Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Lamont School of Music

First Advisor

Chris Malloy, Ph.D.


Communication and the arts, Johann Sebastian Bach, Concerto Grosso, Form, Meter, Rhythm


This paper presents a comprehensive metric analysis of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, with particular emphasis on the issues of metric conflict. The analytic methodology is based on the work of Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, while the analytic notation used is based partly on that of Lerdahl and Jackendoff and partly on that of Jonathan Kramer, with some original modifications.

The paper discusses the factors generating metric conflict, along with its distribution, correlation with other structural parameters, and functional effects. The relationship between metric conflict and fluctuations in the depth of metric hierarchy is examined in detail. Some cases of metric displacement and metric irregularity are examined, when they form part of the context for particular episodes of conflict.

The conclusion argues for an approach to interpreting this and similar repertoires that leaves room for the emergence in performance of the independent metric organization of different parts, as an integral part of the ebb and flow of musical tension.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Ellwood P. Colahan


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

228 p.


Music Theory