Second String Quartet". Leonard Bernstein's "America" (from West Side Story) employs alternating measures of 6/8 (compound duple) and 3/4 (simple triple). This gives a strong sense of two, followed by three, stresses (indicated in bold type): // I-like-to be-in-A // ME RI CA//. Béla Bartók in 1927 Bartok redirects here. ... Leonard Bernstein in 1971 Leonard Bernstein (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American composer, pianist and conductor. ... West Side Story is a musical written by Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music), and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), and was originally produced, choreographed, and directed by Jerome Robbins. ...


Historians have theorized that polyrhythms were used as far back as the renaissance to encrypt messages and instructions during times of oppression. Irish dance steps, American Civil War marches, and several other forms of music may have been used as a secret broadcast system. The most common places for this process were in times previous to the invention of or widespread use of recording technology. Thus, there is no way to hear these documents. Archeologists have found mysterious written patterns in close proximity to drums and sheet music and were also found to be related to the underground railroad. These patterns translate to Polyrhythms yet a clear lingual translation has not been deciphered.


An example from the rock canon is "Kashmir" by the seminal British hard-rock quartet Led Zeppelin, in which the percussion articulates 4/4 while the melodic instruments present a riff in 3/4. In "Toads Of The Short Forest" (from the album Weasels Ripped My Flesh), composer Frank Zappa explains: "At this very moment on stage we have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his nose." The math metal band Meshuggah uses complex polymetres even more extensively; typically the songs are constructed in 4/4, with guitar riffing and bass drum patterns in unusual metres such as 11/8 and 23/16. Usually the riffs are forced to resolve after 4 or 8 measures resulting in a shorter 'fitpiece' which has a different metre from the rest of the section. For the bands 1969 self-titled debut album, see Led Zeppelin (album) Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, and are one of the most successful groups in popular music history. ... Frank Vincent Zappa[1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, guitarist, singer, film director, and satirist. ... Math Metal is a sub-genre of Tech Metal. ... Meshuggah, whose name is derived from the Yiddish word for crazy, is a five-piece Ultra Metal band from Umeå, Sweden who use extended polymetric passages, complex drum patterns, odd time signatures, angular, dissonant guitar riffs, and harsh, atonal vocals. ...


Perceptually there appears to be little or no basis for polymetre as research shows that listeners either extract a composite pattern that is fitted to a metric framework, or focus on one rhythmic stream while treating others as "noise". This upholds the tenet that "the figure-ground dichotomy is fundamental to all perception" (Boring 1942, p.253), (London 2004, p.49-50). In visual perception, figure-ground refers to humans ability to separate elements based upon contrast. ...


Metric structure

Metric structure includes metre, tempo, and all rhythmic aspects which produce temporal regularity or structure, against which the foreground details or durational patterns are projected (Wittlich 1975, chap. 3). In musical terminology, tempo (Italian for time) is the speed or pace of a given piece. ... For the popular Tamil film, see Rhythm (film) Rhythm (Greek = flow, or in Modern Greek, style) is the variation of the accentuation of sounds or other events over time. ... A duration is an amount of time or a particular time interval. ...


Rhythmic units can be metric, intrametric, contrametric, or extrametric. A rhythmic unit is a durational pattern which occupies a period of time equivalent to a pulse or pulses on an underlying metric level, as opposed to a rhythmic gesture. ...


Metric levels may be distinguished. The beat level is the metric level at which pulses are heard as the basic time unit of the piece. Faster levels are division levels, and slower levels are multiple levels (Wittlich 1975, chap. 3). See also the beat disambiguation page. ...


Level of Meter shown to be a spurious concept, since Meter arises from the interaction of two levels of motion, the faster of which provides the pulses, and the slower of which which organizes them in repetitive conceptual groups. (Yeston, 1976)


Hypermetre is large-scale metre (as opposed to surface-level metre) created by hypermeasures which consist of hyperbeats (Stein 2005, p.329). The term was coined by Cone (1968) while London (2004, p.19) asserts that there is no perceptual distinction between metre and hypermetre. In musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration. ... See also the beat disambiguation page. ...


A metric modulation is a modulation from one metric unit or metre to another. In music a metric modulation is a change (modulation) from one time signature/tempo (meter) to another, wherein a note value from the first is made equivalent to a note value in the second, like a pivot. ... In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key (tonic, or tonal center) to another. ...


Deep structure

C. S. Lee (1985) has described musical metre in terms of deep structure, where, through rewrite rules, different metres (4/4, 3/4, etc) generate many different surface rhythms. For example the first phrase of The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, without the syncopation, may be generated from its metre of 4/4: It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Generative linguistics. ... The Beatles were a highly influential English rock and roll band from Liverpool. ... A Hard Days Night sold over one million copies within just five weeks of its release as a single in the United States. ... In music, syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat in a bar or the failure to sound a tone on an accented beat. ...

