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iMusic Examples

Some of the musical selections below signaled by a require subscription access*. See below for listening assignments.

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Examples of Meters:

Duple meter: Ah! vous dirai-je, maman (Mozart), same tune as
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (children's song)

Triple meter: America (patriotic song)

Quadruple meter: Battle Hymn of the Republic (Civil War song)

Sextuple meter: Greensleeves (folk song, United Kingdom)


Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (African-American spiritual):
Try singing or speaking this song in time with a regular beat.
(Note that the words in the first measure come between the beats.)

Listening Activity: Rhythm

Bernstein: Tonight, from West Side Story
Licensed streaming of this selection requires the Windows Media Player.

Let's return to the song Tonight and note its rhythmic and metric concepts.

What to Listen For:
  • Duple meter (strong beat, weak beat).
  • Initial upbeat (To- NIGHT, last part of word is downbeat).
  • Complex rhythms with offbeats and syncopations.
  • Polyrhythms in accompaniment.
Reviewing Concepts of Rhythm and Meter:

Duple meter: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster)

Triple meter: Lullaby (Brahms)

Quadruple meter: O Canada (Canadian national anthem)

Sextuple meter: Pop Goes the Weasel (traditional, United Kingdom)

Offbeat: Oh! Susannah (Stephen Foster)

Syncopation: Pine Apple Rag (Scott Joplin)

Shifting meter: El Cihualteco (Mexico, mariachi song)

Polyrhythm: Osain (Cuba, Santería)

Nonmetric: Kyrie (Hildegard of Bingen)

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