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hemiola, correct term?

Sam L 06 Jan 04 - 01:23 AM
Padre 06 Jan 04 - 01:51 AM
Gurney 06 Jan 04 - 02:59 AM
s&r 06 Jan 04 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,MCP 06 Jan 04 - 04:53 AM
s&r 06 Jan 04 - 05:28 AM
kitchen piper 06 Jan 04 - 05:40 AM
s&r 06 Jan 04 - 06:09 AM
kitchen piper 06 Jan 04 - 07:02 AM
s&r 06 Jan 04 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,MCP 06 Jan 04 - 08:27 AM
kitchen piper 06 Jan 04 - 08:35 AM
s&r 06 Jan 04 - 09:00 AM
s&r 06 Jan 04 - 10:42 AM
kitchen piper 06 Jan 04 - 01:14 PM
s&r 06 Jan 04 - 06:37 PM
DonMeixner 06 Jan 04 - 06:42 PM
Emma B 06 Jan 04 - 06:47 PM
Sam L 06 Jan 04 - 08:35 PM
s&r 07 Jan 04 - 04:53 AM
Sam L 07 Jan 04 - 10:02 AM
Burke 07 Jan 04 - 06:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jan 04 - 07:01 PM
Sam L 08 Jan 04 - 09:22 PM
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Subject: hemiola, correct term?
From: Sam L
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 01:23 AM

When I searched the only references were me. Do I use this term correctly? has the meaning evolved? I've seen it used to describe running a pattern of three notes against a rhythm of four, but the dictionary makes it sound more like a basic triplet. Please help. I've begun my dream of retiring from life, like Proust, and hoping to research the trivia collected in my head, to see if any of it is right.


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: Padre
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 01:51 AM

The Harvard Dictionary of Music defines hemiola: "In early music theory, the term had two meanings, both implying the ratio 3:2

1) When applied to pitches, the fifth, since the lengths of two strings sounding the interval are in the ratio 3:2

2) In treatises on mensural notation, the term is applied to time values that are in the relationship 3:2"

Hope this helps

Padre


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: Gurney
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 02:59 AM

And the Concise Oxford... of Music says:
Hemiola or Hemiolia. This rythmic device consists of superimposing two notes in the time of three, or three in the time of two.
It then gives a eample in 3/4 time.


I might understand that if I heard it.....


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: s&r
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 04:38 AM

Take 6/8 rhythm. It can be played with a duple feel (1-2-3, 1-2-3) or with a triple feel (1& 2& 3&). Latin American music will switch from one to the other during the music - that is Hemiola. A well known example is I wanna be in A me-ri-ca; ok by me in A me-ri-ca


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 04:53 AM

The hemiola was a temporary slowing down of a triple metre to half the speed - eg a bar of 3/2 in a 3/4 tune. In modern notation it usually appears as something like:

3/4 x x x|x x x|o x-|x o|x x x|x x x

                  ........

                  Hemiola


(where x =1/4 note and o=1/2 note).

"Hemiolas were used a great deal from the fifteenth century into the eighteenth, and again sporadically by Schumann and frequently by Brahms. Although they are rarely used in twentieth-century music, they do figure in our current efforts to revive music of the Renaissance and Baroque" (Music Notation in the Twentieth Century - A Practical Guidebook - Kurt Stone).

He might also have added that Spanish and Latin American composers for the classical guitar will often insert a hemiola in the lead up to a cadence.

Mick


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: s&r
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:28 AM

Guest MCP - we agree in principle; translate from 3/4 to 6/8 and you get the same result.

There is no universal agreement as to the use of the term hemiola, save for its referring to a ratio of 3:2. Collins Encyclopaedia of Music gives a rhythmic example by Chopin (Etude # 27) where the left hand plays in 2/4 and the right hand plays in 3/4. Encarta says: "hemiola, or the simultaneous or sequential juxtaposition of duple and triple rhythmic figures". So your example (and mine) are sequential; Chopin's use is simultaneous

Stu


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: kitchen piper
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:40 AM

Hello,
Going back to my music college days, the term hemiola was applied to a syncopation across a couple of bars, so in a two bar phrase that would have had say 8 beats, the beats would be regrouped to maybe contain 6. It wasn't always a 3 against 2, it depended on what the composer wanted. It was just a drawing out or speeding up of the beat. Making more or less than would be normal in a phrase.
Er, that didn't make sense did it? I remember it happening a lot in Beethoven, >tingles< was quite a spine chilling effect in some of his symphonies. >sigh<
:-))
Vicki


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: s&r
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:09 AM

Isn't that still duple against triple Vicki?


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: kitchen piper
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 07:02 AM

2 against 3, 3 against 4, 4 against 5, as long as it isn't divisible and takes the feeling of the beat across the bar, displacing the feel of the first beat of the bar away from the bar line.
The exact definition may not put it quite like that, but as a performer that is was happens. All those long wordy definitions, bleurch!
lolol
:-))
VIx


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: s&r
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 07:51 AM

I don't know whether Fred's getting any help here, but I'm intrigued by the notion that hemiola is anything that crosses the barline (not arguing Vicki; just interested) I can see that if you have the situation described by Guest MCP there will be a crossed barline, i find on checking the manuscript that America is in 6/8 as I said above, and although in various trawls of the net as:"is a hemiola (alternate 6/8 and 3/4 rhythm, like the song "America" from "West Side Story"). ... " this is not shown as a change of time signature, nor are there any ties across barlines.

Could it be that the feel of the hemiola rhythm has been hijacked as a descriptive term for a range of similar rhythmic tricks?

