Theses Doctoral

Rhythm in Some 20th-Century Classical Music Sounds Different Depending on How You Move

Fort, Anthony James

I study certain passages of music for which I struggle to perceive a clear rhythm. I attribute this difficulty to an inability to infer or impose a beat. I show how, by listening to these “vague” rhythms repeatedly, I have been able to use movement to impose my own beat onto the auditory surface, and, by doing so, hear the rhythm with more clarity. What’s more, I show how I have been able to impose different beats on different listening occasions, and, as a result, hear different rhythms. I share my experience by presenting videos in which I move to the same music in different ways, priming the listener to have different rhythmic experiences depending on which video is being viewed. I discuss the techniques used to create these effects, as well as the features of the acoustic signal which make this kind of manipulation possible. In light of these discussions, and in dialogue with the work of other theorists, I examine certain issues of music cognition and music aesthetics, including the issue of musical “complexity”. I finish by considering whether the experience of rhythm could be manipulated to an even greater degree, and, to that end, present the “even-note illusion”, which uses a click-track to remove the lilt from a non-periodic stimulus.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Dubiel, Joseph P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 31, 2020