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This article studies the rhythm of Norwegian telespringar, a tradition with an intimate relationship between music and dance that features a nonisochronous meter; that is, the durations between adjacent beats are unequal. A motion-capture study of a fiddler and dance couple revealed a long-medium-short duration pattern at the beat level in both the fiddler's and the dancers' periodic movements. The results also revealed a correspondence between how the fiddler and the dancers executed the motion patterns. This correspondence suggests that the performers share a common understanding of the underlying “feel” of the music. The results are discussed in light of recent theoretical perspectives on the multimodality of human perception. It is argued that the special feel of telespringar derives from embodied sensations related to the dance and how music and dance have developed in tandem over time. The study advocates a holistic view of music and dance, the importance of insider experience, and the role of embodied experience in guiding our understanding of the music as such.
Journal of Music Theory – Duke University Press
Published: Apr 1, 2021
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