Annotation for Smyth, David
Large-Scale Rhythm and Classical Form
Annotation (by Gary Wittlich):
- Smyth analyzes grouping structures in works by Haydn, Mozart, and
Beethoven, choosing his segmentations by initiation of
thematic entrances, tempo and texture change, and dynamic or
rhythmic contrast. Unit lengths within his form diagrams are
determined by the number of downbeats (barlines) within each
unit starting with the unit's first barline. This is essentially
a top-down approach. The initiated units do not mark off
regularly occurring metrical units but rather a "free kind of
rhythm articulated mainly by grouping boundaries...At a certain
level--varying from work to work--we suspend our counting, yet
we remain aware of definite regularities and of less definite
proportional equality, created by successions of measure groups.
We feel the slow pulsation of the rhythm of the form itself."
(237). In the works chosen for analysis, each of which is
monometric, balance among form parts is shown at high levels.
Because this balance is created by repetition of sections called
for in the score, Smyth makes a case for observance of all
repetitions in performance. In a later article ["'Balanced
Interruption' and the Formal Repeat," in MTS 15.1, (Spring 1993):76-88],
he furthers his support of formal repetition by demonstrating
how Schenkerian interruption often creates balanced formal
designs when repetition of form sections is factored in.