Dissertation Index

Author: Wells, Robert L.

Title: A Generalized Intervallic Approach to Metric Conflict

Institution: Eastman School of Music

Begun: May 2013

Completed: November 2014


A frequent phenomenon in music is when two metric layers conflict, but neither layer is dominant. While this conflict often involves, in Western music, interactions between \"notated\" metric layers, indicated by time signatures and bars, and \"heard\" metric layers, given by cues in the sounding music, such conflict may appear in improvisatory and/or non-written contexts as well, as in many non-Western musics. The primary purpose of this dissertation is to formalize an analytical system general enough to encompass all of these instances of metric conflict, but specific enough to generate precise and interesting analytical statements.

To achieve this balance of generality and precision, this dissertation first constructs a new analytical system based on Lewin\'s \"generalized interval system\" (GIS) concept, introducing a new set of metric GISs along with specialized techniques that allow the analyst to organize, compare, and relate the available GIS intervals. These techniques include intervallic decomposition, expansion and contraction of intervals to various levels of pulse, and the formation of equivalence classes of expansion- and contraction-related intervals. The remainder of the dissertation applies this new system to analytical and theoretical studies drawn from nineteenth-century and South Indian Carnatic music that motivate important additions to the overall system, as well as providing significant metric insights into the pieces being studied. In sum, this dissertation provides a precise, unified approach to metric conflict that suggests substantial new possibilities for metric analysis.

Keywords: Meter, Tala, Metric Conflict, Lewin, GIS, Liszt, Brahms, Carnatic Music


Chapter 1: Introduction and Motivation 1
1.1: Introduction 1
1.2: Review of Literature 10

Chapter 2: A Theory of Metric GISs 50
2.1: Temporal Spaces 50
2.2: Defining the Component GISs 55
2.3: Initial Analytical Applications of Met 79

Chapter 3: Met Interval Theory: Intervallic Decomposition, Expansion, and Contraction 88
3.1: Introduction 88
3.2: Intervallic Decompositions 90
3.3: Intervallic Expansion and Contraction 103
3.4: Expansion Classes 120

Chapter 4: Applying Met: Two Representative Liszt Analyses 135
4.1: Introduction 135
4.2: Two Representative Analyses 137
4.3: \"Invocation\" and \"Wilde Jagd\" Revisited: Interchanging X and Y 169

Chapter 5: Additional Applications: Three Special Topics in Nineteenth-Century Metric Theory 189
5.1: Introduction 189
5.2: \"Loose\" Expansion and Contraction 190
5.3: Generalized \"Hemiolic Cycles\" 200
5.4: Met and Hypermeter 210

Chapter 6: Non-Western Case Study: South Indian Carnatic Music 220
6.1: Introduction 220
6.2: South Indian Carnatic Music: A Primer 221
6.3: Representing Carnatic Music Using Met 227
6.4: Analysis: Tyagaraja\'s Jagadanandakaraka 248

Chapter 7: Conclusion 272
7.1: Limitations of Met 273
7.2: Possibilities for Further Research 279

Bibliography 284

Appendix 304


Robert Layton Wells

     Return to dissertations