Preliminary thoughts toward the study of music without clear beat: the example of 'flowing rhythm' in Jewish nusah

Material Type: 
Articles in Journals
In: 
Asian Music ( Journal )
Year: 
Spring-Summer 1993
Volume: 
XXIV
Issue: 
2
Pages: 
59-88
Languages: 
English
Description: 

Attempts to conceptualize and illustrate the problem of rhythmic structures without a clear beat, that is, structures which are commonly called free or flowing rhythm. A theoretical framework is proposed for the analysis and transcription of such music. A theoretical definition of rhythmic flexibility outlines its relation to intermediate musical structure (where a sense of beat and some pulsation is felt) and explicates the problems of traditional rhythmic analysis in discussing flowing rhythm. The possible geographical spread of musics in flowing rhythm is outlined, and the significance of such structures within individual repertoires is evaluated. Finally, cultural significance and style variability within flowing rhythm are illustrated by the analysis of two performances of the same Ashkenazi , based on field recordings and transcriptions.