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Meter as process in groove-based popular music Attas, Robin Elizabeth Sturton 2011

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METER AS PROCESS IN GROOVE-BASED POPULAR MUSIC  by Robin Elizabeth Sturton Attas B.Mus., Queen’s University, 2003 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 2005  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Music)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) April 2011  ! Robin Elizabeth Sturton Attas, 2011  Abstract The various genres of North American popular music developed since the 1950s are distinctive for their use of short repeating accompanimental patterns called grooves. Such groove-based popular music often includes many distinctive metrical features that cannot be reflected in standard hierarchical representations of metric structure, such as polyphonic textures, anacrusis, and syncopation. As a result, one crucial aspect of an important modern musical practice has been analytically underappreciated. The processual theory of meter developed by Christopher Hasty offers an alternative analytical framework that, by characterizing meter in terms of particular and constantly changing durations unfolding in time, has the potential to illuminate the important metric features of grooves in a range of popular music genres. By using and further developing such a comprehensive metrical model, popular music scholars can move beyond an existing vernacular that is often inadequate for in-depth musical discussion, and connect analytical observations to an in-time, felt experience, whether in dancing, listening, or performance contexts. In order to fully explore the benefits of this approach to meter in groove-based popular music, this dissertation analyzes a diverse sample of the repertoire from several perspectives. After a general introduction and establishment of the methodological approach, Chapters 3 and 4 detail metric aspects of specific genres of popular music (disco and Motown), while Chapter 5 focuses on a specific technique of groove composition, the buildup, that occurs in a wide range of musical genres. Chapter 6 incorporates the information gained in the preceding chapters into an analysis of a modern groove composition by Janelle Monáe. Throughout, particular metric features of the groove mentioned above are described and theorized in detail, as is the definition of the groove itself. Metric theory is also augmented with deeper consideration of the interplay of repetition and forward drive; listener shifts in attention among durations of different sizes (level shift); and the role of timbre and production techniques in metric interpretations.  ii  Table of Contents Abstract .......................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents........................................................................................................... iii List of Tables................................................................................................................... v List of Examples............................................................................................................. vi Acknowledgments ........................................................................................................ viii Chapter 1: A Theory You Can Dance To ....................................................................... 1 The Benefits of a Processual Approach to the Groove ................................................. 1 The Study of Popular Music...................................................................................... 17 Chapter 2: Methods for Metric Analysis of the Groove.................................................. 21 Transcription in Popular Music................................................................................. 22 Theorizing the Groove .............................................................................................. 24 Polyphony ................................................................................................................. 31 Metrical Hierarchy and the Limits of Meter .............................................................. 43 Anacrusis................................................................................................................... 46 Syncopation .............................................................................................................. 63 Meter and Pitch ........................................................................................................ 83 Summary .................................................................................................................. 90 Chapter 3: Meter in the Disco Groove .......................................................................... 93 Four-on-the-Floor and Beyond.................................................................................. 95 Interactions Between Meter and Form .................................................................... 109 Modular Groove Structures..................................................................................... 121 Characterizing the Disco Groove ............................................................................ 132 Chapter 4: Meter in the "Motown Sound" .................................................................. 136 Backbeats ................................................................................................................ 139 Syncopation ............................................................................................................ 161 Metrical Development in Motown........................................................................... 175 iii  Defining the Motown Sound ................................................................................... 186 Chapter 5: Groove Buildups........................................................................................ 189 Basic Buildups ......................................................................................................... 194 Extended Buildups .................................................................................................. 211 “Hyperextended” Buildups...................................................................................... 228 Conclusions............................................................................................................. 251 Chapter 6: The Modern Groove ................................................................................. 254 Form and Groove Meter ......................................................................................... 256 Time and Groove Meter ......................................................................................... 288 Conclusion: Links to the Past................................................................................... 295 Chapter 7: "Keep on Dancing" (Conclusions and Future Directions)........................... 299 Bibliography................................................................................................................ 304 Discography ................................................................................................................ 311 Appendix 1: Guide to Transcription Style ................................................................... 314  iv  List of Tables Table 3.1. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” formal layout. ..................... 122 Table 5.1. A few examples of basic and extended buildups. ......................................... 190 Table 6.1. Janelle Monáe, “Dance or Die” formal layout. ........................................... 257  v  List of Examples Example 1.1. Labelle, “Lady Marmalade” verse groove. ................................................. 3 Example 1.2. Hierarchic metric analysis of Labelle, “Lady Marmalade.” ........................ 4 Example 1.3. Hasty’s Example 9.5d, showing different designations for different projections............................................................................................................. 10 Example 1.4. Processual metric analysis of Labelle, “Lady Marmalade.”....................... 11 Example 2.1. Polyphony in Hasty’s Example 14.1......................................................... 33 Example 2.2. Butterfield’s Example 12a and 12b, analysis of the basic rock groove. ...... 37 Example 2.3. Polyphonic, monophonic, and mixed metric interpretations of bass and snare drum pattern. ............................................................................................... 38 Example 2.4. Drum beats with hi-hat (a) and cowbell (b). .............................................. 41 Example 2.5. Hasty’s Example 9.12, showing some general cases of anacrusis............... 48 Example 2.6. More rock groove variants. ...................................................................... 55 Example 2.7. Hasty’s Example 9.15d showing nested anacrustic groups........................ 57 Example 2.8. Drum pattern with fill. ............................................................................. 58 Example 2.9. Stevie Wonder, “Living for the City,” metric analysis of electric piano groove. .................................................................................................................. 61 Example 2.10. Syncopation in a projective context........................................................ 65 Example 2.11. Analysis of syncopation in the Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun.”.............. 68 Example 2.12. Butler’s Example 2.10, an interpretation of 3+3+2 following Hasty. ...... 74 Example 2.13. Diatonic rhythms in Bryan Adams. ........................................................ 76 Example 2.14. Hasty’s consideration of pitch in his Example 10.8a. .............................. 84 Example 2.15. Tonal function in two standard chord progressions. ............................... 86 Example 2.16. Non-chord tones affecting metric function in Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” (start of first verse)................................. 87 Example 2.17. The Beatles, “From Me To You” verse.................................................. 88 Example 3.1. Basic disco beats. ..................................................................................... 96 Example 3.2. The Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive” basic groove. ............................................ 98 Example 3.3. K.C. and the Sunshine Band, “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” verse groove......................................................................................................... 101 Example 3.4. ABBA, “Dancing Queen” basic groove.................................................. 103 Example 3.5. ABBA, “Dancing Queen” piano part possible analyses. ......................... 105 Example 3.6. K.C. and the Sunshine Band, “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” chorus groove. ..................................................................................................... 109 Example 3.7. The Village People, “YMCA” verse and chorus grooves........................ 112 Example 3.8. The Trammps, “Disco Inferno” verse and chorus grooves. .................... 115 Example 3.9. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” drum pattern. ................ 123 Example 3.10. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” drums with bass. .......... 124 Example 3.11. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” verse groove state......... 126 Example 3.12. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” chorus groove state. ..... 127 Example 4.1. Mary Wells, “My Guy” basic groove...................................................... 140 Example 4.2. The Velvelettes, “He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’” basic groove.......... 144 Example 4.3. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “I Second That Emotion” basic groove. ................................................................................................................ 