Show off your theory chops with my weekly challenge! You’ll find a new question here every Monday. Please comment to post your reply.
This week’s challenge:
Listen to the audio below and try to figure out the meter of this piece. Two hints:
- The quarter note is the beat.
- Despite what you might hear, there is no change of meter!
Need another hint? Below are two beat samples. The first gives you the actual beat for this piece. The second is what you might hear in the piece, but it’s incorrect!
If you already know this piece, don’t reveal the title or the composer yet!
Check back Friday, July 2nd for the answer!
ANSWER for 6/28/21
This was the opening of Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, The “Rhenish Symphony.” The meter is 3/4, but for the first six measures it sounds like 3/2. The ties and syncopations displace the sense of the beat, making six measures of 3/4 sound like three measures of 3/2. But then, starting on measure 7, the syncopations disappear, and the sense of 3/4 finally asserts itself. It suddenly sounds like we’ve changed meter, but, in fact, we’ve been in 3/4 the whole time.
This is yet another use of the hemiola: two different ways to feel the same six beats: two groups of three, or three groups of two.
Rhythm and meter are the life blood of music. Have a look at my video lessons in the Rhythm Module! Then sign up for a monthly subscription for full access to all video lessons, worksheets, and answer keys. New lessons are added every month. I created Breaking Barlines with one thing in mind: making music theory effective and FUN!
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