Analysing Musical Time, Dr Anne Hyland
The complex relationship between music and time has fascinated people for generations. Music not only exists in and through time, but it also has the capacity to shape, expand, even distort or destroy time. It does this through a combination of diverse rhythmic, melodic, harmonic, and formal means within the composition, and the performance choices made by the player.
This video explores how music analysis can help us understand the ways by which music effects our perception of time. It provides an in-depth analysis of a section of music from the first movement of Schubert’s G-major Quartet, D887 (1826), a piece which many scholars believe plays on the listener’s perception of the passing of time by being retrospective, or recollective, in nature. The analysis demonstrates that the unique temporal perspective of the movement is created via recognisable formal and harmonic devices, thus illuminating their close interaction. By uncovering the precise mechanisms shaping musical time in this work, this video demonstrates that without music analysis, we cannot fully appreciate what is most fascinating about how this music manipulates time.
Example 1: Schubert, D887/i, Exposition, Second Group, Formal Functions
Example 2: Schubert, D887/i, Exposition, Second Group, Stratified Presentation
Scores and Recordings
Score download: Petrucci, Schubert String Quartet No. 15, D 887
Recommended recording: ‘String Quartet in G major, D887′, Melos Quartet, Schubert: String Quartets, CD 6 (Deutsche Grammophon, 1999).
Recording and score: IMSLP, Schubert String Quartet No. 15, D 887
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