ABSTRACT

Stravinsky’s recollection of having measured the ‘Evocation’ ’s longer bars ‘according to phrasing’ is an interesting one. He suggests that, with the longer bars of the sketchbook version, metre and phrase coincide; the shifts marked off by the notated metre represent a localized ‘phrasing’ or grouping of some sort. Stravinsky’s notion of ‘phrasing’ is most clearly demonstrated by a passage in Act II of Oedipus Rex. The ‘Evocation of the Ancestors’ in The Rite of Spring consists of two alternating blocks of material, the first of which marks off successive appearances of the second, principal block. For if, in past tonal music, bars were routinely added or deleted at higher levels of metrical structure with expectations of periodicity, disruption and readjustment, then it can be seen that, in Stravinsky’s case, these same processes were merely shifted to different and more immediate structural levels.