Listening for Part 1: Exploring Rhythm

Listening log is an important part of the course. I tried to listen to a wide range of compositions of different style and from different periods. For Part One of the course, where the focus is rhythm and meter, I included the indefinite-pitched percussion and the variable metre categories below. Click the links below to access them.

Indefinite-pitched percussion

I grouped the pieces I listened to into the posts dedicated to each instrument. The instruments include snare drum, bass drum, triangle, cymbals, tambourine, woodblocks and temple blocks. In the post titled other, I add some instances of the other indefinite-pitched percussion instruments I found. Each instrument post includes the unaccompanied and accompanied solo pieces, and the instrument in the ensemble and orchestra compositions.

Variable metre

This was the research point in the Project 2 brief. Variable meter is a technique developed by Boris Blacher, where the meter changes in a systematic way depending on the mathematical relationships. Since Blacher was influenced by Stravinsky’s rhythmic innovations, I have also added several of his pieces to the list, as well as some other composers that experimented with meter changes.

For all the pieces, I included a bit of analysis and noted some of my thoughts. Although I have studied music since childhood, as both the indefinite-pitched percussion and variable metre weren’t something I ever specifically focused on, doing that brought new type of acoustic experience to me. Hence, it was very helpful that I managed to find most of the scores to follow, which not only deepened my understanding, but enriched and guided my listening process, so that I knew what to listen for. I think this is a very important practice that I picked up here. As such, generally, I quite enjoyed all the pieces and they really changed the way I hear and perceive music, even changing my definition of what music is. Some of the things I would barely define as music before, now make a lot sense with the right musical context. More on that, read my reflections here.