 4/4 4/4 4/4 /  /  /  2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 | /  | | |  | 1/4 1/4 | | |  | /  /  | | | | 1/8 1/8 1/8 1/8 | | | | | | | | | | | It's been a hard day's night (Middleton 1990, p.211). 

Examples of various metre sound samples

  1. sample of how 1/4 metre sounds in a tempo of 90bpm.
  2. sample of how 2/4 metre sounds in a tempo of 90bpm.
  3. sample of how 3/4 metre sounds in a tempo of 90bpm.
  4. sample of how 4/4 metre sounds in a tempo of 90bpm.
  5. sample of how 5/8 metre sounds in a tempo of 120bpm.

Image File history File links 1-4_rhythm_metre_meter_time_measure. ... Beats per minute (bpm) is a unit typically used as either a measure of tempo in music, or a measure of ones heart rate. ... Image File history File links 2-4_rhythm_metre_meter_time_measure. ... Image File history File links 3-4_rhythm_metre_meter_time_measure. ... Image File history File links 4-4_rhythm_metre_meter_time_measure. ... Image File history File links 5-8_rhythm_metre_meter_time_measure2. ...

Metre in song

Issues involving metre in song reflect a combination of musical metre and poetic metre, especially when the song is in a standard verse form. Traditional and popular songs fall heavily within a limited range of metres, leading to a fair amount of interchangeability. For example, early hymnals commonly did not include musical notation, but simply texts. The text could be sung to any tune known by the singers that had a matching metre, and the tune chosen for a particular text might vary from one occasion to another. A song is a relatively short musical composition for the human voice (commonly accompanied by other musical instruments), which features words (lyrics). ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... Verse is a writing that uses meter as its primary organisational mode, as opposed to prose, which uses grammatical and discoursal units like sentences and paragraphs. ... See also hymn - a program to decrypt iTunes music files. ...


One case that illustrates the potential use of this principle across musical genres is The Blind Boys of Alabama's rendition of the hymn Amazing Grace, which is sung to the musical setting made famous by The Animals in their version of the folk song The House of the Rising Sun. Musical genres are categories which contain music which share a certain style or which have certain elements in common. ... The Blind Boys of Alabama are a gospel music group from Alabama that first formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939. ... A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a god or other religiously significant figure. ... This article has been tagged since November 2006. ... The US edition of The Animals self-titled debut album. ... Folk music, in the original sense of the term, is music by and of the people. ... The House of the Rising Sun is a United States folk song. ...


Sources

  • Karpinski, Gary S. (2000). Aural Skills Acquisition : The Development of Listening, Reading, and Performing Skills in College-Level Musicians. ISBN 0-19-511785-9.
  • Krebs, Harald (2005). “Hypermeter and Hypermetric Irregularity in the Songs of Josephine Lang.”, in Deborah Stein (ed.),: Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517010-5.
  • Honing, Henkjan (2002) Structure and interpretation of rhythm and timing, Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie. 7(3), 227-232.[ http://www.hum.uva.nl/mmm/papers/honing-2002.pdf pdf]
  • London, Justin (2004). Hearing in Time: Psychological Aspects of Musical Meter. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516081-9.
  • Lester, Joel (1986). The Rhythms of Tonal Music. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-8093-1282-4.
  • Scruton, Roger (1997). The Aesthetics of Music, p.25ex2.6. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-816638-9.
  • Wittlich, Gary E. (ed.) (1975). Aspects of Twentieth-century Music. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
  • Maury Yeston , 1976 The Stratification of Musical Rhythm, Yale University Press, New Haven

Maury Yeston is a American composer and lyricist educated at Yale and Clare College, Cambridge. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Metre (music) - Definition, explanation (904 words)
Metre is the measurement of a musical line into measures of stressed and unstressed beats, indicated in Western notation by a symbol called a time signature.
A measure has two purposes in Western traditions of music, the first is to block out a series of beatss, and the second is to form the building block of larger sections of music, such as a phrase.
Metre is often combined with a rhythmic pattern to produce a particular style.
Metre (music) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1013 words)
Metre is the measurement of a musical line into measures of stressed and unstressed beats, indicated in Western notation by a symbol called a time signature.
Issues involving metre in song reflect a combination of musical metre and poetic metre, especially when the song is in a standard verse form.
One case that illustrates the potential use of this principle across musical genres is The Blind Boys of Alabama's rendition of the hymn Amazing Grace, which is sung to the musical setting made famous by The Animals in their version of the folk song The House of the Rising Sun.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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