147  vi  Example 4.4. The Four Tops, “I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” introduction and first verse groove....................................................................... 151 Example 4.5. The Supremes, “You Can't Hurry Love” introduction, verse, and chorus groove states. ....................................................................................................... 155 Example 4.6. The Four Tops, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” opening bass line............................................................................................................... 162 Example 4.7. The Supremes, “You Can’t Hurry Love” opening bass line. .................. 163 Example 4.8. Gladys Knight and the Pips, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” chorus groove. ................................................................................................................ 164 Example 4.9. The Four Tops, “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” verse bass line. .................. 166 Example 4.10. The Temptations, “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” development of syncopation. .................................................................................................... 168 Example 4.11. Marvin Gaye, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” introduction, verse, prechorus, and chorus. ........................................................................................ 176 Example 5.1. The Ronettes, “Be My Baby” introduction. ........................................... 195 Example 5.2. The Temptations, “My Girl” introduction and start of first verse........... 200 Example 5.3. Beck, “Where It’s At” introduction. ....................................................... 204 Example 5.4. Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean” introduction. .......................................... 213 Example 5.5. The Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer” introduction.................................. 216 Example 5.6. The Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer” beginning of first verse. ................. 219 Example 5.7. Deep Purple, “Smoke on the Water” introduction. ................................ 222 Example 5.8. Deep Purple, “Smoke on the Water” beginning of first verse. ................ 226 Example 5.9. Madonna, “Holiday” introduction......................................................... 228 Example 5.10. Donna Summer, “Bad Girls” introduction........................................... 238 Example 6.1. “Dance or Die,” verses 1, 2, 3. ............................................................... 258 Example 6.2. “Dance or Die,” verse 1.5. ..................................................................... 269 Example 6.3. “Dance or Die,” choruses 1, 2, 3............................................................ 273 Example 6.4. “Dance or Die,” introduction................................................................. 281 Example 6.5. “Dance or Die,” breakdown. ................................................................. 284 Example 6.6. Recurring syncopated gestures in “Dance or Die.”................................. 292 Example A.1. Drum notation key................................................................................ 314  vii  Acknowledgments This dissertation would not exist without the help and support of several individuals. My supervisor John Roeder provided invaluable guidance both academic and personal, not only in the writing of this dissertation, but throughout my doctoral program. From amusing yet thought-provoking analyses of the Spice Girls through moments of frustration and tears, he has displayed a patience, an intellect, and a kind spirit that I have been so fortunate to share. I could not have asked for a better mentor in this process. My committee members, David Metzer and Richard Kurth, enriched my thinking in this dissertation and beyond with their perspectives and advice. Other professors at UBC also provided suggestions and reviewed research that contributed to my work, notably Michael Tenzer, Nathan Hesselink, William Benjamin, and Alan Dodson. My thanks also to Ken Morrison, who helped with drumming questions, and Mira Sundara Rajan, who advised me on copyright clearances. Further afield, Brenda Ravenscroft deserves a note of sincere gratitude for her able guidance from the inception of my music theory career. I hope to be as strong a mentor for young women as she has been to me. Thanks also to the countless individuals who commented on early stages of this research at conferences for the Society for Music Theory, the Canadian University Music Society, and the International Association for Popular Music (Canada). I have been fortunate to receive funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Rebecca Simpson-Litke and Stephanie Lind have been dear friends since the early years of my graduate studies, and I am appreciative of their expertise and advice along the way. Scott Cook and Juan Diego Diaz Meneses offered sympathy, humour and understanding support throughout our mutual Ph.D. journeys. Nancy Murphy, Jonathan Easey, and Jim Palmer provided lots of laughs during the later stages of my degree and helped me to appreciate how far I’ve come. Lisa Blachut and Charlie Easton provided many great musical conversations and ideas along with countless stress-relieving ski trips; Erin Henderson gave much-needed women’s solidarity at a timely moment; and Jesse Attas and Amy Attas helped with my early musical training, as well as with hunting down musical examples and keeping things in perspective. Alba Soza Vasquez and Nicolás viii  Narváez Palacios gave me un montón of food and love during my many work-vacations in Nicaragua. Words cannot express my gratitude to my parents, Mike Attas and Jackie Sturton, who have supported me in so many ways, but in particular musically, from insufferable piano practice sessions, to countless hours of driving snowy Prairie roads, to their unwavering faith in my dreams to follow a career in music. Finally, my deepest appreciation for my husband Nicolás Narváez Soza, who has been an amazing partner and has loved me through this whole process (not always an easy task). *  *  *  The musical examples in this dissertation have all been transcribed by the author unless noted otherwise. A transcription is an incomplete representation of a sound work for the purposes of academic analysis, and should not be taken as a reproduction of the song itself. I treat transcriptions in the same way as other academic quotations, and include a full citation for each song in a footnote and in a discography at the end of the dissertation.  ix  Chapter 1 A Theory You Can Dance To  The Benefits of a Processual Approach to the Groove As a casual listener, I have always been fascinated by meter in popular music.1 Even before I knew what it was, meter moved me as I danced and sang along to all sorts of music, from disco hits to obscure 1950s crooners, from sisterly folk rock to manly grunge rock, from the uncool music of my parents (the Beatles) to the equally uncool music of my babysitting charges (late Michael Jackson).2 With every song I heard, I let my body move with the changing sounds of the groove, responding to a basic unit that was constantly repeated, but never the same. As my formal musical studies focused increasingly on music theory, and on meter even more specifically, I felt my earlier freedom begin to disappear. Instead of an everchanging process and the feeling of my body in motion, meter as I now understood it was a grid-like structure, a fixed reference point against which rhythms flowed. The songs I loved to dance to could now only be thought of as fixed entities, restricting my movements both physically in dance and mentally in analysis. And since the grooves were also fixed in time, their repetitive structures became uninteresting, inferior in some way to the more complex metric phenomena created by composers in other genres (notably Western European art music). “Popular music” is difficult to define, as the term is used inconsistently in both academia and the media more generally. In this dissertation “popular music” refers to music for commercial consumption created in North America and England from the 1950s onwards, including genres such as early rock ‘n’ roll, rock, folk, singer-songwriter, soul, R&B, rap, metal, progressive rock, punk, disco and other dance genres, and a catch-all category of “pop.” 2 Popular music seems inextricably tied to our experiences as adolescents, and scholars of pop often reveal their ages through their analytical focus. (The sentence above is no exception, reflecting my musical experiences as a teenager in the 1990s.) At the same time as growing up in a particular time period can sometimes limit the genres one is exposed to, it also shapes the listening experience in particular ways: the way I listened to ABBA at high school dances is very different from someone who saw them perform live during their heyday, or someone introduced to their music through the Broadway musical and Hollywood movie Mamma Mia. 1  1  This dissertation is a move back to my first experiences of the process of grooves and the joy of motion, but with a new music-theoretical overlay. I will consider the groove not just as changing rhythms but as a deeply metric phenomenon, one with a repetitiveness that allows me to place my feet with the steady beat, but with a constant variety that allows me to move and shift as the sounds that surround me flow and change. I want to understand grooves as examples of metrical particularity that promote uniqueness and diversity at the same time as they suggest regularity and predictability, and that are deeply felt phenomena as well as analytical objects outside of embodied experience.3 More broadly, my approach will also take a perspective of letting the music move me, rather than forcing the music into a particular analytical viewpoint. This analytical intention reflects broader disciplinary concerns in the realms of music theory and analysis.4 But it is often more easily applicable in popular music analysis, a new area that allows theorists to re-examine their analytical biases and methodologies.5 In order to provide a general overview of the approach adopted in this dissertation, Example 1.1 transcribes the beginning of the first verse of the group Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade.6  For more on the relationship between body and cognition, and the groove’s particular role in creating embodied experiences, see Vijay Iyer, “Embodied Mind, Situated Cognition, and Expressive Microtiming in African-American Music,” Music Perception 19/3 (Spring 2002), 387-414. 4 Marion Guck, for example, argues for an interpretation of music analysis as “the negotiation between an individual’s sensibility and some music’s affordances;” while Susan McClary lauds feminist scholarship for highlighting the importance of the body and emotions in musical analysis. See Marion A. Guck, “Analysis as Interpretation: Interaction, Intentionality, Invention,” Music Theory Spectrum 28/2 (Fall 2006), 206; Susan McClary, “Feminine Endings in Retrospect,” in Susan McClary, Feminine Endings (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002 [reprint of 1991 edition with new introduction]). 5 This point has been raised by scholars such as Lori Burns and Nadine Hubbs. See Lori Burns, “ ‘Close Readings’ of Popular Song: Intersections among Sociocultural, Musical, and Lyrical Meanings,” in Lori Burns and Mélisse Lafrance, Disruptive Divas: Feminism, Identity and Popular Music (New York: Routledge, 2002), 31-61; Nadine Hubbs, “The Imagination of Pop-Rock Criticism,” in Expression in Pop-Rock Music, 2nd ed., ed. Walter Everett (New York: Routledge, 2008), 215-237. 6 For a complete discussion of my notational style in transcription, please see Appendix 1. 