Music Theory


T561 Rhythm and Meter in Tonal Music

Prof. Gary Wittlich

1:00-2:15 PM MW Room M267 (Simon Music Library)

Prerequisite: T508

Course description

T560 will explore rhythm and meter in music of the baroque, classica, and romantic periods. Emphasis will be placed on the study of individual compositions to be determined in part on the interests of those enrolled. The overall goal of the course is to develop skill in dealing with rhythm and meter from the standpoint of musical analysis and performance.

Meetings will focus on the following topics, among others:

  • Meter as notated and meter as perceived

  • Meter at levels above the measure (hypermeter)

  • Metric ambiguity and its performance

  • The relationship between metric structure and grouping structure

  • Musical form and proportion

  • Tempo and tempo relationships

  • Relationships of timing: rubato, ritard, and accelerando

  • Techniques of musical analysis and representation relating to aspects of rhythm and meter


Weekly meetings

As much as possible, the course will be conducted as a seminar to encourage all to participate in discussions of the topic.


Readings from a variety of books and journal articles will be given to help focus discussions.


as appropriate to a given topic, short assignments will be given to help develop analytic techniques and narrative writing about music.


There will be two projects: 1)ashort paper/analysis at about midterm time, and 2) a final major paper/analysis with an oral presentation near the end of the semester. Topics will be selected by the participants with instructor approval.

T560 will be limited to 15 studnents.