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MtA Music: Visualizing the Rhythms of Performance

September 18, 2019

Colloquium Musicum with Dr. Alan Dodson
This presentation introduces some current methods of graphing the rhythmic subtleties of music in performance, as measured using performance analysis software. A Debussy recording is then explored through a new type of analytical animation.
Admission is free, all are welcome. For more information, please call the Department of Music at 364-2374 or email music@mta.ca.

Traditional staff notation provides a quantized view of musical time: rhythm symbols place each note at a fixed position within a hierarchical metrical grid that consists of integer multiples and fractions of the beat. This customary method of visualising musical time conceals the rhythmic flexibility of music in performance, including the variations in tempo that classical musicians call tempo rubato, the unequal or “swung” eighth-note subdivisions of jazz and blues, and the irregular speech-like rhythms of hip hop and other genres of groove-based popular music. To help move towards a rational understanding of these forms of rhythmic flexibility, which are essential to the artistry of musical performance, several alternative methods of visualizing musical time have been proposed over the past century, increasingly so in the past twenty years with the availability of user-friendly performance analysis software. This presentation introduces some of these methods and proposes a new type of analytical animation for subtleties of experiential meter in recorded music, with examples from Debussy’s 1911 recording of his piano piece “D’un cahier d’esquisses”.


September 18, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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