Rhythm (music)

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In music , the term rhythm ( ancient Greek ῥυθμός ) denotes one of the two horizontal ( temporal , temporal , sequential ) permanent structures of individual sound events (insertions or endings of tones / noises, represented graphically by musical notes ) and duration of silence (graphically: Pause signs ), or the permanent structures of unchangeable, coherently interpreted musical concepts / percepts (e.g. rhythm of the fundamental tones, rhythm of the pitches (independent of the rhythm of the attacks / endings), rhythms of recurring pitches in pseudo-polyphonic melodies, etc.).

If you represent a musical structure as a two-dimensional diagram with time on the X-axis and the pitch on the Y-axis (comparable to musical notation ), rhythm denotes one of the two horizontal structures in addition to the melody . The vertical component perpendicular to it corresponds to the pitch in this picture. Both can basically be changed independently of one another, but the dimension of the pitch also conveys rhythms.


Context of basic beat , beat , meter and rhythm

The definition of rhythm as a continuous sequence comes from Aristoxenus , who was the first to write a theory of rhythm. He did not limit the duration to the duration of the sound , but also included the language level in singing and body movement in dance , which are often combined in music. It was not until late antiquity that rhythmists, such as Augustine, introduced pauses in the sense of empty periods . A polyrhythm is a layering of rhythms of equal total duration; it allows the representation of complex musical time structures in the more general sense of rhythm. Polyrhythm is common in African and Indian music , among others .

In Western music which is notation of rhythms as sequences of note values and pause values common to so with the musical lives signs of musical notation . The rhythm there relates to the given, usually regularly repeated measure and thus receives an emphasis structure. A rhythm against the basic beat of the beat is called syncopated . How tense a rhythm is perceived to be depends heavily on the mixing ratio and the way in which its accents coincide with or differ from the basic beat. In particular, the rhythms of dances are always tied to the beat and have proper names, e.g. B. march rhythm , waltz rhythm , samba rhythms , tango rhythm , etc.

In music outside of the occidental area there is often a rhythm that is independent of the clock system, for example in the tala in Indian music.

See also


  • Peter Benary: Rhythm and Metrics. A practical guide. Gerig, Cologne 1967, DNB 456065172 .
  • Wilfried Neumaier: Ancient rhythm theories, historical form and current substance. Amsterdam 1989, ISBN 90-6032-064-6 .
  • John Palmer : Rhythm to go , Vision Edition 2013, ISMN 979-0-9002315-1-2. A course for ear training courses corresponding to the level at music colleges.
  • Peter Petersen : Music and Rhythm. Basics, history, analysis. Schott, Mainz 2010, ISBN 978-3-7957-0728-6 .
  • Gesine Schröder (Ed.): Rhythmics and metrics. Laaber, Laaber 2016, ISBN 978-3-89007-828-1 .
  • Wieland Ziegenrücker: General music theory with questions and tasks for self-control. German Publishing House for Music, Leipzig 1977; Paperback edition: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, and Musikverlag B. Schott's Sons, Mainz 1979, ISBN 3-442-33003-3 , pp. 32-62 ( Vom Rhythmus ).

Web links

Commons : Rhythms  - collection of images, videos and audio files