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I'm currently teaching an advanced graduate twentieth-century analysis course. We are using the Straus textbook, which is excellent, but I feel that a course like this should at least cover some theory that deals specifically with rhythm, and this is not covered in the Straus. Looking for supplementary readings, I'm struck by how little pedagogical material there is on rhythm. I currently have the chapter from Lester's textbook on the syllabus, but this is essentially a very broad survey. The same can be said about Kostka's chapter. There are pedagogically-oriented analyses of single pieces that involve largely rhythmic considerations (such as some in the Morgan anthology), but the concepts and methods are largely piece-specific. In a theory/analysis course, I think one should teach theory concepts and analytical skills that can be used more or less to gain some understanding of a range of composers and repertoire.
In other courses, I have developed my own pedagogical approaches to periodicity, metric irregularity via additive-rhythm type processes, and polymeter. These are applicable to a relatively diverse, albeit limited, range of twentieth century music. I haven't found any readings on these topics, though, that are pedagogically appropriate and at the same time sufficiently technical for a theory course.
So I have two questions, the first being, just, am I missing something? Does anyone have suggestions about readings I might consider?
The second is the broader question: is this a failure of ours that we have not sufficiently developed theories of rhythm for twentieth-century repertoire? After all, many twentieth-century composers attest that rhythm takes primacy over pitch in their compositional process (Cage, Carter, etc.). Perhaps the problem really is that compositional practice concerning rhythm really is too Balkanized in the twentieth century. But the same problem has not stopped us from developing tools of pcset theory at a sufficiently abstract level to be relevant to twentieth-century composers whose non-tonal harmonic languages could hardly be more different both in method and results.
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