3  2  Example 1.1. Labelle, “Lady Marmalade” verse groove.7  “Lady Marmalade” is a perfect example of the genres of popular music I am most interested in focusing upon. Released in 1975 on the album Nightbirds, it draws upon elements of soul and funk, tracing backwards to Motown and gospel and incorporating elements of disco that would in turn influence later dance-pop genres (Michael Jackson, Madonna, etc.).8 The song is structured around a repeated musical unit, the groove. In general, a groove consists of a musical pattern from one to four bars long that is repeated continuously throughout a song or song section, with particular rhythmic and pitch motives (“riffs”) played by the instruments of the pop ensemble (most typically drums, bass, guitars, and keyboards). In “Lady Marmalade” the groove is formed by percussion,  Labelle, “Lady Marmalade,” composed by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, produced by Allen Toussaint (Nightbirds: Epic Records EK-33075, 1974). 8 Two commentators have described the importance of Labelle for later musicians in numerous groove-based genres, and for female singers in particular. See Lucy O’Brien, She Bop II (London: Continuum, 2002), 281-283; and Alice Echols, Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010), 99-100. 7  3  bass and keyboard parts that repeat particular riffs along with a harmonic pattern in the pitched instruments that alternates a bar of G minor with a bar of C major.9 Although a time signature is not notated in the transcription, most listeners with some musical background would probably describe “the meter” of this song as 4/4, and assert that it is steady and unchanging throughout the song. Music theorists might go further, producing an analysis something like that shown in Example 1.2.  Example 1.2. Hierarchic metric analysis of Labelle, “Lady Marmalade.”  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  This analysis follows one of the most common analytical models for musical meter, Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff’s A Generative Theory of Tonal Music (GTTM).10 Here and elsewhere, I will use “bar” to refer to the notated bars in my transcriptions, while “measure” will refer to a measure of time heard. 9  4  The authors propose a hierarchical model for musical rhythm, suggesting that durations in the music are understood by “experienced” listeners within two complementary mental structures: grouping, which “expresses a hierarchical segmentation of the piece into motives, phrases, and sections;” and meter, which “expresses the intuition that the events of the piece are related to a regular alternation of strong and weak beats at a number of hierarchical levels.”11 Inspired by the methodologies of cognitive psychology and linguistics, the authors create a collection of well-formedness rules (to “specify the possible structural descriptions” of a piece of music) and preference rules (to “designate out of the possible structural descriptions those that correspond to experienced listeners’ hearings of any particular piece”).12 The interaction of these various rules leads to a single, preferred interpretation for the meter and grouping of a piece, a sort of temporal grid that regulates our listening experience. Example 1.2 asserts that the fastest beat is the eighth note, as indicated by the highest row of dots under the score. The music supports different beat levels of increasing duration up to the breve (two whole note) level, probably the slowest that listeners can hear at this tempo.13 Slower beats link faster beats into duple groupings, producing a perfectly regular alternation of strong and weak beats in each level. With the meter thus established by the groove, a grouping structure is implied by Patti Labelle’s lead vocal line that organizes the music into units of similar length (shown with brackets below the  Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, A Generative Theory of Tonal Music (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1983). Other related metric theories include Harald Krebs, Fantasy Pieces: Metrical Dissonance in the Music of Robert Schumann (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); and David Temperley The Cognition of Basic Musical Structures (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2001), in many ways a direct response to Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s text. 11 Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983, 8. In their introduction, the authors elaborate on what constitutes an “experienced listener;” essentially this is a listener who is familiar with the repertoire in question through extensive listening, and who possesses an implicit “grammar” for understanding the musical sounds. (Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983, 3). I will generally adopt the same viewpoint, assuming that my listeners are familiar with popular music idioms, and that they can feel the same sensations I posit in my analyses, though they may not have the technical vocabulary to describe them. 12 Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983, 9. 13 Lerdahl and Jackendoff place the limits of large-scale meter (or hypermeter) at the point at which listeners are no longer able to hear beats in a clear metric relationship of strong and weak. Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983, 21. 10  5  example, following Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s notation). In sum, this analysis suggests a meter that alternates strong and weak beats with perfect regularity, and a grouping structure that reinforces this duple hearing. This analysis thus matches a standard hearing of a 4/4 meter that pervades the passage, and indeed, the entire song. Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s system suggests that, barring any later fluctuations such as elision or overlap, the meter of “Lady Marmalade” is constant and unambiguous. One might take this conclusion a step further, surmising that, since this is the case, there is nothing more to say about the meter of this song. Further, given that “Lady Marmalade” is related to a number of popular music genres both preceding and following its release, and clearly demonstrates the general structural features of groove-based popular music, a final conclusion might be that there is similarly little to say about the meter in countless other pop songs that feature grooves as their primary structuring element.14 The problem is that this view of meter does not fit well with my sensations as a dancer. Although I can indeed sense regular beats, alternating in strength, which guide my foot and hand placements in time with the music, my sensations of the groove from moment to moment are constantly in flux. Considering just quarter notes, for example, my sensation of the downbeat of bar 1, which feels like the start of a particular duration, is quite different from the quarter note at the end of bar 2, which directs my attention forwards and prompts my movements to change in anticipation of music yet to come. Further, depending on which instrument I focus my attention upon, my sensation of beats also changes. For example, the durations in the right hand of the electric piano push my attention forwards, because of the rests that separate each group, while at the exact same moments, the cowbell, snare drum, and piano right hand play durations that relate more to previous events, keeping me grounded in what has already happened. Finally, among separate instruments at the same time, and in the entire groove as time advances, my attention shifts among durations of different lengths, from the harmonic progression that changes every whole note, to the individual eighths of the piano gesture in bar 4, to the drum kit pattern that repeats every breve. None of these important sensations (the By “groove-based popular music” I mean any genre of popular music that features one or more repeating grooves as part of its accompaniment. Most popular music from the 1950s forwards fits this description; however, popular music from earlier time periods tends to be structured around other principles. 14  6  differentiation of beats over time, the differentiation of beats in unique instruments at the same moment in time, and the focus on numerous lengths of duration at different moments) are represented with the notation of strictly alternating strong and weak beats in Example 1.2. Perhaps my sensations would be better represented through grouping structure rather than metric structure. The grouping structure analysis of Example 1.2 gives a slightly more dynamic picture of events (compare the two vocal phrases, for example), but there are still problems. Following the analytical style of A Generative Theory of Tonal Music, Example 1.2 bases the grouping structure analysis on the melody line, and assumes that this will stand for all voices in a homophonic texture.15 But is the texture of “Lady Marmalade,” and the genre of popular music more generally, truly homophonic? David Temperley makes such an assumption;16 however, the descriptions in the previous paragraph of my shifting focus on diverse instrumental timbres, the differences in instrumental roles, and the unique riffs that each instrument plays, all suggest that listeners actually separate out particular streams in a texture that is more polyphonic than homophonic. Lerdahl and Jackendoff might also say that the changes to the groove that I notice are rhythmic rather than metric,17 but such a distinction ends up denying many of the fundamental and interesting points about the groove’s meter, and indeed denies a broader conception of meter itself. The sensations in the groove I describe above fundamentally affect my perception of time. At certain moments I reflect back on  Lerdahl and Jackendoff admit this is a weakness, stating that “for the more contrapuntal varieties of tonal music...our theory is inadequate.” Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983, 37. 16 Temperley goes so far as to transcribe only the melody for the rock songs he analyzes, stating that “the metrical structure corresponding to the notated meter is clearly implied by the accompaniment.” It is not clear if his statement extends to other popular music genres. See Temperley 2001. 17 Lerdahl and Jackendoff are not alone in suggesting this separation between meter and rhythm, one which Justin London has summarized by saying that “broadly stated, rhythm involves the pattern of durations that is phenomenally present in the music, while metre [sic] involves our perception and anticipation of such patterns.” Stated another way, rhythms are thought of as raw sound data in particular patterns, while meter involves human cognition of such data. Justin London, “Rhythm,” in Grove Music Online; http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com (accessed June 16, 2010). 15  7  previous material, while at others I anticipate the future with particular ideas about how it will unfold. Both within a single hearing of the groove and in different hearings over time, the durations I use to mark off time change in length, depending on my focus in the groove and the durational patterns of particular instruments. My sensations about the quality of durations of the same size in different instruments also change. All of these features I feel when I dance and when I listen to the groove fit with a general definition of meter as the perception or marking off of time, but most metric theories seem unable to account for such features. These incongruities between the metric analysis of “Lady Marmalade” in Example 1.2 and my experience of the music suggest that meter in popular music is interesting in ways that many current models of meter are ill-equipped to study. Christopher Hasty’s approach, as described in his book Meter as Rhythm, offers an alternative that has the potential to resolve many of these differences. 18 Hasty challenges the dominant stream of thought that conceives of rhythm and meter as two separate elements, characterizing it in terms of oppositions: “law versus freedom, mechanical versus organic, general versus particular, or constant repetition of the same versus spontaneous creation of the ever new.”19 Basing his theory in the philosophies of Alfred North Whitehead,20 Hasty defines meter as a process rather than a mechanical rule, “a process in which the determinacy of the past is molded to the demands of the emerging novelty of the present,” in which listeners constantly feel (and create for themselves) the ebb and flow of meter in the same way as most metric theorists assume listeners do for rhythm alone.21 Meter is not a fixed grid superimposed on music, but a dynamic and changing understanding of musical durations that are themselves constantly in motion. To conceptualize meter as a process, Hasty posits that a particular duration, once heard as complete and definite in length, “provides a definite durational potential” for a subsequent event.22 The mental activity by which listeners expect a just-completed duration to be immediately reproduced is called projection. A potential duration for  Christopher Hasty, Meter as Rhythm (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). Hasty 1997, 4. 