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Rhythm and Metre in Pop/Rock Music

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Glenn James

on 3 February 2014

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Transcript of Rhythm and Metre in Pop/Rock Music

Swing, Groove and Syncopation in Popular Music
Charles Keil
"Motion and Feeling Through Music"
Leonard Meyer's 1956 book "Emotion and Meaning in Music."
Syntactic form = "embodied meaning" (Meyer)
Sub-syntactic form = "engendered feeling" (Keil)
Keil's Table of Contrasts:
Embodied Meaning Vs. Engendered Feeling
Paul Bley (jazz pianist),
"...there has to be a groove to get into. Once you're into it, you don't have to keep deciding whether or not the next phrase is going to be good or not ... The important thing is getting on the right track—the right pattern—in the right way and exerting the control and practice necessary to get it."

- Bley, interview, 1965.
"Vital drive"
"There is another element in swing that resists analysis and that I would hesitate to mention if my personal impressions had not been echoed by many jazz musicians."

- Hodeir, "Jazz: Its Evolution and Essence" (1956)
Borrowed term from French musicologist/violinist André Hodeir
Keil, "Motion and Feeling through Music"
Two common approaches or attacks (drumming)
"On top" style
Kenny Clarke, drums
"Lay back" style
Art Blakey, drums
Mark J. Butler (2006)
All dance music is in 4/4 time
Butler describes electronic dance
music (EDM) consisting of a
"network of possibilities" rhythmically
Fans use this "network of
possibilities" to classify different
genres of dance music (jungle, house,
hardcore, drum 'n' bass, trance etc.)
The use of breakbeats (sampled
drums) to create cycles
Three types of rhythms:
and Syncopated (2 types)
David Temperley, "Syncopation in Rock: A Perceptual Perspective" (1999)
Syncopation: the displacement of the normal musical accent from a strong beat to a weak one.
"The nature of syncopation in rock is fundamentally different from that in classical music." (20)
"Lady Bird" At the Cafe Bohemia
"Mood Indigo" Monk Plays Duke Ellington (1955)
Matthew Butterfield,
"Participatory Discrepancies and the Perception of Beats in Jazz" (2010)
"Swing as an emergent quality of groove is thought to result from the 'tension' generated between bass and drums as they negotiate the beat."
Ira Hirsh, "Auditory perception of temporal order" (1959)
20ms window to hear onset of two contrasting sounds
Recent studies by Friberg and Sundström (2002)
Showed an average discrepancy of less than 20ms between bass and ride cymbal onsets across a range of tempos on jazz recordings
Collier & Collier, "An exploration of the use of tempo in jazz" (1994)
Butterfield concludes that a steady tempo is essential to produce "vital drive"
Syncopation to "decorate" the backbeat
"...notice the way in which (the snare's) second and third hit seem to dance about beat 3 without actually landing on it." (Butler, 88)
Surface structure Vs. Deep structure
Mark Spicer,
"(Ac)cumulative Form in Pop-Rock Music"
Compositional procedures as cumulative form
Ties to rise of recording technology in developing musical layers
With the rise of multi-track recording from the1960s onward there has been an abundance of cumulative form in pop music in styles ranging "from progressive rock to post-punk to techno."
Pop songs that use this cumulative process also incorporate textural growth, rhythmic complexity/diversity and deliberately ambiguous meters as the process unfolds.
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