Thursday, November 17, 2011

Map Music: SMB3 – World 4

Eight measure, short and sweet.  The object is harmonically simple as well, a textbook I, ii, V, I progression. (The melody does have some interesting use of non-harmonic tones…)


This is a great object however to talk about the rhythmic or metric complexity.  This simple eight measure object contains many layers of rhythmic activity that really can be quite interesting to examine.

Going smallest to largest, we will start with our eighth note layer. This is the shortest note value in the object and one which many ears are drawn to on first listen.  It is emphasized by the alternating octaves in the base and the rhythm of the white noise line:


The quarter note layer can also be heard in the bass line, considering each octave interval as one unit, but is also emphasized in the drum set (bass drum and snare):


One layer up, is the half note layer.  This relaxed feel is most obvious in the melodic line, but is also reinforced by the drum set line (considering the bass/snare as one larger unit):


The whole note layer is felt in the measures.  There is a larger sense of pulse at the unit of the measure created mainly by the time signature of the piece.

A double whole note, or two measure feel, can be felt in the harmonic rhythm  The harmonies change every two measures.  This remains true for the entire object if you consider the Cadential 6/4 and the Dominate chord on the last two measures as one harmonic function.

Lastly, there is a larger four measure pulse as the object is felt with a strong arrival on m. 1 beat 1 as well as m. 5 beat 1 (with the rather dissonance C# leading back up to the D).

One simple eight measure object includes rhythmic/pulse layers all the way from the eighth note to the larger four measure feel.  With everything in between included.  Remarkable!

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