Week 6 (Sep 25): Hypermeter

Last modified on September 25, 2023

This week you will learn how to approach a large-scale metrical understanding of tonal music: hypermeter. You’ll get introduced to the concept 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.


Introduction video

Watch the video below, which summarizes Part 1 of .

download slides – download transcript link to video

Concept check

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


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:

Due Thursday: Response

In the Reading Responses channel on Teams, post a message with some type of response about the readings/videos. You may either make a new post or reply to someone else’s post (both count for this participation grade). You can approach this in a bunch of different ways! You might ask clarifying questions about the reading, summarize an important bit of it, share a related personal anecdote…anything counts, as long as it relates to the reading in some way.

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?

Due Sunday*: Student Choice Assignment

* Student Choice Assignments are not required for everyone. You only need to complete this week’s analysis if this is one of your three chosen assignments. Student Choice Assignments are explained further on the syllabus.

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. Each measure = one hyperbeat. Normally, you should be counting four-bar hypermeasures. I have added counts for the first hypermeasure for you as an example (shown in blue above the staff).
    1. When you have less/more than 4 measures/beats in a hypermeasure, clearly indicate where you are hearing a reinterpretation/manipulation, and list the MPRs that support your interpretation of a new hyper-downbeat. Model your annotation on Klorman’s exs. 10 and 12.
  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
    • Support of reinterpretations/manipulations with MPRs
    • 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.