The interaction between meter and phrase beginnings and endings in the mature instrumental music of Haydn and Mozart

Justin Marc London, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation is an exploration into the nature of phrase beginnings and endings, and analytical accounts of them. A distinction is first made between a time-point, or moment, of beginning/ending and a time-span, or gesture, of beginning/ending. The ramifications of this distinction form the greater basis of this study. Within the first rhythmic group of a phrase, a particular moment is heard as the structural beginning of the phrase; a similar moment occurs in the last rhythmic group of the phrase. Structural beginnings and endings are contrasted with the morphological beginnings and endings of the phrase. Based upon recent studies in musical and temporal perception, a theory of meter is presented in which listeners and performers play active roles in determining metric structures and structural relationships. Phrase beginnings, endings, and succession are then discussed. Special attention is paid to the way in which meter effects rhythmic groups at phrase beginnings and endings. Other topics covered include metric ambiguity and metric recognition, meter and cadential syntax, and cadential expansion and extensions. After presenting a model for normative phrase succession, rhythmic gaps within and between phrases are discussed, and again meter is shown to play an important role in distinguishing between normal versus irregular cases of phrase succession. Finally, rhythmic groups in the musical foreground, which form the beginning and ending portions of a phrase, are contrasted with rhythmic groups on higher levels of the musical hierarchy. The number and degree of differences between foreground and middleground rhythmic groups suggest that the rhythmic hierarchy should not be construed in recursive terms. A new picture of phrase structure is then given, one which recognizes structural beginnings and endings within a continuous musical gesture on the phrase level. ^

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Recommended Citation

London, Justin Marc, "The interaction between meter and phrase beginnings and endings in the mature instrumental music of Haydn and Mozart" (1990). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9112600.