Honing, H. (2002) Structure and interpretation of rhythm and timing. Dutch Journal of Music Theory (Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie). 7(3), 227-232.


Rhythm, as it is performed and perceived, is only sparingly addressed in music theory. Existing theories of rhythmic structure are often restricted to music as notated in a score, and as a result are bound to refrain from making statements about music as it is perceived and appreciated by listeners. This paper outlines a cognitive approach to the study of rhythm and timing that allows for making scientific observations and statements about 'sounding' music, music as it is performed and listened to. In addition, the notion of rhythm space (the set of all possible performed rhythms) is elaborated into a systematic method for the investigation of the relation between rhythmic structure, expressive timing and tempo. As such the paper presents a research program that aims to develop a theory of music incorporating both the structural and perceptual aspects of musical time.

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