Statistical versus Musical Significance: Commentary on Leigh VanHandel's 'National Metrical Types in Nineteenth Century Art Song'
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Publisher:Empirical Musicology Review
Citation:Empirical Musicology Review, v4 n4 (October 2009), 151-157
In “National Metrical Types in Nineteenth Century Art Song” Leigh Van Handel gives a sympathetic critique of William Rothstein’s claim that in western classical music of the late 18th and 19th centuries there are discernable differences in the phrasing and metrical practice of German versus French and Italian composers. This commentary (a) examines just what Rothstein means in terms of his proposed metrical typology, (b) questions Van Handel on how she has applied it to a purely melodic framework, (c) amplifies Van Handel’s critique of Rothstein, and then (d) concludes with a rumination on the reach of quantitative (i.e., statistically-driven) versus qualitative claims regarding such things as “national metrical types.”
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