Polymetry |
Music Terms

Polymetry |

Dictionary categories
terms and concepts

from the Greek polus – many and metron – measure

The connection of two or three meters at the same time, one of the most common forms of organization of polyrhythm.

P. is characterized by a mismatch of metric. accents in different votes. P. can form voices, in which the size is unchanged or variable, and the variability is not always indicated in the notes of the correspondences. digital signs.

The most striking expression of P. is a combination of decomp. meters throughout the Op. or a major section of it. Such P. meets seldom; a well-known example is the ball scene from Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the counterpoint of three dances in 3/4, 2/4, 3/8 time signatures.

More common short polymetric. episodes occurring in unstable moments of the classic. forms, in particular before cadences; as game elements, they are in some cases used in the scherzo, where they are formed most often on the basis of the proportions of the hemiola (see an example from the 2nd part of the 2nd quartet of A.P. Borodin).

A special type is motivic P., one of the foundations of the composition of I. F. Stravinsky. P. in Stravinsky usually has two or three layers, and each of them is outlined by the length and structure of the motive. In typical cases, one of the voices (bass) is melodically ostinaten, the length of the motive in it is unchanged, while in other voices it changes; the bar line is usually set to be the same for all voices (see an example from the 1st scene of the “Story of a Soldier” by I. F. Stravinsky).

A. P. Borodin. 2nd quartet, part II.

I. F. Stravinsky. “Soldier’s Story”, scene I.

V. Ya. Kholopova

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