Test your theory chops with the weekly challenge from Breaking Barlines! You’ll find a new question here every Monday. Please comment to post your reply.
This Week’s Challenge:
The meter is running! This is one of my favorite gems from my favorite composer. As always, I’ll reveal the source on Friday, so so spoilers please if you already know it! I’ve blacked out the time signature, so that’s your challenge this week. What meter is this in?
Post your reply and come back Friday, July 15th for the answer!
ANSWER for 7/11/22
Believe it or not, this week’s challenge was brought to you by Johannes Brahms! This is variation 7 from Book 2 of Brahms’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 35. He chose to give this one two time signatures, 2/4 for the right hand and 3/8 for the left. To further complicate things, each left hand beat is carved into a triplet, making for a nice and simple NINE AGAINST FOUR between the hands! Even worse, Brahms actually starts each left hand triplet on a pickup before the first measure, so all the sixteenth note triplets are displaced backward, with beams crossing the barlines. However, the ultimate effect between the hands is 4 against 3, so it would have been more accurate to make the entire passage in 2/4 and have triplet quarter notes on the left, rather than triplet eighths. But don’t despair: if you’re interested in playing this, The next measures after these turn the right hand eighths into broken octave sixteenths. Who doesn’t need a little 8 AGAINST 9 in their lives? Brahms, you’re killing us.
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Patricia Cunningham says
I’m not familiar with Aron’s favorite’s notation style, but found this fun to analyze.
I’m going to guess that for the right hand, the time signature is 4-8 which matches the movement here. I also like 9-16 for the left hand which matches the value of notation there. But the upper and lower are one-sixteenth off. So a split brain approach is called for. The groupings via ‘stem bars’ (?) is also interesting. Is there an emphasis implied?