Author: Link, John, F.
Title: Long-Range Polyrhythms in Elliott Carter's Recent Music
Institution: City University of New York
Begun: January 1992
Completed: January 1994
Although Elliott Carter (b. 1908) is recognized around the world as one of the foremost composers of the late twentieth century, the music he composed in the 1980s--one of the most productive periods of his career--has received very little scholarly attention. During that time Carter developed a clear and expressive rhythmic language, based on long-range polyrhythms, that imparts a new sense of global organization to his recent works, and has significant implications for the more general theoretical issue of rhythm in post-tonal music. This dissertation is a study of long-range polyrhythms in Carter's music from Night Fantasies (1980) to Anniversary (1989). Chapter 1 considers the abstract properties of long-range polyrhythms. Chapter 2 examines the types of polyrhythms Carter has favored in his recent works and his decisions regarding their notation. In chapter 3 questions about the musical palpability of long-range polyrhythms are addressed from the point of view of the listener/analyst, and numerous examples are given of how long-range polyrhythms can enrich our hearing of Carter's recent music.
Keywords: Elliott Carter, rhythm, polyrhythm, 20th-century music, music theory, music analysis
Abbreviations of Terms Defined in the Text
List of Figures
List of Examples
Chapter 1 - The Abstract Properties of Long-range Polyrhythms
Chapter 2 - Carter's Polyrhythmic Choices
Chapter 3 - Analytical and Perceptual Issues
List of Works Cited
John F. Link
William Paterson College
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