Rhythm: Jazz, Pop and Classical

Professor Wright begins this lecture with a brief introduction to musical acoustics, discussing the way multiple partials combine to make up every tone. He reviews fundamental rhythmic terms, such as “beat,” “tempo,” and “meter,” and then demonstrates in more depth some of the more complex concepts, such as “syncopation” and the “triplet.” Professor Wright then moves on to discuss the basics of musical texture, giving detailed examples of three primary types: monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic. The class is then taught the basics of rhythmic dictation — skill that entails notating the rhythm of a piece after listening to it. Each of these disparate threads is brought together in the conclusion of the lecture, in which Mozart’s Requiem is shown to weave different rhythms, textures, and pitches together to depict the text effectively.