20 Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality (New York: Free Press, 1978). 21 Hasty 1997, 168. 22 Hasty 1997, 84. 18 19  8  projection is marked in examples with a solid arc that starts at the onset of the duration, with an arrowhead at the right end pointing to the completion of the duration (usually occurring at the beginning of a new sound event). This completion means that the first duration’s projection is realized, and a dotted arc extending to the right from the new durational onset demonstrates the first duration’s projected potential, the potential that the duration of the second event will be the same as the first. Even if the projected potential is not realized with the second sound’s duration duplicating the first, Hasty argues that there is still some sense in which listeners compare the two durations; that is, that the first duration is relevant to our experience of the second (though it might later become irrelevant). In any case, the second sound will itself suggest a particular durational potential, which has the potential to be realized and projected forth into the future. This process of projection and realization continues at various durations throughout a piece of music, resulting in a meter that is dynamic and constantly in flux. In addition to this constant process of projections both potential and realized, Hasty identifies qualities of durations akin to (but not the same as) notions of strong and weak beats in other theories of meter.23 The onset of every event is a beginning, the start of a new durational potential; this quality is represented by the symbol | . However, some events are not only beginnings in and of themselves, but also function as part of a larger process, maintaining a previous beginning as still “ ‘present’ and active.”24 These continuations represent “a decision for a new becoming that will participate in the becoming of an event previously begun,”25 and are shown with the symbol \. As the music unfolds, durations of different lengths, with their associated projections, may begin to accumulate. In Hasty’s Example 9.5d, reproduced here as Example 1.3, the completion of the first quarter note by the onset of the second creates a clear duration for projection, labeled R. However, it is possible to hear other durations still becoming, yet to be realized by new durational onsets in the future. The third Hasty notes that one of the primary difference between his conceptualization and traditional notions of strong and weak beats is that his qualities are “internal relations,” qualities inherent to the durations, while accentual ideas of strong and weak are considered as “external relations” to the durations themselves, which have no inherent qualities to differentiate one from another. Hasty 1997, 105. 24 Hasty 1997, 104. 25 Hasty 1997, 104. 23  9  durational onset, for example, closes off the second duration and fulfills the potential of the R' projection, but it also realizes the Q durational projection and begins the potential for an ongoing Q' projection.26 A fourth onset, shown with the symbol * as a possible future occurrence, will also realize the even-longer duration S, and open up S' as a projected potential.  Example 1.3. Hasty’s Example 9.5d, showing different designations for different projections.27  In addition to beginning and continuation, there is one more durational quality type, anacrusis, shown with the symbol /. An anacrusis is a type of continuation that, instead of reflecting back towards prior events, “points forward; it is anticipatory, directed toward a future event.”28 Additionally, sometimes a past onset’s function may change in light of present events; this is shown with a small arrow connecting the first interpretation with the second (e.g., / !| to show how a sound that is initially interpreted as anacrusis later comes to function as a beginning, making its quality anacrusis-becomingbeginning).29  This dual metric function is common, since every event at the smallest durational level is a beginning. As soon as larger durations become part of the musical context, however, such information is not always the most interesting metrically. I will follow Hasty’s practice and not mark these low-level beginnings, instead giving only the analysis of the sound in relation to the larger durational context. 27 Hasty 1997, 109. 28 Hasty 1997, 120. 29 Hasty 1997, 120. 26  10  By treating meter as a process of ongoing projections, Hasty’s system considers each duration as contributing in its own particular way to the measuring (as in, marking off measures of time) of a passage of music. Further, by considering the metric qualities, at various levels, of each onset, this type of analysis can be taken to express some of my changing, in-the-moment sensations as a listener and dancer described above. This basic outline of Hasty’s theory suggests a new way to characterize, and to value, meter in groove-based popular music. Example 1.4 presents the same passage from “Lady Marmalade,” this time with analysis following Hasty. Example 1.4. Processual metric analysis of Labelle, “Lady Marmalade.”  Q  R S  Q'  R' S'  ( )  ( )  T  T'  U V  ( )  ( )  ( )  ( )  ( )  ( )  (V realized on repetition)  U'  ( ) W X  W' X'  Immediately evident in comparison to the hierarchical analysis of Example 1.2 is the number of analytical symbols in the example. This could be a portent of an unnecessarily complicated analytical system, but as I will show, in fact it indicates a  11  system that illuminates the metric detail we feel as listeners and dancers, details that cannot be expressed with dot notation and grouping brackets alone. Also immediately evident is the change in organization of the score. Rather than adhering to the standard orchestral arrangement that was used in the first transcription, parts are now grouped according to metric function. This is not strictly necessary for Hasty’s system, and will in fact not be used consistently throughout this dissertation (especially since the metric function of a particular part may change over time). But here it helps to introduce Hasty’s analytical system in the clearest way possible. Examining the analytical markings for metric quality (beginning, continuation, anacrusis) reveals, first, how the general characterization of a 4/4 metric grid is manifested projectively in this instance. The cowbell and snare drum, and the right hand of the piano part, play steady quarter notes. In isolation, these quarter note articulations would be considered as continuous beginnings, as indeed are all onsets. In the context of other instruments, the quarter notes suggest an alternation of beginning-continuation in a duple sensation. The harmonic changes in the piano and electric piano suggest a duration that groups four quarter notes into a longer beginning-continuation duple sensation. So far, this analysis seems little different from one which would describe pulse streams of different durations pervading the entire example. However, other parts add different shadings that make the meter more varied than a steady grid. Even superficially examining the symbols with no sense of their meaning reveals that no bar is exactly the same. The lead vocal and bass guitar have several syncopated attacks, where a particular duration is heard as anacrusis but then reinterpreted as beginning (see for example the durations for the lyrics “-lade,” “old,” and “-leans” in the first two bars).30 These recur regularly, but other details (such as the vocal line’s opening anacrusis, and the bass’s absence in the fourth bar) are not repeated. The Hammond organ enters and leaves the texture, creating an anacrusis in the second bar that is not present in the first; and the piano part adds something completely new at the end of the passage, a large-scale anacrusis that points attention forwards to subsequent This notion of syncopation has been developed by Matthew Butterfield, whose work I will address in the following chapter. Matthew Butterfield, “The Power of Anacrusis: Engendered Feeling in Groove-Based Musics,” Music Theory Online 12/4 (December 2006). 30  12  material. And the electric piano’s right hand rhythm suggests anacruses to implied beginnings: beginnings that are expected, because of the fast tempo and the contributions of the other parts, but that are not realized with an actual sound.31 These judgments of metric quality are one step towards hearing meter as particular, as created in each moment. Although in “Lady Marmalade” there is certainly a sense of a regular duple alternation of beginning-continuation that pervades multiple durations (shown with the symbols in the space above the lead vocal that indicate longer durations), there is also the sense of a meter constantly in flux as different parts present different metric qualities with their associated projections. It is this juxtaposition of the particular and general aspects of meter that makes Hasty’s system of analysis so powerful. One might object that these metric features I have identified are merely rhythmic, but this would be a misinterpretation of Hasty’s system, where the act of measuring itself is rhythmic, fluid and in motion, not merely the determination of a fixed hierarchy of beats.32 The metric qualities shown in the analysis are part of projective durations unfolding in time, shown with the arcs underneath particular parts. These projections indicate particular measures of time for past, present, and future events, a decidedly metric quality. Each arc is labeled with a letter, assigned from the top of the example to the bottom.33 Different arcs show different durational potentials completed and projected. For the sake of notational clarity, I have followed Hasty’s analytical practice and only indicate the first completion of each duration and its projected potential, rather than notating every projective duration for the passage. The lines on the page appear static, but they should be understood as imperfect representations of an active process of durations growing in size (or “becoming,” to use Hasty’s term), being realized and projecting into the future.  For this and all future implied or virtual beginnings (or other metric qualities), I will follow Hasty and put the quality symbol between parentheses. See Hasty 1997, 109-110. 32 Hasty’s desire to unify meter and rhythm is evident even from the title of his book (Meter as Rhythm), but he reiterates this standpoint throughout the work, particularly in Chapter 1, “General Character of the Opposition” (3-21). 33 This system is the easiest for this particular example; however, I will at times label projections consecutively from smallest duration to largest. 