Metric Dissonance in Non-Isochronous Meters Page: I

Smith, Jayson. Metric Dissonance in Non-Isochronous Meters. Doctor of Philosophy
(Music), August 2018, 121 pp., 93 musical examples, bibliography, 40 titles.
Although music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries makes frequent use of non-
isochronous meter (meters involving beats of different length, such as 5/4 and 7/8), most studies
on meter and metric dissonance focus on isochronous meters (meters involving beats of the same
length, such as 4/4 and 9/8). This dissertation bridges this gap by developing two methodologies
to account for metric dissonance involving non-isochronous pulses: modified ski-hill graphs and
the composite beat attack point system. Modified ski-hill graphs, adapted from Richard Cohn's
ski-hill graphs, illustrate metric states involving non-isochronous pulses and reveal degrees of
dissonance in musical passages that share time spans, as in 5/4 grouped 3+2 vs. 5/4 grouped 2+3.
The composite beat attack point system uses rhythmic notation to illustrate metric states
involving any pulse duration or time span, revealing specific points of dissonance and
consonance, relative strength of dissonance and consonance, and patterns of dissonance and
consonance. The methodology is used to closely examine the treatment of metric dissonance in
Holst's "Mars," from The Planets, Ligeti's Hungarian Rock (Chaconne), and Ligeti's Disordre.
The analyses focus on passages where the metric dissonance becomes ever more pronounced and
ends up obliterating any sense of meter.

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Smith, Jayson. Metric Dissonance in Non-Isochronous Meters, dissertation, August 2018; Denton, Texas. ( accessed April 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,; .

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