Stu


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 08:27 AM

While other references refer to hemiola as any rhythm which goes against the basic background pulse (so eg stressing every 3 beats in a sequence of 4/4 to give a 3/4 feel over the background), Stone, with respect to my example above using the tie in 2 bars of 3/4 to get a 3/2 effect, specifically says: "This notation, however implies syncopations - a different concept from the original idea of merely "stretching" the regular 3 beats". References in classical guitar music that I've seen, always have referred to this stretching of 3/4 to 3/2. Stone also suggests "...since the modernization distorts the composers' intentions, a compromise is suggested:", being a rhythmic cue in 3/2 above the tied 3/4 notation.

(I personally wouldn't describe the opening of America as hemiola either - the alternation of 6/8 and 3/4 seems too strict to be a temporary effect).

Mick


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: kitchen piper
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 08:35 AM

I agree with Mr. MCP, the start of America is not a hemiola. It is just syncopation within the bar. It has to go across more than one bar to be a hemiola. It is the act of displacing the first beat of the bar that makes it one.

To go back to the original question, it is not a basic triplet. lol!

:-))
Vicki


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: s&r
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 09:00 AM

Still intrigued - nothing I can find supports the idea that there must be a crossed barline; there are many desciptions of America as Hemiola; the only general concurrence I can find is that it refers to a ratio of 3:2...

What chance anyone ever agreeing about anything musical

Stu


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: s&r
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 10:42 AM

Just found this which amused me

"The Bourrée tune has three beats in each bar, but experienced musicians would agree that in bars 7-8 there is an interesting displacement of the rhythm called a Hemiola. Luckily, this is not a word you need to remember."


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: kitchen piper
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 01:14 PM

Having just got home from work I dived for my Oxford Dictionary of music. Never fails me....
HEMIOLA or HEMIOLIA. The rhythmic devide of superimposing two notes in the time of three, or three in the time of two.
eg
3 x. x. |x. x. |x. x. |x. x. |
4 x x x|x x x|x x x|x x x |

Those two lines are supposed to be played at the same time, couldn;t get them to line up properly!
So I guess I was a bit wrong after all. Sorry!
No idea what the term was I was talking about in that case. Will have to try to find it to save a bit of face! lol
:-))
Vix


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: s&r
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:37 PM

In my dictionary it says it's from the Greek for half as much again...Always found it interesting the concepts expressed by a single word in other languages. The one that really gets me is si (Gaelic) - such a tiny word for an abstract(?) concept - Fairy Hill...

No face lost kitchen Piper; I know your level of musical knowledge from (I think) Bridgnorth

Peace Stu.

Did any of this help, Fred?


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:42 PM

The example from West Side Story is the only one that makes any sense to me. But that is probably because I can't read music but I can hear it pretty OK.

Don


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: Emma B
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:47 PM

What a wonderful word (and gobsmacking definition) for a game of "Call my Bluff" I just need to come up with a couple of credible "alternative" definitions


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: Sam L
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 08:35 PM

This does help, though I got lost on some points, but the alternative definition where I first encountered the term was referring to a pattern of 3 notes run against a rythm of 4. Quite simply
'g a c g 'a c g a 'c g a c (and you'd wind up starting on 'g/1 again)
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

so that the accent falls on a different note in the sequence and creates a jacob's ladder sort of spilling forward impression. I've heard that called a hemiola, then found the dictionary seemed to say something else into which the sequence of tones themselves doesn't necesarily figure. Now I want a word for the note-to-rythm juxtaposion! It's such a common device.

another fun call-my-bluff term, from rhetoric, tmesis. I've seen it used in terms of literary style to mean taking an expected or conventional figure or structure, but interpolating something into it. So that "I can count on the fingers of one hand the times that has happened" may become "I can count on the fingers of one maimed hand the times"... etc. Seems to have musical uses.


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: s&r
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 04:53 AM

How about melodic hemiola? (If a term don't exist, invent one)

Stu


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: Sam L
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 10:02 AM

Well, that makes sense to me, S&R, but I'm not sure hemiola lends itself very well, now that I see it's a dotted note d. d. phrasing--
                                                    / / /
if I understand correctly.

   I remember a lute method that said a dotted feel in runs (d.F d.F)was idiomatic of old traditional lute technique and always wondered how anyone could know that, now, since it wasn't written that way in the tablature. Seemed to just want to justify a heavy thumbstroke.

There seems to be an analogy in the meaning, somewhere, about superimposing patterns, I guess, but I must have read the definition backwards and thought of 3/2 instead of 2/3. I saw the other meaning in a guitar magazine somewhere and thought it was good to have a name for that.


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: Burke
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 06:30 PM

Here's part of what Grove Music gives as a definition:

'Hemiola' in the modern metrical system denotes the articulation of two units of triple metre as if they were notated as three units of duple metre. This is a common feature of Baroque music, especially of the French courante, and is used for giving rhythmic variety to dances and helping to effect an allargando at the end of a longer movement; Handel made much use of it. In the 19th century it was used by Schumann and often by Brahms, and was an important feature of the Viennese waltz. Hemiola is a distinguishing feature of such folkdances as the Andalusian polo and the Central American huapango, rhythmic characteristics of which were incorporated by Bernstein into 'America' from West Side Story


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:01 PM

I imagine most people (including most folkies),if asked what a hemiola was, they'd guess it might be an alternative word for a haemorrhoid for people without spellcheckers.

But surely the barline is a fairly abstract idea - collectors noting down traditional music can put the bar lines in all kind of places. Well not all kinds, but several kinds.


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Subject: RE: hemiola, correct term?
From: Sam L
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 09:22 PM

Yes, sometimes. Phillip Glass wound up transcribing Ravi Shankar without any bars at all.
It's over my head, I don't read rythm easily.And when I first looked at these responses it was mostly to find some reverberation of the idea I was looking for. There seems to be some range, and it's interesting. Thanks.


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