31  13  The metric qualities of the cowbell, snare drum, and electric piano right hand combine to articulate particular durations for projection. Their simultaneous durational beginnings result in the R-R' projection a quarter note long. At the same time, the piano’s change in harmony in bar 2 of the example suggests the whole note S-S' projection. The electric piano’s left hand part also contributes to a whole note projection, but because the nature of its contribution is unique, it receives its own projection, U-U'.34 In contrast to projective durations such as T-T' or S-S' that suggest an equal alternation of beginning and continuation or beginning and anacrusis, U-U' is divided into a long interonset duration followed by a short anacrusis, a pattern that happens with other durations as well (see the four-whole-note V projection or the breve X-X'). Even comparing U to U' reveals a slightly different meter, as the electric piano’s short interjections constantly emphasize the end of one whole note and the beginning of another but in different ways. In some cases this occurs via syncopation (moving from the first to the second bar) while in others it is a result of anacrusis (the second to the third bar). Other instrumental groups sometimes project a half note that fits amidst the longer and shorter projections of cowbell, snare drum, and electric piano in the groove. The lead vocal and bass guitar repeat the same rhythm every half note, marking projections shown as Q-Q' on the example. Their syncopated durations, which I have already described as an interpretation that changes from anacrusis to beginning in a process of anacrusis-becoming-beginning, both continue the unfolding Q projection and close off the duration, projecting Q' into the future.35 The electric piano’s right hand also suggests a half note duration (T-T'), but this projection has a quality of virtual beginning alternating with anacrusis, as mentioned above. Finally, the bass drum also repeats its pattern every half note in bar 1 and 3 (shown with W-W') with a metric quality of anacrusis for the second half of each projected duration that recalls the electric piano part, but with the anacrusis felt at a slightly different moment in time. Its absence in bars 2 and 4 makes the half note durations in these bars qualitatively different from those in bars 1 and 3, further differentiating the metric experience. In future analyses such projective “duplication” may not receive comment, but it is part of the ongoing metric process nonetheless. 35 Butterfield 2006 describes this as a “virtual articulation” of the projection; Butterfield 2006, paragraph 25. 34  14  Even longer durations are projected by the repeated pattern in the Hammond organ and hi-hat, which mark off the end of each breve duration with a short anacrustic gesture. This is shown with the arcs labeled X-X'. But because of the polyphonic groove, there is a difference between the realization of X and in its projected potential X'. The piano part in the last bar contributes to a sense of anacrusis that spans the fourth bar, with a riff that functions as a large-scale anacrusis (shown with the bracket) even as it articulates beginning-continuation at smaller durations. This gesture works to draw listener attention forwards into the groove’s own repetition, a feature of grooves that Tim Hughes calls autotelic.36 The metric differentiation between the first two bars and the next two suggests an even longer durational projection that spans all four bars, V. The difference in the piano part between the second and fourth bars creates a sense of a single four-whole-note potential, begun in the first bar and with an anacrusis in the fourth bar that leads to (one assumes) the duration’s realization with subsequent music. The preceding paragraphs give a sample of the type of information that is revealed when using Hasty’s analytical system to examine meter in groove-based popular music. Hasty’s book provides a much more thorough explanation of the benefits of a processual approach to meter, but important for this study is to understand why Hasty’s approach to meter is a useful way to talk about grooves in popular music. The first important point is the ability of his analytical system to consider meter polyphonically. Conceptualizations of the popular music groove as a single, metrically-unified accompaniment to a more varied melody can represent a part of our understanding of the music (a view adopted by Temperley and Ken Stephenson, among others).37 But at the same time, the individual streams in the groove and their manipulations by specific performers are equally important for an understanding of meter in popular music. This is reflected analytically in my focus on the polyphonic interactions among individual parts. Even when individual parts suggest what appear to be the same durations for projection (for example, the half note projections labeled Q-Q', T-T', and V-V', or the whole note Tim Hughes, “Trapped within the Wheels: Flow and Repetition, Modernism and Tradition in Stevie Wonder’s ‘Living for the City,’” in Everett 2008, 242. 37 Temperley 2001; Ken Stephenson, What to Listen For In Rock (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). 36  15  projections labeled S-S' and U-U'), I have separated them into distinct entities. In this sense, I am conceptualizing meter as a polyphonic and particular creation, as a series of streams with particular durations and metric qualities that change over time, rather than as a single unifying hierarchy of beats. Such a conceptualization will be further explored in subsequent chapters If the individual streams are important in the groove, equally important are the changes to the groove over time. Using Hasty’s analytical system of projections and durational qualities, there is a clear representation of the groove and its meter unfolding in time. Even in this short example, instruments enter and exit the texture, changing the meter of each bar substantially. As the song continues, such changes to the groove become more and more common: horns and guitar enter in the chorus, and later verses include backing vocals as part of the groove. The use of improvisation and microtiming changes to repeated riffs means that although grooves can be heard as repeated entities, at the same time each repetition of the groove presents a different experience, related to previous ones but also something new.38 In addition to allowing a consideration of grooves as polyphonic and particular metrical constructions, the use of Hasty’s system for groove analysis also illuminates several particular features of meter in the groove that are present in the surface rhythms but are often overlooked by a hierarchical metric analysis. One of these is anacrusis: not only particular short instances of anacrusis such as the Hammond organ gesture, but also anacrusis of a larger scope, such as the autotelic gesture in electric piano that loops the groove back to its own beginning. Syncopation is also important in the flow of meter, encouraging the listener to anticipate future events at particular moments, such as in the lead vocal and bass line part that adds a forward-looking gesture in the middle of every short phrase. And pitch is a contributor to meter as well, as harmonic progressions shape the hearing of projections at longer durations. In the end, I believe the strongest argument for adopting Hasty’s analytical method to study meter in popular music grooves is because it shows a process of meter that matches my experiences as a dancer and listener, experiences that are shared by  Even without such changes a repetition feels different from previous iterations, a point I will discuss shortly. 38  16  countless popular music fans who engage with the music in clubs, restaurants, cars and public transit, and in their own homes. Hasty’s method demonstrates how the durations in different instruments move, shift, and come alive just as I do when I dance along, and how they change my understanding of time in terms of the perception of durations, the anticipation of the future and the re-evaluation of the past, and the comparison among instruments in the groove. By highlighting these musical experiences, Hasty’s theory will allow me to develop an analytical apparatus that validates what has thus far been an overlooked experience of this music. Even more broadly, Hasty’s grounding in a processed-based philosophy of time as laid out by Whitehead brings new value to the general human experience of time in popular music.39 In listening to grooves, repetition is conceived of as a source of joy rather than conformity, a foundation for communal and coordinated human expression whether on the dance floor or tapping along on a car steering wheel.40 From that place of coordinated response, individual expression is possible with additional responses such as specific and unique bodily motions and personal emotional responses tied to past experiences. Through an examination of the particularly metric features of grooves, a whole range of human experiences and expressions will be included in academic discourse.  The Study of Popular Music Scholars have begun to study groove-based popular music from a metric perspective. In popular music studies of meter, Jocelyn Neal has explored phrase rhythm, hypermeter, and the interaction between form and meter in her work on country music, raising questions about the understanding of formal structures as standardized or unique, Other philosophers, notably Deleuze and Guattari, also address the unique qualities of time that popular music provokes. See Timothy S. Murphy and Daniel W. Smith, “What I Hear is Thinking Too: Deleuze and Guattari Go Pop,” Echo 3.1 (Spring 2001), http://www.echo.ucla.edu/Volume3-Issue1/smithmurphy/index.html; accessed April 14, 2011. 40 This positive attitude to the repetitive nature of popular music contrasts with philosophers such as T.W. Adorno (with Max Horkheimer), who famously criticized popular music’s propensity for repetition in Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 1972). 39  17  and about the interaction of country music with its typical dance steps.41 Mark Butler’s work mixes metric approaches from several influential theorists to explore the metric world of electronic dance music, approaching the music on its own terms rather than assuming that particular theories are applicable to his chosen genre.42 David Temperley has described meter and syncopation in rock from a perspective based on Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s theory of meter.43 Finally, Matthew Butterfield has applied Hasty’s system to popular music and jazz grooves, in a brief article that raises many questions about how Hasty’s system would work if applied more deeply to the popular music repertory.44 Although certainly a good beginning, this work merely scratches the surface of a genre that is deeply compelling, incredibly diverse, and deserving of much more analytical attention. Further, many of these studies continue the biases of metric scholars with a more traditional focus on music of the European common-practice. Notably, they continue to overlook the importance of surface rhythms and polyphony in creating meter.45 However, since both of these features are among the primary sources of metric interest in pop (not only in “Lady Marmalade” but in countless other examples), it makes sense to use this repertoire to develop metric theory further in this area. Considering grooves more closely as a musical structure that is “designed to be repeated” also draws analytical attention to the notion of musical repetition.46 As John Rahn has pointed out, “all musical structure derives from repetition.”47 At the same time, even when repetition exists in music, there is no exact replica of experience, because repetition takes place in time: it is “a process of continual transcendence towards who  Jocelyn Neal, “The Metric Makings of a Country Hit,” in Reading Country Music: Steel Guitars, Opry Stars, and Honky-Tonk Bars, ed. Cecilia Tichi (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1998), 322-337; “Songwriter’s Signature, Artist’s Imprint: The Metric Structure of a Country Song,” in Country Music Annual (2000). 42 Mark Butler, Unlocking the Groove (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2006). 43 Temperley 2001. 44 Butterfield 2006. 45 Studies of metric dissonance provide a fruitful area of research to counter this bias; see Krebs 1999. 46 Tim Hughes, “Groove and Flow: Six Analytical Essays on the Music of Stevie Wonder,” (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 2003), 14. 47 John Rahn, “Repetition,” Contemporary Music Review 7 (1993), 49. 