Description: The music of Béla Bartók is defined in part by its unique blend of rhythmic vitality and inventiveness, and his string quartets offer a glimpse into a consistency of technique evident throughout his compositional career. Bartók's rhythmic environments are primarily metrical, but many of his rhythmic configurations are placed in such a way as to potentially override established meter. It is necessary, therefore, to institute an analytical means by which the delineation and comparison of rhythmic structures both within and without the metrical context may be accomplished. An analytical method using Timepoint Accent Structures (TAS) allows for the comparison of rhythms resulting from patterns of accent produced by pitch onset, dynamic stress, articulation or any other accentual factors. Timepoint Grouping Structures (TGS) delineate the number of timepoints present in alternating groups/blocks in a texture, thereby allowing for the recognition of patterning created by these larger groups. By applying TAS and TGS analysis, relationships of rhythmic equivalency, rotation, retrograde, complementation, augmentation, diminution, subset, superset, exchange, compression and expansion are clearly confirmed in the string quartets. In addition, symmetrical structures and arithmetic progressions are discovered. In many ways, Bartók's rhythmic organization mimics his procedures of pitch structuring.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Bocanegra, Cheryl D.