[Smt-talk] Classical metric fakeouts

Stephen Taylor staylor7 at illinois.edu
Sat Mar 26 09:13:34 PDT 2011

Dear all,

I'm looking for examples of what Justin London would call "metric  
fakeouts" in the classical repertoire. Especially situations like the  
opening of the Debussy Violin Sonata, where the meter is 3/4 Allegro  
vivo, but the beginning sounds slow. It's not apparent that the piece  
is fast until m. 15, when the quick 8th notes in the violin finally  
coalesce with the piano part.

I've been looking for examples, and as far as I can tell most pieces  
don't do this - they pretty much announce their tempo, slow or fast,  
right at the start; or else they begin meterless, with a fermata (Rite  
of Spring, Beethoven 5). But most pieces don't have a hidden meter  
which is revealed later. Maybe Beethoven's Coriolan Overture?  
(although this piece is much more straightforward than the Debussy).

Any ideas or examples are greatly appreciated!

Best wishes,

Stephen Taylor
Associate Professor of Composition-Theory
School of Music
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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