Dissertation Index

Author: Hafner, Everett

Title: Time Divided

Institution: University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Begun: September 1994

Completed: August 1995


This study begins with a review of theoretical approaches to the study of time in musical performance. We ask whether in fact there is, or even can be, a satisfactory theory of performance time -- that is, a theory in the scientific sense of the word. The concepts appropriate to the understanding of time in general are summarized. Then, as a step forward in application to music, the problem of time as faced by the orchestral conductor is examined. Detailed measurements are carried out on six short symphonic compositions chosen for variety of period and style, for considerable and frequent change of tempo, and for freedom given to -- and sometimes taken by -- conductors in setting their own tempo for successive sections of the piece. Conductors are also chosen for variety of style. Analysis of the data bears on a central question: regardless of changes of tempo, which often depart sharply from a composer's intentions and from each other, to what extent do temporal proportions of a given work exhibit invariance as we pass from one conductor to the next?

Keywords: time, performance, proportion, tempo, invariance, conductors, symphonic


I.Prelude II.Background III. Connections IV.The Sense of Musical Time V.Beginning, Middle, End VI.Constant Design VII.Conclusion


Everett Hafner, Department of Music & Dance, University of
Massachusetts, Amherst MA 01096

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