Pulse Streams and Problems of Grouping and Metrical Dissonance in Bartók’s “With Drums and Pipes”

Author: Roeder, John
Publication details: Music Theory Online 7/1
Weblink: http://www.mtosmt.org


Polyphony has many interesting rhythmic properties that do not obtain in textures that are modeled by most rhythmic theories. This paper invokes the concept of pulse streams to demonstrate how phenomenal accent and grouping are organized in a extended two-voice polyphony by Bartók to create convincing form and process. The pulse-stream analysis is manifested audibly by Quicktime examples that combine audio playback, a scrolling annotated score, and the pulses played by percussion instruments.