Volume 10, Number 2, June 2004
Copyright © 2004 Society for Music Theory

4.1.2 Metrical Position

[1] If beneath every musical surface is an idealized homophony, then the primary mechanism working to obscure it is probably rhythm. The implicit—or sometimes explicit(77)—assumption of idealized harmony is that triads occur at strong metrical positions. We chose to limit our study to strong metrical positions, since triads in weak positions are less likely to be functional harmonies.

[2] To define “metrical strong points,” we used the first two levels of the metrical hierarchy for time signatures with 3, 6, or 9 in the numerator; and we used the first three metrical levels for numerators of 2, 4, or 12. In the case of 86 this would correspond to the dotted-half and dotted-quarter levels; and in 44 this would include the whole-note, half-note, and quarter-note levels.

[3] Some strong-beat sonorities include nonharmonic tones that only later resolve to notes of the triad. These sonorities pose difficult problems for computer analysis, and may not be good candidates for the study of doubling practice. We chose to ignore them and restrict our attention to more simply stated triads—i.e., strong-beat sonorities containing only the root, third, and fifth.

Back to §4.1 (“Composed” Triads)
Back to §4 (Data)

Go on to §4.2 (“Random” Triads)

Copyright Statement

Copyright © 2004 by the Society for Music Theory. All rights reserved.

[1] Copyrights for individual items published in Music Theory Online (MTO) are held by their authors. Items appearing in MTO may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the author(s), and advance notification of the editors of MTO.

[2] Any redistributed form of items published in MTO must include the following information in a form appropriate to the medium in which the items are to appear:

This item appeared in Music Theory Online in [VOLUME #, ISSUE #] on [DAY/MONTH/YEAR]. It was authored by [FULL NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS], with whose written permission it is reprinted here.

[3] Libraries may archive issues of MTO in electronic or paper form for public access so long as each issue is stored in its entirety, and no access fee is charged. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the editors of MTO, who will act in accordance with the decisions of the Society for Music Theory.

This document and all portions thereof are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Material contained herein may be copied and/or distributed for research purposes only.

    Return to beginning    


Prepared by Brent Yorgason, Managing Editor and Tahirih Motazedian, Editorial Assistant