chapter  8
16 Pages

Musical Rhythm: Motion, Pace and Gesture

WithJustin London

This chapter discusses implications of kinematic models of rhythm perception and production with respect to the sense of musical gesture. It deals with the perceptual and cognitive constraints for musical rhythm, and how those constraints stake out the speed limits. The chapter presents kinematic data on walking and running, models for each characteristic gait. It discusses the data on the walk-run transition and suggests that their musical analogues. The chapter also deals with some remarks on its implications for the perception of tempo, with support from kinematic models for rhythm perception. The phenomenal space and phenomenal time of music are matched by the phenomenal causality that orders the musical work. As D. Epstein observed, the sense of tempo is projected ‘as a consequence of the sum of all factors within a piece–the overall sense of a work’s themes, rhythms, articulations, “breathing”, motion, harmonic progressions, tonal movement, contrapuntal activity.