John Roeder, "Pulse Streams and Problems of Grouping and Metrical Dissonance in Bartók's 'With Drums and Pipes,'" Music Theory Online 7.1 (2001) << Sect. 7b Section 8a Sect. 8b >>
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[8] Analysis of mm. 56-68

[8.1] Figure 5, which shows the transition to the closing block in this passage, provides further examples of how pulse streams organize the disparate accent structures of the different voices in the polyphony, and provide continuity between blocks. An audio version follows:

(Example VIII.1a) [click here for suggestions if the movie does not appear or play correctly]

[8.2] The beginning of the example shows the most salient slow pulse stream after m. 56: a whole-note stream, labeled 14, that arises from the change from one dyad to another in the descending sequence in the right hand. (In the audio example, these long dyads are played by low flutes.) At m. 61, the rate of change of this dyad accelerates, so that the changes start to come a dotted-half note apart. The attack of the long D2 (m. 64) arrives a dotted-half after the last change of dyad, thereby initiating a dotted-half stream, labeled 15, that replaces stream 14. The low loud dyads in mm. 65-66, although they appear to be syncopated against the notated meter, in fact align with and reinforce stream 15. The stream even spills into the next block--the low dyad in the last measure of the example is a dotted-half note from the last attack of stream 15 at the downbeat of the previous bar.

[8.3] Against both pulses 14 and 15 are presented series of regularly changing durations. These are not pulse streams, so they are shown as series of durations on dotted horizontal lines in the example. (They are doubled by cymbals in the audio example.) In mm. 57-60, the timespan between durationally accented F2s in the left hand increases each time by a quarter note. In mm. 62-66 the timespan between the onset of the eighth-note dyad decreases each time by an eighth.

<< Sect. 7b Section 8a Sect. 8b >>
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