Bruckner rhythm

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The Bruckner rhythm is a 2 + 3 (duplet + triplet) or 3 + 2 rhythm in Anton Bruckner's symphonic music, where it occurs prevalently,[1][2] and in many different, varied ways.[3]

One example is in the main theme of the first movement of his Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major, from bars 43 forward:[4]

Bruckner Rhythm.png

The Bruckner rhythm can occur separate of a melody (that is, on a single pitch), and this is the only way it occurs in the Symphony No. 2 in C minor.[5] In the Symphony No. 6 in A major the Bruckner rhythm occurs to a much greater extent than in previous works, in several parts at slightly different times. At first it occurs as a string ostinato high in the violins' range against a melody of different rhythm in the cellos,[6] while at bars 195 - 209 it serves to articulate hexatonic cycle block chords.[7] The rhythm occurs in somewhat more "manageable" form in Symphony No. 8 in C minor, where it usually occurs in the same way in all the parts.

The beginning of the second principal theme of the Eighth symphony's first movement: the Bruckner rhythm occurs in the melody in the first and third bars

The Bruckner rhythm also occurs in the works of other composers, such as in Howard Hanson's Romantic Symphony, where it occurs mostly in the horns' and trumpets' parts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Milton John Cross & David Ewen, Encyclopedia of the Great Composers and Their Music. New York: Doubleday (1962): 158. "The second element is a rhythmic pattern so often employed by the composer that it is known as the "Bruckner rhythm."
  2. ^ p. 59, Hubert-Schönzeler (1978) Hans. London Bruckner Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd.
  3. ^ John Williamson, "The Brucknerian symphony: an overview" The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner, ed. John Williamson. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (2004): 79. "Yet even so instantly recognizable a rhythmic tic can be used with great variety."
  4. ^ Benjamin Korstvedt, "Aspects of Bruckner's approach to symphonic form" The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner, ed. John Williamson. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (2004): 186.
  5. ^ Derek Watson, Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 81
  6. ^ (Williamson, 2004): 79
  7. ^ Kevin Swinden, "Bruckner and harmony" The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner, ed. John Williamson. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (2004): 222. "The orchestral texture through this passage is thick, articulating block chords in the 'Bruckner-rhythm' that characterizes the movement, supporting a reprise of the first theme of the symphony."