In music, duration is an amount of time or how long or short a note, phrase, section, or composition lasts. "Duration is the length of time a pitch, or tone, is sounded." A note may last less than a second, while a symphony may last more than an hour. One of the fundamental features of rhythm, or encompassing rhythm, duration is also central to meter and musical form. Release plays an important part in determining the timbre of a musical instrument and is affected by articulation.
The concept of duration can be further broken down into those of beat and meter, where beat is seen as (usually, but certainly not always) a 'constant', and rhythm being longer, shorter or the same length as the beat. Pitch may even be considered a part of duration. In serial music the beginning of a note may be considered, or its duration may be (for example, is a 6 the note which begins at the sixth beat, or which lasts six beats?).
Durations, and their beginnings and endings, may be described as long, short, or taking a specific amount of time. Often duration is described according to terms borrowed from descriptions of pitch. As such, the duration complement is the amount of different durations used, the duration scale is an ordering (scale) of those durations from shortest to longest, the duration range is the difference in length between the shortest and longest, and the duration hierarchy is an ordering of those durations based on frequency of use.
Durational patterns are the foreground details projected against a background metric structure, which includes meter, tempo, and all rhythmic aspects which produce temporal regularity or structure. Duration patterns may be divided into rhythmic units and rhythmic gestures (Winold, 1975, chap. 3). But they may also be described using terms borrowed from the metrical feet of poetry: iamb (weak–strong), anapest (weak–weak–strong), trochee (strong–weak), dactyl (strong–weak–weak), and amphibrach (weak–strong–weak), which may overlap to explain ambiguity.
Rhythm generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions". This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time can apply to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or frequency of anything from microseconds to several seconds ; to several minutes or hours, or, at the most extreme, even over many years.
Syncopation is a musical term meaning a variety of rhythms played together to make a piece of music, making part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat. More simply, syncopation is "a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm": a "placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur". It is the correlation of at least two sets of time intervals.
The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats (pulses) are contained in each measure (bar), and which note value is equivalent to a beat.
In music, metre or meter refers to the regularly recurring patterns and accents such as bars and beats. Unlike rhythm, metric onsets are not necessarily sounded, but are nevertheless implied by the performer and expected by the listener.
The clave is a rhythmic pattern used as a tool for temporal organization in Afro-Cuban music. In Spanish, clave literally means key, clef, code, or keystone. It is present in a variety of genres such as Abakuá music, rumba, conga, son, mambo, salsa, songo, timba and Afro-Cuban jazz. The five-stroke clave pattern represents the structural core of many Afro-Cuban rhythms.
In music and music theory, the beat is the basic unit of time, the pulse, of the mensural level. The beat is often defined as the rhythm listeners would tap their toes to when listening to a piece of music, or the numbers a musician counts while performing, though in practice this may be technically incorrect. In popular use, beat can refer to a variety of related concepts, including pulse, tempo, meter, specific rhythms, and groove.
In musical notation, a bar is a segment of time corresponding to a specific number of beats in which each beat is represented by a particular note value and the boundaries of the bar are indicated by vertical bar lines. Dividing music into bars provides regular reference points to pinpoint locations within a musical composition. It also makes written music easier to follow, since each bar of staff symbols can be read and played as a batch.
In the history of European art music, the common practice period is the era of the tonal system. Though it has no exact dates, most features of the common-practice period persisted from the mid- to late baroque period, through the Classical, Romantic and Impressionist periods, from around 1650 to 1900. The period saw considerable stylistic evolution, with some patterns and conventions flourishing and then declining, for example the sonata form. Thus, the dates 1650–1900 are necessarily nebulous and arbitrary borders that depend on context. The most important unifying feature throughout the period is a harmonic language to which modern music theorists can apply Roman numeral chord analysis.
In music, the terms additive and divisive are used to distinguish two types of both rhythm and meter:
In music theory, the pulse is a musical piece's either audible or implied series of uniformly spaced beats—in other words, uniformly timed instants of punctuating sound—and thus is the monotonous "tapping" that sets the tempo and that underlies or anchors the rhythm. Whereas the rhythm, being a musical creation that at times can intricately depart from the pulse, may become too difficult for an untrained listener to fully match, nearly any listener instinctively matches the pulse by simply tapping uniformly, despite rhythmic variations in timing of sounds atop the pulse. A performance may leave certain beats silent, not literally sounded, but the pulse remains as an abstraction. For example, even after a silent passage in a piece, the piece typically resumes on beat, as it were, by referencing the implied pulse, established before the silence.
