Saturday, 4:00–5:00 pm

Keynote Address

Nicole Biamonte (McGill University)

Getting Rhythm

In this paper I consider some current issues in rhythmic and metric theory, and present an analytical survey of several widespread rhythmic patterns that transcend genre, occurring in classical, jazz, rock and other musics. I discuss the interaction of rhythm, meter and hypermeter, and the relationship of consonance and dissonance at these different levels to texture and form.

In both art music and vernacular musics, some common patterns are used as melodic rhythms and also as accompanimental rhythms, but they are deployed in different ways to reflect their different functions. I analyze these patterns using Krebs’s model of grouping and displacement dissonance—paradigmatic examples are the 3+3+2 grouping dissonance and similar clave-family rhythms, and the displacement dissonance of the backbeat and other regular off-beat rhythms—and categorize their comparative evenness and individuation. In terms of formal function, I demonstrate that these patterns, and changes in rhythmic and metric consonance and dissonance more generally, typically act at the phrase level to signal an approaching cadence, and at larger levels to help define formal boundaries.