Metre and rhythm

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This page replaces all the pages from my old site, – you may have been redirected here if you followed a link from that site. The reason for this is that there were a lot of pages about metre and rhythm that were nearly 15 years old, and although a lot of what I know and think now still rests on that, there’s a lot that could be misleading, either about what I think, or about the topic. See this post.

Short bibliography for metre and rhythm 

If you’re interested in what I’m interested in then these are the books and articles I recommend. It’s not exhaustive by any means. If I were on a desert island and had to pick one, it would be Grant (2014). Before I had read Grant, I would have said  London (2012), Mirka (2009) and Rothstein (2008/2011), because they cover all the main issues and key theorists in the field, but in relation to dance, Grant is now my absolute top recommendation.  As it happens, though, Grant quotes Mirka and Rothstein frequently, and you still can’t escape London as one of the best books on meter and time signature generally, so if you have time, I’d recommend all four. You frankly can’t ignore the rest either, especially Caplin (2002). 

  • Caplin, W. E. (2002). Theories of musical rhythm in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,. In T. Christensen (Ed.), Cambridge History of Music Theory (pp. 657–694). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cox, A. (2011). Embodying Music: Principles of the Mimetic Hypothesis. Music Theory Online, 17(2). Retrieved from
  • Grant, R. M. (2014). Beating time & measuring music in the early modern era. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.
    Houle, G. (1987). Meter in music, 1600-1800: Performance, perception, and notation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Iyer, V. (1998). Microstructures of feel, macrostructures of sound: Embodied cognition in West African and African American musics (Doctoral thesis). University of California, Berkeley,. Retrieved from
  • Iyer, V. (2002). Embodied mind, situtated cognition, and expressive microtiming in African-American music. Music Perception, 19(3), 387–414.
  • Kramer, J. D. (1988). The time of music: new meanings, new temporalities, new listening strategies.
  • Kramer, J. (n.d.). Thoughts on Meter and Hypermeter. Retrieved from
  • New York : London: Schirmer Books ; Collier Macmillan Publishers.
  • London, J. (1993). Loud Rests and Other Strange Metric Phenomena (or, Meter as Heard). Music Theory Online, 0(2). Retrieved from
  • London, J. (2006). How to talk about musical metre. UK Lectures Winter & Spring 2006. University website. Retrieved September 11, 2012, from
  • London, J. (2012). Hearing in time: psychological aspects of musical meter (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Mirka, D. (2009). Metric Manipulations in Haydn and Mozart: Chamber music for strings, 1787-1791. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rothstein, W. (2008). National metrical types in music of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In D. Mirka & K. Agawu (Eds.), Communication in eighteenth-century music (pp. 112–159). Cambridge UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rothstein, W. (2011). Metrical Theory and Verdi’s Midcentury Operas. Dutch Journal of Music Theory, 16(2), 93–111.
  • Smyth, D. (1992). Patterning Beyond Hypermeter. College Music Symposium, 32, 79–98.

Posts of mine tagged with metre and rhythm, or one or the other

Here’s a few posts of mine tagged with ‘metre’ or ‘rhythm’. There are many more, which are untagged as yet, so come back to see if more appear once I’ve been through and tagged them.


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Jonathan Still, ballet pianist