SCM Research: Meter Symposium

Friday 24 June 2016

Room 2174

Level 2, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Meter Symposium

Following on from a semester of Meter Theory lectures in 2015 by visiting lecturer Battell Professor of the Theory of Music, Richard Cohn, Yale University, a student-led Meter Study Group was formed with the support of the Musicology Unit. After an initial meeting with Professor Cohn as guest speaker in November 2015 the group decided to hold a Meter Symposium in 2016 to contribute to a wider audience. By attending the Symposium, you can join in the conversation about modern Meter theory and its’ application in performance, teaching and so much more.

Please register here for this event – For more info, please email Andrea Calilhanna:

Meter Symposium Presenations:

Dr Peter Petocz: Pulse and Pitch.

Elizabeth Youman: Meter in Schumann’s 3rd symphony.

Andrea Calilhanna: Ski-hill graphs; Torkesey’s ‘Triangle’; and Towards a Modern Understanding of Meter.

Keynote speaker – Professor Dean Rickles: ‘Is Meter All in the Mind?’ Entrainment, Psycho-physics and Neuroscientific Aspects of Time and Meter.

Abstract: Meter is often viewed as the poor cousin of tonality in musicological studies. However, it is just as integral an element of musical structure, responsible for much of the essential identity of a musical work. Both tonality and meter are related to melodic perception: they involve contributions of the mind in a highly significant way, unlike the closely related notions of pitch and rhythm (though they are not completely objective either). Both rhythm and meter refer to temporal dimensions of music, and so studies of time and time perception become highly relevant in their study (often possessing a parasite-host relationship). In the case of meter, this focus on (time) perceptual aspects puts observers (and their constraints) centre stage, so that theories of meter become tinged with subjective elements. In this talk I describe these features, and outline a novel position in which much musical structure (raw materials for music theories) has its origins in features (cognitive and otherwise) of the observers/listeners. Meter is a prime candidate for this kind of “observer-selection effect”. This approach sidesteps some of the usual objections to constructing theories of music from theories of musical perception. The talk will also discuss the relationship of meter to a host of cognitive features, related to language and movement (dance), and the individual differences in time perception that can lead to correlations between poor performance in language and poor meter skills.

Biography:  Dean Rickles is Professor of History and Philosophy of Modern Physics and ARC Future Fellow at the University of Sydney, where he is also a co-director of the Centre for Time. He has written several books, including, recently, A Brief History of String Theory (Springer, 2015) and Philosophy of Physics (Wiley, 2016). In his earlier life he trained as a concert pianist, and still plays as often as his schedule allows it.

Aidan Rosa: A Harmonic and Metric Analysis of Chopin’s Prelude No.14 Op. 28 in E-flat minor.

Jeremy Tatar: Diatonic Rhythms and Chicago Footwork: An Overview.

ticket pricing
  • Free with registration