Imagining a Non-Geometrical Rhythm

Imagining a Non-Geometrical Rhythm

Video documentation of my Inaugural Professorial Lecture (23 March 2015) at the University of Huddersfield has been posted on YouTube.

The full text can be downloaded here.



Rhythm in Western music—particularly in notated music—operates under two basic and fundamental principles: subdivision and proportion. Notions of speed, duration, and pulse are all dependent upon secondary, fixed reference points, a Euclidean grid sitting explicitly or implicitly behind the rhythms of the sounds we hear on the surface. It is a rhythm that is always about counting. This lecture explores a rhythm that eschews counting, that engages with speed and duration as primary rather than secondary phenomena, and that emerges through the interface between movement and resistance and from models of force, viscosity, and friction. We will examine some of the limitations of existing rhythmic notation and, using examples from a current composition project entitled The Wreck of Former Boundaries as well as several case studies from non-notated musical traditions, a few alternatives for ‘non-geometrical’ notational approaches will be proposed.

Photos from Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Inaugural Professorial Lecture, reception / Diego Castro, Peyee Chen, Peter Ablinger

Inaugural Professorial Lecture, reception / Matthew Sergeant, Mic Spencer

Inaugural Professorial Lecture, reception / Abel Paúl, Alex Müller, Pablo Vergara, Diego Castro

Inaugural Professorial Lecture, reception / Cassandra Miller, Aaron Cassidy

Inaugural Professorial Lecture, reception / Scott McLaughlin

Inaugural Professorial Lecture, reception / Stephen Harvey, Mira Benjamin, Kristine Healey, Bryn Harrison

Inaugural Professorial Lecture / Martin Hewitt, Aaron Cassidy