41  18  knows what end.”48 Rahn’s emphasis on repetition as a process resonates with the philosophical underpinnings of Hasty’s system. Just as the study of groove-based popular music places the issue of repetition in music front and center, my use of Hasty’s system of meter as process will allow me to query the processual, in-time nature of repetition itself, with a particular focus on the role of repetition in meter. In contrast to hierarchical systems, which represent repetitions as exactly the same, Hasty’s system allows for particular judgments of metric quality, keeping a strong connection to the sense of the music in time. My repertoire focus is important for more than its mere applicability to the understanding of meter in music generally. It is crucial that theorists come to terms with meter in the popular music repertoire in particular, because this is truly the central music of our time, with a large and diverse audience not only in North America but around the world. Many other scholars have ably justified pop music’s inclusion in musicological, ethnomusicological, and theoretical studies.49 The study of popular music has gained acceptance in music theory, but such acceptance has come only recently.50 In the full range of music-theoretical studies of popular music, there has been a tendency to focus on American and British rock music from the 1960s and 1970s, through close readings of musical form, harmony, pitch, voiceleading (often Schenkerian analyses), or text-music relations.51 More recent studies have expanded the field slightly, into genres such as country and western, electronic dance  Rahn 1993, 50. See Allan F. Moore, Rock: The Primary Text (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001); eds. John Covach and Graeme M. Boone, Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). 50 Jocelyn Neal pinpoints the origins of popular music studies in the discipline of music theory to a 1990 conference session at the joint meeting of the Society for Music Theory (SMT) and the American Musicological Society (AMS), held in Oakland, California. Jocelyn Neal, “Popular Music Analysis in American Music Theory,” Zeitschrift Der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 2/2 (2005), http://www.gmth.de/zeitschrift/artikel/524.aspx; accessed July 15, 2010. 51 See Walter Everett, The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver through the Anthology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) and The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men Through Rubber Soul (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Covach and Boone, 1997; Moore 2001. 48 49  19  music, and female singer-songwriters of the 1990s.52 However, the wide scope of popular music genres on radio dials and MP3 players calls out for further diversification of research interests. This study will be an important contribution in its focus on several genres (including Motown and disco) that have been mostly overlooked by music theorists. At the same time as important popular music genres have remained underexamined by music theorists, existing studies have often focused on a specific artist, and on musical exceptions rather than taking a broader view of musical norms. In his discussion of musical semiotics, Philip Tagg argues that the basic musical codes, the general ways in which popular music communicates to the masses, need to be examined before the exceptional effects of alternative streams can be fully understood.53 By taking a broad view of groove-based popular music, touching on particular genres as well as features of grooves that cross genres, I will elaborate on metrical norms in groove-based popular music, norms that can serve as the foundation for future, more specific studies. By applying Hasty’s analytical system of meter as process to the study of popular music, this study will develop research in two academic fields (music theory and popular music studies) and deepen understanding by including genres of music that have as-yet received little attention. Particular attention will be paid to the specifically musical features of popular music, often overlooked in favour of equally valid studies on cultural context and significance. Ultimately, through a study of metrical particularity in popular music, I will validate underappreciated yet highly important human experiences of music and time, uniting my dancing body and my analytical brain to find a deeper and more meaningful understanding of music’s many grooves.  Jocelyn Neal, “Country-Pop Formulae and Craft: Shania Twain's Crossover Appeal,” in Everett 2008, 285-312; Butler 2006; Burns and Lafrance 2002. 53 Philip Tagg, “Musicology and the semiotics of popular music” (Semiotica 66/1-3 (1987)), 284-285. Recent exceptions to this statement have come from Walter Everett, The Foundations of Rock: From “Blue Suede Shoes” to “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009) and from Christopher Doll, “Listening to Rock Harmony” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 2007). 52  20  Chapter 2 Methods for Metric Analysis of the Groove The preceding chapter outlined some of the general issues in undertaking the analysis of popular music generally, and of meter in popular music specifically. One criticism that has often been leveled at scholars who approach the study of popular music from a music-theoretical perspective is the question of whether existing analytical methods are appropriate for the genre. Although popular music certainly draws on some conventions of the common-practice period in European art music (the repertoire that has traditionally shaped analytical techniques), it is also influenced by numerous other genres from Europe, Africa, North America, and the Caribbean. The contrast I made in the previous chapter between my fluid experience of popular music as a dancer absorbed in hearing the music and my rigid experience of the music if I follow metric theories designed for other repertoires encapsulates the problem. As Nadine Hubbs writes: ..if a compelling music criticism should be commensurable with its object, resonating with the aesthetic qualities of music and thus exciting imagination, feeling, and other capacities, then a compelling pop-rock criticism should possess these musical qualities but crucially should also address its object with an eye toward pop and rock’s more particular emphases.54 Someone only superficially familiar with Hasty’s system of metric analysis might argue that it does not meet Hubbs’ criteria for a “compelling pop-rock criticism.” In his book, Hasty applies the theory only to Western art music, and focuses in particular on twentieth-century art music that could not be further removed stylistically from the highly repetitive, groove-based popular music of this study. But as discussed in the introduction, Hasty’s theory is in actuality a method that highlights those metric features of popular music grooves that are most important to theoretical understanding, including particular gestures in the surface rhythm (such as syncopation and anacrusis) that give the groove forward drive and differentiate listener experience from one duration to the next, the polyphonic nature of the groove, and the sensation of the groove as a changing same, a 54  Hubbs 2008, 221. 21  repeated structure and an ongoing process in time that is constantly unfolding new projective durations at each musical moment. Other theorists have described aspects of meter that might be applicable to some of these groove qualities. Grosvenor Cooper and Leonard Meyer, Edward Cone, and Wallace Berry have all addressed the sensation of energy or musical motion in meter as part of their own studies.55 Berry’s theory bears particular resemblance to Hasty’s, describing the close connection between rhythm and meter and the role of various impulse types (initiative, reactive, anticipative) that appear to correspond to Hasty’s beginning, continuation, and anacrusis.56 However, Hasty’s theory remains the only theory to connect these energetic sensations with the explicit marking of duration via projection, thus uniting metric and rhythmic consideration in a clear and straightforward way that, with further development, can bring all of the features of the groove described above under the definition of meter. This chapter will establish the basic principles of groove structure, and discuss in detail the specific portions of Hasty’s theory that are particularly important for the study of groove-based popular music. However, before undertaking this task, it is important to clearly address the role of transcription in the study of popular music generally, and in my analytical method specifically.  Transcription in Popular Music Since popular music is for the most part an oral tradition, written representation of the music is problematic. Some written versions of popular music do exist: musicians, composers, and producers may create lead sheets for rehearsal that provide chord changes, lyrics, and perhaps some basic patterns for particular instruments; and sheet Grosvenor W. Cooper and Leonard B. Meyer, The Rhythmic Structure of Music (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1960); Edward T. Cone, Musical Form and Musical Performance (New York: W.W. Norton, 1968); Wallace Berry, Structural Functions in Music (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1976). 56 Berry also has a fourth impulse type, conclusive, a sensation that Hasty incorporates into notions of continuation and the completion of projections (see Hasty 1997, 219-225). Hasty himself was unaware of the correspondences between his own work and Berry’s; see John Roeder, “Review of Christopher Hasty, Meter as Rhythm,” Music Theory Online 4/4 (July 1998), paragraph 5.5. 55  22  music and chord charts are available commercially and online. However, all of these sources are unreliable as complete and accurate representations of the sounds in a particular song, and lead sheets are rarely accessible to most popular music listeners. Therefore, the authoritative version of the song is the recording. Although many variations may exist in live performance, the studio-produced, commercially-released recording is understood as the definitive version of the piece, and also the version most widely available.57 Despite the importance of a recording, in order for analysts to easily discuss the musical details of an aural experience a written diagram, or transcription, is necessary. Pop music analysts have been criticized for their use of transcription,58 but it remains an efficient and effective way of exploring the organization of musical sounds in detail, and of sharing one’s ideas with others in a print context. However, it is important to remember that transcriptions have several limitations. First, a transcription is not a substitute for listening to the song, nor can it be seen as some kind of copy of the song itself. A transcription may serve as a guide for how a song could be heard (especially when supplemented by analytical notation and commentary), but it is always important to move between the transcription and the recording to fully appreciate the song and its accompanying analysis. As Peter Winkler writes, “a transcription is a blueprint drawn after the building is built. And one must resist the temptation of mistaking the blueprint for the building.”59 A transcription is a form of citation, a helpful way to summarize analytical points for the advancement of knowledge, but never a substitute for the work of the original artist(s). Secondly, it is important to remember that the static nature of transcriptions presents an illusion of the song as a complete object, outside of time. This is directly  Mark Spicer has pointed out that many musicians even go so far as to shape their live performances to be as close a representation of the recording as possible. Mark Spicer, “British Pop-Rock Music in the Post-Beatles Era: Three Analytical Studies,” (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 2001), 4. 58 See Tagg 2000, 75-76. 59 Peter Winkler, “Writing Ghost Notes: The Poetics and Politics of Transcription,” in Keeping Score: Music, Disciplinarity, Culture, eds. David Schwarz, Anahid Kassabian, Lawrence Siegel (Charlottesville, Virginia: University Press of Virginia, 1997), 193. 