Meter (music)

The meter ( gr μέτρον métron " measure, scale, syllabic, meter " ) is in music theory, the technical term for the organization of sound pulses in a regular stress pattern, which forms the background to which it refers, the temporal structure of a piece. This temporal structure is made of rhythm and meter. The regular stress pattern is the clock. The terms meter and rhythm are not uniformly defined, so often interchanged, or the meter is the rhythm term subsumed.

The acquisition of Metrumbegriffs from the prosody based on its importance as syllabic. Is measured first, the quantitative duration (or length) and second, the qualitative weight ( emphasis ), in the language of syllables, in the music of the motif syllables. The durations form the rhythm in the narrower sense, the Tongewichte the meter. While the rhythm designed musical movement artistically, is the meter of the shape formation of character, motive, phrase, etc. bound, which form the structure of meaning of a musical work of art.

The metric hierarchy

The following description of the metric hierarchy essentially follows the description in Jackendoff and Lerdahl (1983) and Temperley ( 2001).

The need for a hierarchical structure of a metric structure results from two observations:

The metric stress pattern is often explained through a hierarchical structure of regular pulses ( " beats "). A single level of such shocks gives no metrical pattern, since all pulses of a level equal to a strong emphasis:

Only hierarchically stratified levels of impacts resulting metric stress patterns. Be between two beats of a level of the hierarchy usually a hit ( binary division ) or two beats ( ternary division ) of the next lower level (see Figure 2 and Figure 3).

In general at least three planes are considered for the metric structure (see Figure 4 and Figure 5). Assuming now, each beat ( at whatever level ) have the weight 1, then one can determine the weight ( stress level ) at time t by all superimposed beats added ( see Figure 4). If one replaces the abstract numbering of the different levels of such a hierarchical pattern by note values ​​, the musical significance of the pattern is clear. If, in Figure 4, the level 0 by the eighth note, so arise for the other levels, the note values ​​quarter, half and whole. Taking the district level as a " beat " fixed, we obtain exactly the intonation patterns of 4/4-Takts with emphasis on the first and third quarters, with the emphasis on the third quarter is a little weaker than on the first quarter.

Theoretically, a metrical structure be built that takes the smallest note value in the piece ( the fastest beats) as the basis for the deepest level. Just higher and higher levels could be considered with increasing beat intervals in the other direction, up to the level whose beat interval includes the whole piece. Very short beat intervals (less than about 100 ms) we take but no more true than countable beats. The same is true for extremely long beat intervals. Therefore, usually a maximum of six levels for the metrical structure are taken into account

As a practical example of the beginning of the Gavotte from Bach's French Suite No. 5 is intended to serve ( Fig. 6). Five levels were considered for analysis. The beat interval at the level of 0 corresponds to an eighth note. The Level 4 is an example of a metric level, which ranges over a clock out ( the beat interval is two cycles).

Metric structure and musical surface

The metrical structure is not directly included in the musical surface, but is derived from the accents of that surface. These accents can be based on different characteristics of music, such as volume, rhythmic groupings or change of harmony. For all of these clues the listener abstracts the metrical structure. If a meter once established, it does not change, as long as sufficient grounds for a change talk. The listener is even able to interpolate metric accents, so not necessarily any metric emphasis must also be realized in the music being played. If the musical surface have no or not enough regular accents, no stable meter can develop.

Meter and basic stroke

In the metric hierarchy, each level of shock. However, we do not take all these levels equally true. Rather us the beats of a certain level are highlighted as a regular pulse that runs through the whole piece. This pulse is called a basic beat or basic pulse. This is the metric level, the conductor vordirigiert his orchestra, or that which we tap along. The plane, which is the carrier of the basic shock may vary. Normally, the basic beat on one of the middle levels of the metric hierarchy. The distance between the strikes at this level must be neither too fast nor be too slow. Most of the tempo is at this level more than 50 but less than 150 beats per minute ( beats per minute). The pace of basic shock is an important indicator of the perceived tempo of a piece of music due to its highlighted position. The basic stroke is the most important level for the meter. From it is taken into account in each case two to three higher or lower levels of the representation of the metric tree. The perception of metrical structure at this level is most intense. The further one moves away from the plane of the main shock, the weaker the perception of differences in emphasis, both at the lower and at the higher levels.

Based on the grouping of beats a meter is called a binary ( two-piece) or ternary (three parts). This designation indicates how many strokes of the plane of the main shock come at a stroke the next higher level. In the European art music, these metrics most common, but more complex time signatures (eg, five-piece ) are also present.

Metrics that can not be explained as a multiple of a two - or three-part metrical, are described additively from a combination of two - and three-part shock. For example, the 5/4-Takt is explained as a combination of 2/4 3 /4 ( or 3/ 4 2 /4). As these metrics on at least one level of the metric hierarchy require a non- isochronous distribution of shocks, they raise the question of how appropriate is the widespread demand for exclusively isochronous distribution of beats of a metric level (cf. weaknesses of the theory).

Sounding more metrics simultaneously, one speaks of the polymetric.

Meter and time signature

Normally we associate today with a certain time signature for a specific stress pattern (hence the term accent levels clock ). Thus, the clock quasi species form " prototypes " metrical pattern in which the (West - ) oriented European art music. For this reason, meter and clock are often used interchangeably. With the signature and the plane of the basic shock and partly also the subdivisions of the levels above and below the basic beat is usually fixed.

