[Smt-talk] rhythm & rhythms

Michael Morse mwmorse at bell.net
Sat Sep 17 15:05:28 PDT 2011

Dear Nicolas,

  I'm surprised to hear you say "A rhythm is made up of successive sounds within the auditory range (a rhythm does not exist without sounds), not of waves below the auditory limit." In the particular context of your discussion, it makes some sense, but as a bald statement, forgive me, it's false altogether, don't you think? Among the myriad possible demonstrations might be the "ritmo di 3/di 4 battute" in passages of the scherzo of Beethoven's Ninth, which difference is, like all phenomena of pulsation, a feeling or sensation, in itself inaudible, made audible in musical performance. Such quintessentially rhythmic differences become tangible in the realization of musical performance, but are not of themselves audible. Hence, to me, the notion that the "rhythms" of a Klee painting or a Gaudi cathedral are rhythmic only by analogy to music or dance is incorrect. Dance could well be the most spectacular example of the point, in fact. Once a group of dancers have internalized the rhythms of a musical piece to certain point, the no longer require the auditory stimulus to dance or, we might say, "dance out" the rhythms.

Much Best,


Michael W. Morse
Trent University Peterborough/Oshawa
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