57  23  contrary to actual musical experience, as Winkler has discussed,60 but it is also a particularly important point given that Hasty’s system of analysis treats meter as a temporal process. Readers must constantly return to the listening experience, to a sensation of the music in time, to truly experience the analysis. Further, different styles of transcription can represent different musical features with changing degrees of success. I have chosen to use Western musical notation, with full awareness of that system’s strengths and weaknesses. However, it does have a status as a lingua franca amongst my intended audience of music academics that is appealing, and its systematization for both pitch and rhythm is usually accurate enough to convey the necessary analytical points. On the other hand, representing detail in parameters including timbre, tempo, and dynamics is difficult, as are the finer gradations of pitch and duration so common in popular vocal music. Where necessary, I will modify notational conventions to represent sounds more accurately; however, in the end the exact aural experience cannot be replicated on paper. Indeed, transcriptions, as human creations, can never be objective representations. Although I have done my best to represent the sounds I hear on the page with accuracy, and am relatively confident that others would agree with me about the presence of these sounds, in the end differences of opinion are impossible to avoid. Just as two people can sit at the same concert and have different listening experiences, so too can they create different transcriptions of the same heard sounds.  Theorizing the Groove Before one can theorize about grooves and their metrical particularities, one needs to be clear about what exactly is being discussed. “Groove” can refer to both an object and a process, as several scholars have pointed out.61 Each conceptualization has Winkler 1997, 173. See for example Lawrence Zbikowski, “Modelling the Groove: Conceptual Structure and Popular Music,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 129/2 (2004), 275; Charles Keil and Steven Feld, Music Grooves, 2nd ed. (Tuscon, Arizona: Fenestra Books, 2005), 22-24; Butler 2006, 5; Ingrid Monson, Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 67. For a more general discussion of the use of objectand process-based conceptualizations in music analysis, see Matthew Butterfield, “The Musical Object Revisited,” Music Analysis 21 (2002), 327-380. 60 61  24  its benefits and shortcomings, and elucidating them will establish the foundation for a consideration of metrical particularity in the groove. Most music theorists have defined a groove as an object. Mark Spicer describes it as “the complex tapestry of riffs—usually played by the drums, bass, rhythm guitar and/or keyboard in some combination—that work together to create the distinctive harmonic/rhythmic backdrop which identifies a song.”62 This definition is accurate enough, though as Tim Hughes points out, it leaves unsaid one crucial feature of grooves: that they repeat.63 There are advantages to considering grooves as objects. As with many other objectifications in music theory, it makes it easier to compare and classify these intangible musical sounds through transcription and analysis.64 More specifically, considering a groove as an object makes it possible to describe its most characteristic features and compare them to those of other grooves. In this way listeners can distinguish between a change of what I call a groove state, where the fundamental features of a particular groove remain the same though some material is changed; and a change of groove, where the fundamental features themselves are changed. For example, if the groove initially consists of steady quarter notes in bass and drum kit, and then a keyboard part is added, this would constitute a change in groove state, since the original pattern is still present. On the other hand, if in addition to the added keyboard, the bass changes to a riff using syncopation and triplets, and the drum kit changes its pattern to one that alternates bass and snare, then the groove has changed so much that it can no longer be considered the same object.65 An object-based perspective also reflects listener expectation for a particular fixed instrumentation in popular music from the 1950s forwards. The most basic orchestration Spicer defines a riff as “a distinctive melodic/rhythmic idea—usually longer than a motive but not large enough to constitute a full phrase—which is frequently (but not always) sounded over and over again in the manner of an ostinato.” Spicer 2001, 10. 63 Hughes 2003, 14. The notion of repetition is implied in Spicer’s definition of riff, however. 64 For more on the use of object conceptualizations in music theory, see Robin Attas, “Metaphors in Motion: Agents and Representation in Transformational Analysis,” Music Theory Online 15/1 (March 2009). 65 Formal divisions often help make the distinction between groove and groove state clear, since verses, choruses, and bridges often use different grooves to help separate sections. 62  25  for pop and rock grooves employs a drum kit, bass guitar, and one or more acoustic or electric guitars. Layered on top of this groove orchestration is a lead vocalist, occasionally accompanied by backup singers. Generally, these backup singers may be considered part of the groove if their music repeats at the same periodicity as the rest of the groove, but if such repetition is not evident, they are best considered as a support to the lead vocal line. Beyond this basic “full-band” texture, there is some flexibility, as keyboards, strings, woodwinds, brass, and technology such as synthesized and sampled sounds may be considered part of the groove if they engage in repetitive patterns. Along with expectations for a particular groove orchestration come expectations about the role of each instrument in the groove. Walter Everett’s description of instrumental roles in 1950s and 1960s rock holds true for most popular music up to the present day.66 Drums and other percussion instruments keep the ensemble synchronized and steady, play a repetitive attack pattern that forms the foundation for the groove, connect song sections with fills (an improvised departure from the repeating pattern for a beat or two, or a full bar), and maintain a high energy level with dynamics that are generally louder than the rest of the ensemble.67 Bass guitar is both “the band’s pitch foundation” (since it is the lowest pitched instrument) and a rhythmic counterpoint to the drum kit (especially the bass drum), since its pitches are so low at times that they are felt rather than heard.68 Guitars (acoustic and/or electric) and keyboard instruments (piano, organ, along with numerous synthesized and/or electric versions) fill out the harmonic material of the bass. Guitars and keyboards often divide between rhythm and lead function; as Everett writes about guitarists, “rhythm players will strum harmonically supportive chords in somewhat repetitive patterns, whereas lead players pick single-line melodic parts that interact with the lead vocal.”69 Synthesized sounds take a more flexible role, often complementing pitch or rhythmic material provided by other instruments.  More recent genres of popular music, such as electronic dance music and hip-hop, tend to have a more diverse collection of timbres, often created with synthesizers and samples rather than live musicians. However, even in these genres drums, bass, and some other harmony-articulating instrument are usually still present. 67 Everett 2009, 6-9. 68 Everett 2009, 29. 69 Everett 2009, 60. 66  26  The object-based groove conceptualization certainly reflects many of the features of the groove accurately; however, there are also elements of grooves that can only be addressed through a processual perspective. One major issue is the human element of groove creation. Throughout their work, Charles Keil and Steven Feld strongly emphasize grooves as participatory experiences where people can interact and express individual and collective identity through music. Keil uses the terms “engendered feeling” and “participatory discrepancies” to describe processual variations such as expressive microtimings that musicians use in the groove to give it a particular emotional feel and prevent it from becoming purely mechanical.70 Whether or not expressive microtimings are the specific focus of analysis, it is important to recall that grooves are created through a process of collaboration among individuals, whether physically playing in the same space or recorded individually and combined by producers, sound engineers, and others working in an equally collaborative environment. Individual playing styles, particular instrument choices, and decisions in production go a long way towards shaping the groove’s sound, and so it is important to give musicians credit for their work as much as possible. A processual view of the groove includes more than just the particular timbres and microtimings at any given moment. It also involves stringing these moments together into an in-time musical experience. Taking such an approach to the groove impacts everything from broad stylistic comparisons to tiny changes in a single groove state from one repetition to the next. Not only does a single groove state progress through time, but as it repeats we compare later states to earlier ones, and adjust our feelings and interpretations accordingly. Even if the groove state is conceptualized as an unchanging object for the purposes of analysis, in actual fact many details do change, whether a drum fill or a bass line that is slightly different each time. As different grooves are introduced in different song sections, our sensation of them changes, informed by what we have heard  See Charles Keil, “Motion and Feeling Through Music,” in Keil and Feld 2005, 53-76; and “Participatory Discrepancies and the Power of Music,” in Keil and Feld 2005, 96108. Ingrid Monson has also explored the social and cultural aspect of groove making in Monson 1996 and in “Riffs, Repetition, and Theories of Globalization,” Ethnomusicology 43/1 (Winter 1999), 31-65. 70  27  previously, and what we expect to hear in the future. Analysts must come to terms with this equally important experience of groove-based music, and indeed, music generally.71 Grooves (both in my specific repertoire and in other repertoires) are also closely tied to embodied experiences of music, whether foot-tapping, hand-clapping, or full-body engagement on the dance floor. Jeff Pressing, for example, takes the terms “groove” and “feel” to be related if not identical, and his characterization of the groove includes consideration of the music’s “effectiveness in engaging synchronizing body responses.”72 Iyer similarly emphasizes the role of the groove in moving our bodies, and points towards psychological research that suggests that “the act of listening to rhythmic music involves the same mental processes that generate bodily motion.”73 To the extent that grooves are considered both external objects and embodied processes, they also present for listeners two distinct kinds of musical time. On one hand, grooves constantly repeat, leading to a sense of circularity or a repeating sameness. On the other hand, grooves are part of songs, with larger formal structures that create a sense of goal-directed motion, or at least a sense of moving forwards through time. This contrast in experiences of musical time recalls the work of Jonathan Kramer, who describes a general distinction in music between linear and nonlinear time. Linear time is defined as “the determination of some characteristic(s) of music in accordance with implications that arise from earlier events of the piece,” while nonlinear time is “the determination of some characteristic(s) of music in accordance with implications that arise from principles or tendencies governing an entire piece or section.”74 By describing groove time specifically as circular, I am adapting Kramer’s views on nonlinear musical time. Several of his descriptors of nonlinearity (“stasis,” “consistency,” “persistence”) apply to the groove listening experience, but I would submit that in the circular time of the groove, there is an added experience of repetition, of return or of something turning back on itself.75 Additionally, my change in terminology See Guy Madison, “Experiencing Groove Induced by Music: Consistency and Phenomenology,” Music Perception 24/2 (December 2006), 201-208. 