Week 6 (Sep 30): Tonal Rhythm (F19)

Last modified on August 4, 2023

This week you will learn how to approach the nuances of rhythm in tonal music. You’ll get introduced to the concepts through Edward Klorman’s excellent summary of popular approaches, listen to several pieces by Strauss, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, and others, and do your own analysis of a song by Clara Schumann.

Tonal rhythm

Introduction video

Watch the video below, which summarizes Part 1 of .

download slides – download transcript

Concept check

Optional: Complete the Concept Check quiz on Blackboard to see if you are understanding these concepts.

Due Wednesday: Reading and response

Read Part II of  (pages 13 ff.), where Klorman demonstrates the ways that hypermetrical regularity can be altered to various expressive effects.

Be sure to listen to recordings of each of the examples:

More on response essays
A response essay is your personal take on the readings, and thus you shouldn’t be trying to write the “right answer,” but rather your opinion and reaction to what you’ve read. Remember that these are graded pass/fail, so anything you write is valuable in that sense. Feel free to use I/me pronouns and to freely express yourself (while remaining professional) and your opinion of the reading.

Here are some prompts you may wish to consider:

  • Does being aware of hypermeter change your experience of the music? Or is it something you already intuitively sensed?
  • What would you do differently to a phrase with irregular hypermeter as a performer or conductor?


  • Go to Blackboard and navigate to your group blog.
  • Click the “create blog entry” button, and paste your text directly into the text box, rather than uploading an attachment.

Due Friday: Blog comments

Respond to the members of your peer group by clicking the “comment” button under their blog post and typing your response directly into the text box, rather than uploading an attachment.

Due Sunday: Analysis assignment

Next, attempt your own hypermetrical analysis of Clara Schumann, “Sie liebten sich beide.”


  1. Listen to the song several times while looking at the score and/or a translation of the lyrics.
  2. Next, annotate your score with numbers to indicate your hypermetrical analysis.
    1. Model your annotation on Klorman’s exs. 10 and 12.
    2. You should normally be counting the measures 1 through 4.
    3. When you have less/more than 4 measures in a hypermeasure, clearly indicate where you are hearing a reinterpretation/manipulation.
  3. Write a paragraph that succinctly explains your reinterpretations/manipulations (250 words max). Use the vocabulary from  in your explanation.


  • You will be assessed on the following concepts:
    • Identification of typical 4-measure hypermeasures
    • Identification of reinterpretations/manipulations
    • Written explanation of reinterpretations/manipulations
    • Use of tonal rhythm vocabulary
  • You will be given detailed feedback through the rubric. Click “View rubric” in the gradebook to access this.
  • Assignments are always graded pass/fail, with a threshold of 70% to pass.


  • You should submit both your score and your paragraph.
  • Submit your assignment on Blackboard.
  • Upload your assignment as a .pdf attachment. Please do not use other file types.



If articles are not available online, you should be able to find them in the Readings folder on Teams.