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The melodic beat - asymmetric variations in polska performances.
Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0646-5426
2019 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Abstract: The melodic beat - asymmetric variations in polska performances 

Triple-beat forms in Scandinavian Folk Music and Dance traditions sometimes have asymmetrical beat, and this is true for local styles of the Swedish polska. How musical metrical structures are mirrored in Norwegian folk dance forms has been described by Blom (1993) and in Motion Capture studies (Haugen, 2016). In these traditions beat patterns are often varied within performances, shifting between more or less asymmetric measures. Folk music theorists have related these asymmetric beat variations to melodic surface structures (Ahlbäck, 2003).

 

The aim of this study is a deeper understanding of these musical structures and towards exploring how performers’ expressional variations of asymmetric beat patterns correspond to subtle variations in style-specific dance movements. Can the interaction between musician and dancer be traced through this shaping of beat structures? 

 

Asymmetric beat patterns are here studied from recordings of different versions of the same musical pieces: polska in a local tradition. The data includes historical archive recordings and recent recordings of fiddlers playing for dancers, recorded with sound and Motion Capture. Recordings were annotated both manually and using an auto-notation algorithm (Ahlbäck, et al 2019). Beat patterns were compared to aspects of melodic phrase structures, such as melodic form and the effect of the frequency of note onsets on the relative length of a beat. 

 

The results show that asymmetric beat patterns were related to the specific melodic contour and to some extent to the number of onsets within a beat and  to certain melodic rhythms. The results also show that within recurring rhythms in a performance the degree of asymmetry can be varied. The beat patterns were found to be more consistent in different recordings with the same players than when compared between players. 

 

The findings point towards how and where the beat is placed within a melodic framework can be regarded as an important part of the expression in these music and dance forms. This study marks a first step in exploring how melodic rhythm and metrical beat asymmetry unfold over the course of these performances. Finding and exploring  these patterns will facilitate studies of rhythmical and metrical variation as a means of interaction between dancers and players.

 

Ahlbäck, S. (2003). About Asymmetrical Beat in the Polska. In M. Ramsten (Ed.), The Polish Dance in Scandinavia and Poland (pp. 165–80). Stockholm: Svenskt visarkiv.

Ahlbäck, S., Emtell, S., Ronström, E., & et al at DoReMir. (2019). ScoreCloud Studio 4.2. Stockholm: DoReMIR Music research AB.

Blom, J.-P. (1993). Rytme og frasering-forholdet til dansen. Fanitullen. Innføring i Norsk Og Samisk Folkemusikk, 161–184.

Haugen, M. R. (2016). Music–Dance Investigating Rhythm Structures in Brazilian Samba and Norwegian Telespringar Performance. Universitetet i Oslo.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Folk Music, computational musicology, ethnomusicology, asymmetric beat, Motion capture, rhythm
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Music
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kmh:diva-3303OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kmh-3303DiVA, id: diva2:1377192
Conference
Time changes in experiences of music and dance International symposium, Universität Hamburg, 29 – 30 nov, 2019
Available from: 2019-12-11 Created: 2019-12-11 Last updated: 2019-12-17

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CiteExportLink to record
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