In music, metric modulation is a change in pulse rate (tempo) and/or pulse grouping (subdivision) which is derived from a note value or grouping heard before the change. Examples of metric modulation may include changes in time signature across an unchanging tempo, but the concept applies more specifically to shifts from one time signature/tempo (metre) to another, wherein a note value from the first is made equivalent to a note value in the second, like a pivot or bridge. The term "modulation" invokes the analogous and more familiar term in analyses of tonal harmony, wherein a pitch or pitch interval serves as a bridge between two keys. In both terms, the pivoting value functions differently before and after the change, but sounds the same, and acts as an audible common element between them. Metric modulation was first described by Richard Franko Goldman while reviewing the Cello Sonata of Elliott Carter, who prefers to call it tempo modulation. Another synonymous term is proportional tempi.
A technique in which a rhythmic pattern is superposed on another, heterometrically, and then supersedes it and becomes the basic metre. Usually, such time signatures are mutually prime, e.g., 4
4 and 3
8, and so have no common divisors. Thus the change of the basic metre decisively alters the numerical content of the beat, but the minimal denominator remains constant in duration.
A Tala, sometimes spelled Titi or Pipi, literally means a "clap, tapping one's hand on one's arm, a musical measure". It is the term used in Indian classical music to refer to musical meter, that is any rhythmic beat or strike that measures musical time. The measure is typically established by hand clapping, waving, touching fingers on thigh or the other hand, verbally, striking of small cymbals, or a percussion instrument in the Indian subcontinental traditions. Along with raga which forms the fabric of a melodic structure, the tala forms the life cycle and thereby constitutes one of the two foundational elements of Indian music.
In music theory, a phrase is a unit of musical meter that has a complete musical sense of its own, built from figures, motifs, and cells, and combining to form melodies, periods and larger sections.
A phrase is a substantial musical thought, which ends with a musical punctuation called a cadence. Phrases are created in music through an interaction of melody, harmony, and rhythm.
In music, the term period refers to certain types of recurrence in small-scale formal structure. In twentieth-century music scholarship, the term is usually used as defined by the Oxford Companion to Music: "a period consists of two phrases, antecedent and consequent, each of which begins with the same basic motif." Earlier usage varied somewhat, but usually referred to similar notions of symmetry, recurrence, and closure. The concept of a musical period originates in comparisons between music structure and rhetoric at least as early as the 16th century.
In medieval music, the rhythmic modes were set patterns of long and short durations. The value of each note is not determined by the form of the written note, but rather by its position within a group of notes written as a single figure called a "ligature", and by the position of the ligature relative to other ligatures. Modal notation was developed by the composers of the Notre Dame school from 1170 to 1250, replacing the even and unmeasured rhythm of early polyphony and plainchant with patterns based on the metric feet of classical poetry, and was the first step towards the development of modern mensural notation. The rhythmic modes of Notre Dame Polyphony were the first coherent system of rhythmic notation developed in Western music since antiquity.
In music a time point or timepoint is "an instant, analogous to a geometrical point in space". Because it has no duration, it literally cannot be heard, but it may be used to represent "the point of initiation of a single pitch, the repetition of a pitch, or a pitch simultaneity", therefore the beginning of a sound, rather than its duration. It may also designate the release of a note or the point within a note at which something changes. Other terms often used in music theory and analysis are attack point and starting point. Milton Babbitt calls the distance from one time point, attack, or starting point to the next a time-point interval, independent of the durations of the sounding notes which may be either shorter than the time-point interval, or longer. Charles Wuorinen shortens this expression to just time interval. Other writers use the terms attack interval, or, interval of entry, interval of entrance, or starting interval.
Colotomy is an Indonesian description of the rhythmic and metric patterns of gamelan music. It refers to the use of specific instruments to mark off nested time intervals, or the process of dividing rhythmic time into such nested cycles. In the gamelan, this is usually done by gongs of various size: the kempyang, ketuk, kempul, kenong, gong suwukan, and gong ageng. The fast-playing instruments, kempyang and ketuk, keep a regular beat. The larger gongs group together these hits into larger groupings, playing once per each grouping. The largest gong, the gong ageng, represents the largest time cycle and generally indicates that that section will be repeated, or the piece will move on to a new section.
A generative theory of tonal music (GTTM) is a theory of music conceived by American composer and music theorist Fred Lerdahl and American linguist Ray Jackendoff and presented in the 1983 book of the same title. It constitutes a "formal description of the musical intuitions of a listener who is experienced in a musical idiom" with the aim of illuminating the unique human capacity for musical understanding.
A duration row or duration series is an ordering of a set of durations, in analogy with the tone row or twelve-tone set.
Lyric setting is the process in songwriting of placing textual content (lyrics) in the context of musical rhythm, in which the lyrical meter and musical rhythm are in proper alignment as to preserve the natural shape of the language and promote prosody.