Rhythm and music terms sometimes have different meanings.
Cycle: One whole repetition of a rhythm.
Measure: In rhythm; a drawn abstract representation of a block of time on which notes, etc. are written for reference. The block of time represented may be from 1/4 of the rhythm's cycle to the span of the whole cycle itself.
Example: Rhythm of two 8 pulse measures
|========== cycle ==============|
|=1st measure =|=2nd measure =|
| | * | =accent
|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &| =16 pulses (8 per
|B t B t |B t O t | measure)
r l r l |r l r l
Example: Rhythm of one 12 pulse measure
|======== cycle ========|
|======= measure =======|
|* * * | =accents
|1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6|
|B O B O B O O |
Pulse: Smallest "regular" temporal division of a measure.
Ostinato: The continuos repetition of a cycle.
Rhythm: Pattern of notes, usually of one or two or (rarer) more measures, to be played ostinato. May be a single part or be made up of several parts (multilinear).
Rhythm Music: (as separate from melodic music) Music produced primarily by altering patterns of notes and/or accents rather than altering pitch. Melody may be non- existent or incidental to the rhythmic pattern.
Melodic Music: (as separate from rhythm music) Always has a melody of pitches in a rhythmic pattern. Produced by changes of pitch rather than by changes of pattern.
Percussion Instrument: The sound is created by something being struck. It may be melodic as in a piano or xylophone or non melodic as in a drum.
Rhythm Instrument: A short scale (non-melodic, few pitches) instrument used in the production of rhythm music.
Percussionist: Accompanies melodic music on percussion instruments.
Rhythmist: Performs rhythm music with rhythm instruments.
Part: One rhythm in a multiple rhythm piece.
Multilinear Rhythm: A rhythm consisting of more than one part.
Beat: (abstract) In music, a fixed unit of time, marking a regular series of strong and weak accents that is some major fraction of the time of a measure. i.e.: 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 of the measure. Used for conducting and counting.
Beat: (real) In rhythm, ostinato series of strong accents produced by rhythm. Used for performing and measuring.
Main or Dance Beat: The outstanding series of perceived physiological accents of a rhythm. (Where the unrehearsed dancer would tap or move his/her feet or body.)
Subsidiary Beat: All beats other than the main beat.
Part Beat: The main beat of a single part.
Counter Beat: subsidiary beats occurring exactly between the main beats.
Polymetric Beat: Different metrical beat series, usually subsidiary.
Tempo: How fast a rhythm is played.
Accent: Where a note has greater presence and/or appears to be louder. Three main types are used in rhythm music.
1. Dynamic: a louder, harder struck note.
2. Tonic: Note stands out because of a sudden change in pitch.
a. Isolation: there are no notes immediately before it.
b. Duration: there are no notes immediately after it.
Wattage: slang for how intense or effective a rhythm is. High wattage rhythms have great presence and drive. Low wattage rhythms are less danceable.
© Copyright 1980-1994 James VanDenAkker
© Copyright 1997 Luis M. Nunez
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