Music Theory Online

The Online Journal of the Society for Music Theory


Volume 7, Number 1, January 2001
Copyright � 2001 Society for Music Theory

Table of Contents

John Roeder*

Pulse Streams and Problems of Grouping and Metrical Dissonance in Bart�k's "With Drums and Pipes"

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KEYWORDS: rhythm, meter, pulse streams, polyphony, grouping, accent, metrical dissonance, Bart�k

ABSTRACT: Polyphony has many interesting rhythmic properties that do not obtain in textures that are modeled by most rhythmic theories. This paper invokes the concept of pulse streams to demonstrate how phenomenal accent and grouping are organized in a extended two-voice polyphony by Bart�k to create convincing form and process. The pulse-stream analysis is manifested audibly by Quicktime examples that combine audio playback, a scrolling annotated score, and the pulses played by percussion instruments.

Received 21 August 2000

Author's Note: The paper is organized into several sections, most spanning several pages to facilitate rapid loading and viewing over the Internet. These pages include audio examples accompanying synchronized, scrolling scores that demonstrate the theoretical constructs and analytical points of the text. Apple's QuickTime plugin (version 3.0 or higher) is required to hear these examples. The paper also contains larger analytical examples that require Adobe's Acrobat Reader to be viewed. Much of the information on these larger examples is also presented in the QuickTime examples, but readers who wish to gain the greatest understanding of the analysis should print them. Author-date references, tabulated at the conclusion of the paper, are used in place of a footnote frame in order to maximize the available viewing area on the screen.

Editor's Note: If you encounter difficulty with the QuickTime movies, please click here for suggestions.

Article Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Analysis of grouping and "metrical dissonance"
    1. [2.1] through [2.4]
    2. [2.5] through [2.6] (first block)
    3. [2.7] (second block)
    4. [2.8] (third block)
    5. [2.9] (fourth block)
    6. [2.10] (fifth block) through [2.11]
    7. [2.12] (sixth block)
    8. [2.13] (seventh block)
    9. [2.14] (eighth block)
  3. Challenges to rhythmic theory raised by the analysis
  4. A theory to help resolve problems of polyphonic rhythm
  5. Pulse-stream analysis
    1. [5.1] through [5.3]
    2. [5.4] through [5.9]
    3. [5.10] through [5.12]
    4. [5.13] through [5.14]
  6. Analysis of mm. 30-43
    1. [6.1] through [6.4]
    2. [6.5] through [6.6]
    3. [6.7]
  7. Analysis of mm. 41-53
    1. [7.1] through [7.3]
    2. [7.4] through [7.7]
  8. Analysis of mm. 56-68
    1. [8.1] through [8.3]
    2. [8.4] through [8.6]
  9. Summary and Conclusion

John Roeder
School of Music
University of British Columbia
6361 Memorial Road
Vancouver, B.C.

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prepared by
Eric Isaacson, Editor
Updated 18 November 2002