Danuta Mirka

Harmonic Schemata and Hypermeter

In addition to Metrical Preference Rules (MPRs), perception of hypermeter is conditioned by other factors, not involved in perception of meter proper. According to Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff (1983), meter above the bar level is increasingly supplanted by grouping which, at higher levels, is equivalent to phrase structure. The eminent role of phrase structure and harmonic rhythm in perception of hypermeter was recognized by William Rothstein (1995), who dubbed these factors, respectively, the ‘rule of congruence’ and the ‘rule of harmony’. The ‘rule of texture’ was added by Eric McKee (2004) and the ‘rule of parallelism’ reformulated by David Temperley (2001) so as to account for the effect of the first segment in a chain of repetitions. I will posit another preference factor for hypermeter: the hypermetrical profile of harmonic schemata. By contrast to other preference factors, which work ‘bottom-up’ and cue single events as strong, this factor allows for ‘top-down’ processing of hypermeter by mapping the hypermetrical profile of a given schema upon a span of time including several events which can be either strong or weak. If the schema is recognized at a later event, such mapping may change the hypermetrical status of earlier events and lead to forms of metrical reinterpretation not discussed by Rothstein (1989). I will concentrate on the cadential schema and illustrate its effect on hypermeter with examples from Haydn’s string quartets.