The meter is closely connected usually with a time signature, but it is possible that a metrical pattern across clock boundaries is effective. The time signature does not specify here whether such multiple-cycle metric levels are available, or how their stress pattern is established. However, it is usually not sensible metric structures across multiple clock cycles ( as a border can be assumed approximately four cycles) to construct, since the influences of the phrase structure of a piece, which is usually not regularly arranged, this is effective in this area.

Meter and rhythm

Most of the rhythm is based on the actual sounding temporal organization of a piece in different tones, while the meter is a derived from the musical surface, more regular and more consistent (but also time- specific ) structure. But rhythm and meter are not independent, but influence each other. This is because the metrical structure of a piece implies certain rhythmic groupings and their accents. If they do not with the actual sounding rhythmic structure match, there is tension between meter and rhythm, eg syncope or hemiolas.

Weaknesses of the theory

The most obvious weakness of this representation of meter is the requirement for regular beatings. In the Western European art music, there are many ways to change the tempo of the music, that is, the beat intervals of the basic beat and the strikes on all other metric levels are in reality anything but constant. For example, although the pace is relatively little, but changed continuously during rubato, accelerando when the tempo is over a certain period continuously increased and decreased the ritardando. More complex metrics, such as in 5/4-Takt are not covered so because usually these metrics are additively explained as a combination of two-part and three-part shock. Practical examples of metrics with an irregular distribution of the ( fundamental) shocks can be found, for example, often in pieces by Dave Brubeck (eg in the "Blue Rondo à la Turk "). A theory of meter, which insists on constant beat intervals on all metric levels throughout the duration of a piece, therefore, is an idealization of the musical reality.

Also unclear is the limit considered for the metrical structure levels. While it seems intuitively clear that the metric perception is not usually sufficient to blow shortest interval of a piece, and also does not include the piece as a whole. Although psychological findings provide an approximate upper and lower limits for beat intervals, which are considered in the metric hierarchy, but can be determined as precisely which of the theoretically possible levels are actually relevant, is not clear.

Finally, the determination of the plane of the basic shock is problematic. It is far from clear that all people feel the same level of hierarchy as the basic metric Shock: If two people knock the basic beat to the same piece of music, and a knock twice as fast as the other, they are both right.

Recent Developments

In recent years, several new models have been presented to explain the metric structure that try to explain in particular the problem of tempo variations within a piece and determining the level of the basic beat. Often while the concept of the shock is modified, that the beat intervals no longer have to be absolutely uniform but may vary to a certain extent (cf. Temperley (2001), Cambouropoulos & Dixon (2000), Desain and Honing (1999)).

Latest development

A basic representation of the metric and of meter can be found in the literature under noted book " method and practice of music design " by Egon Sarabèr (2011), which seeks to clarify the musical concepts in close analogy to the musical text. The following comments are based on this work.

While the rhythm created the musical time by means of the well-defined sound and pause lengths in an artistic way, the meter brings the ideal, meaning giving Tongewichtung in the melodic form shapes by means of the volume expressed. The rhythmic structure has played only the metric can be detected.

A tone ( or a short tone sequence) metric can be heavy or light ( audibly: strong or weak ) to be. A metric rank after his heavier ' sound Thesis or uplift, a lighter ' tone called Arsis or reduction. These names are taken from the voice metric, as well as their known, used in the following examples note characters, both of which can be loaded with an accent.

The rhythm of the simple shock is enough ' as a measure is uniquely determined by the note and rest symbols. However, in order to be able to write down the meter, the graphical clock system has been developed: it consists of two numbers whose top the number of time units per cycle, the lower indicates the (relative) duration of a time unit, and the bar line, the metric heavy cycle time that, one called ' and thus all other than light. The elemental signatures, the two or binary, ternary and the triple or the quadruple or quaternary clock are known to be listed as follows. To illustrate the clock is additionally provided with the metric characters were supposed to be applied only to the sounding tones.

The quoted clock is a rigid metrical scheme that may already be broken by the rhythm, so that two metrics must be distinguished: the theoretical of the clock that always remains the same, and artistic music that changes incessantly.

From the Taktmetrum can only abstract, no artistic forms are derived. They form, according to the Versfüßen of language, sound feet: the duple meter provides the trochaic and iambic, the triple time the dactyl, anapest and Amphibrachys, the quadruple meter the First, Fourth, Third and Second Paeon ( in that order).

These examples only consider the district. If a clock part divided rhythmically, so can another musical foot can be derived:

And conversely, a double note value to the elimination of a metric element and thus a sound foot (see the Half rhythm in the above example).

The meter is like the rhythm inseparably bound to the forms of motive, phrase and theme, in which expresses itself in addition to the artistic tone arrangement of qualitative content, or content of the music. The forms above are not theoretical concepts, but tonal phenomena. For their notation, there are no special characters, therefore they must be divided out by subtle analysis of the melody in order to determine their meter can. If the Taktmetrum imposed on them, they are defaced.

At the fugue theme in C major from the Well- Tempered Clavier II of JS Bach, which is a phrase that shows how the motifs are won on the scope and meter of the musical text. They are called metric with a clip form and within the parentheses. Again, the character metric are added to the system clock again.

The theme consists of two different designs, the first can be regarded as two syllables, the second, which takes up the top of the first, is repeated with little change one step higher. The first motive is locked to the following two sit down over him. - The 'active' metric levels resulting from the melodic structure is required the quarter level, but on the first, and possibly second shot clock time of 1 and on the first beat of the time cycle 3 and 4 is added, the eighth plane. Rhythmically active we have the quarter, eighth and sixteenth level here. The other, silent levels are irrelevant. - Not always the motive of form and meter can be determined unambiguously, then the interpreter must find its own solution.