72 Jeff Pressing, “Black Atlantic Rhythm: Its Computational and Transcultural Foundations,” Music Perception 19/3 (Spring 2002), 288. 73 Iyer 2002, 392. 74 Jonathan Kramer, The Time of Music (New York: Schirmer, 1988), 20. 75 Kramer 1988, 63. 71  28  bestows a positive connotation upon this particular sensation of time, since calling it “nonlinear” suggests a subtle value judgment that defines our experience by what it is not, rather than what it is. Whether the groove is considered as object or process, as an expression of linear or circular time, all conceptualizations treat it as a unified ensemble of parts. In processual and participatory interpretations such as those of Keil and Feld, it is a product of collaboration among individuals. In object-based interpretations such as Spicer’s, it is a collection of riffs played by a diverse range of instrumental timbres. Steven Pond goes so far as to abandon the use of the term “groove” in favour of “groove matrix,” describing a collection of individual parts in a “complementary, interlocking relationship with the others.”76 Despite this common conceptualization, polyphony in the groove is often minimized as analysts direct their comments towards consideration of “the groove” for an entire piece or genre.77 The polyphonic nature of North American popular music grooves is related to what Olly Wilson has described as a “heterogeneous sound ideal” in much African and African-American music.78 Wilson explains that within the groove, this heterogeneity is achieved in two ways: the inclusion of diverse timbres in the ensemble (for example, drums, guitar, and voice rather than the four similar instruments of a string quartet), and the use of diverse timbres within single instruments (for example, the voice as used for singing, scatting, talking, yelling, whispering, and so on).79 The polyphony of popular music ensembles encompasses rhythm as well as timbre. Wilson describes ensembles that combine a “fixed rhythmic group” playing a specific “rhythmic pulsation throughout the duration of the composition with little  Steven F. Pond, Head Hunters: The Making of Jazz’s First Platinum Album (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 42. 77 Of course, this sort of generalization is often quite useful; see for example Butterfield 2006, where he provides a brief metric analysis for the “basic rock groove” that will inform my readings of specific groove states in a diversity of genres throughout this dissertation. 78 Olly Wilson, “The Heterogeneous Sound Ideal in African-American Music,” in New Perspectives on Music, ed. Josephine Wright (Warren, Michigan: Harmonie Park Press, 1992), 327-338. 79 Wilson 1992, 329. 76  29  variation” with a “variable rhythm group” whose rhythms change. 80 Combining this idea with Everett’s comments about typical instrumental roles in the pop music ensemble, there is typically a group of instruments playing a repeating groove (the “fixed rhythmic group”) while a lead singer, with occasional support from other vocalists or instruments, articulates a changing melody and lyrics (the “variable rhythm group”). To sum up: the groove has often been considered by music analysts as an object of fixed length, with relatively static instrumentation and repeating riff structure. But such a position neglects the equally important processual elements of grooves: the participatory nature of groove creation and the impact of changes to the groove’s instrumentation, pitch, and rhythmic structure over time. An object-based standpoint also holds the danger of overlooking the groove’s polyphonic characteristics, not only a fundamental part of the groove’s musical structure but also a clear link to the collective of humans who create it. Conceptualizing the groove as an object helps one to consider it analytically. But there should be ways of incorporating process into the analytical method, of considering the diverse aspects of grooves as compared to one another or to previous versions as they evolve and change over time. The contrast between the object- and process-based approaches to music grooves parallels the contrasting approaches to metric analysis of popular music described in the previous chapter. As should be evident by now, Hasty’s theoretical apparatus is ideally suited to address the processual nature of meter in popular music grooves, while still maintaining a sense of the groove as an object of study. His system takes a view of meter that moves fluidly from the totality of metric experience in a genre, song, or groove, to the particular details of projection and durational quality that create meter in any given moment, allowing different musical experiences to receive equal consideration. This dissertation will apply Hasty’s metrical methodology rigorously at various levels of inquiry. It will be used to examine meter as a component of genre and stylistic comparisons; to compare different grooves within a single genre, between songs, or within a single song; to explore particular processes of groove creation and change over time; and to focus on the most particular instances of meter within repetitions of a single groove state. All of these applications will maintain Hasty’s view of meter as “a creative process 80  Wilson 1992, 331. 30  in which the emerging definiteness or particularity of duration is shaped by a great range of qualitative and quantitative distinctions.”81 At the same time, this approach will expand considerably on scholarly understanding of meter, and on Hasty’s theory specifically. To this date, most (if not all) theories of meter have dealt exclusively with Western art music. Although I join with the scholars of meter in popular music mentioned in the introduction and agree that these theories of meter are still applicable to pop music because of the shared musical qualities in the two genres, there are also instances where theories based in art music lack appropriate tools for the popular music repertoire. Hasty’s theory does contain the appropriate tools, but often only as potentialities. His work provides a solid foundation for the processual consideration of meter in popular music, but some aspects of metrical theory are treated only in the abstract, and require further development in order to fully appreciate the particularities of meter in groovebased popular music. The groove and the popular music ensemble are complex polyphonic structures, and so Hasty’s theory must be adapted to suit a view of meter as presented by multiple textural streams. Further, the groove’s riffs often feature highly variegated durations in order to manipulate listener sensations of anticipation and arrival, frequently using syncopation and anacrusis to achieve these ends. Finally, the use of Hasty’s system in practice rather than as abstract theory requires a consideration of the interaction of metrical projection with other musical parameters, including instrumentation and harmonic progression.  Polyphony As stated previously, grooves are fundamentally a combination of instruments with unique timbres, a collection of distinct and repeating riffs, and a union of individual players into an ensemble. Not only is the groove itself an embodiment of Olly Wilson’s conceptualization of the “heterogeneous sound ideal,” but the ensemble texture of most pop music is also heterogeneous, as it combines a rhythm section playing a repeating groove with a lead vocalist singing a more linear melody. Given these conceptualizations of the groove and the full popular music ensemble as unions of a number of separate 81  Hasty 1997, xi. 31  streams, it is critical to clarify how my metric analyses will deal with these different layers of sound. Hasty’s method of metric analysis implies a certain amount of polyphony. Durational projections of different lengths that begin at the same or different times are possibilities. Similarly, different durational streams in the texture may articulate different metric functions, and focusing on one or another stream leads to a different metric interpretation. But at the same time, a normative analysis will subsume durational projections, nesting them hierarchically, one inside the other. Although he does not discuss polyphony explicitly, Hasty’s analysis of Monteverdi’s madrigal “Ohimè, se tanto amate” (from Madrigals Book IV of 1603) does give some sense of his implicit attitude towards the subject. Example 2.1 reproduces his Example 14.1.  32  Example 2.1. Polyphony in Hasty’s Example 14.1.82  82  Hasty 1997, 239-240. 33  Example 2.1 continued.  34  At certain moments, Hasty interprets durational functions differently in voices occurring simultaneously. The first instance is in bar 2, where the canto and quinto parts conclude a statement of “Ohimè” with a continuation, at the same time as the basso concludes its “Ohimè” with an anacrustic “-mè” that leads forwards into a new “Ohimè” statement. Another conflict comes in the second half of bar 7. Again the two upper voices iterate “ohimè” with a rhythm suggesting beginning-continuation, while the basso is heard as anacrusis. This gesture begins a longer passage where the contrapuntal entries of different voices results in multiple durations for projection beginning at different points, a texture that persists until a unified arrival in all voices at bar 10. Hasty explains how we might interpret these apparent metrical conflicts: Obviously, we cannot feel all these conflicting projective potentials simultaneously with equal clarity. But obviously, too, these various potentials do not cancel one another out to leave the passage unmeasured or projectively undifferentiated. Rather, this small, seamlessly overlapped phrase presents us with considerably more differentiation than we can keep track of. Very broadly, the effect of this passage is quite clear, though (as is always the case) difficult to describe. Prolonging the anacrustic drive that (with bar 5) led us out of the relatively closed introductory measures, this knotted intensification of the large phrase gradually dissolves in the homophonic two-bar measures that in bars 10-15 emerge as the climax of the phrase.83 In sum, Hasty suggests that we are most likely to focus on the overall effect of the passage, while at the same time leaving open the possibility that we may focus our attention on a particular part in the polyphonic texture. This standpoint is reiterated in his subsequent analysis of Schutz’s “Adjuro vos, filiae Jerusalem” which again shows conflicting metrical interpretations, but where the analytical conflict stands unresolved. Hasty’s analytical discussion makes clear that we can hear meter polyphonically, but at the same time he cautions against taking things too far. His statement that the Monteverdi passage “presents us with considerably more differentiation than we can keep track of” suggests that there are limits to the number of polyphonic streams that we can attend to. The interaction among streams, and indeed the definition of streams  83  Hasty 1997, 241. 35  themselves, are two critical points that must be considered if grooves are to be considered under a polyphonic approach to meter. The previous chapter’s analysis of “Lady Marmalade” demonstrated that the texture of complete grooves can lead to complex polyphonic analyses, but even something as apparently simple as the drum kit can incorporate separate streams that require special metric consideration. Matthew Butterfield’s work provides a precedent for the metric analysis of standard rock drumming patterns, analyzing two as shown in Example 2.2. I will return to Example 2.2b in a later discussion, but considering Example 2.2a here, Butterfield analyzes the snare drum attacks (which fall on what are known as backbeats, the normatively weak beats 2 and 4) as anacrustic, in part because the stark timbral contrast between them and the bass drum attacks draws attention away from the beginning of the bass drum that opens each half note projection, and towards the following beginning.84 At the same time as timbre defines metric quality, however, the analysis suggests a single unified meter for three separate timbral layers (hi-hat, snare drum, and bass drum).  Butterfield’s full reasons for calling the backbeats anacrustic, and Hasty’s own criteria for anacrusis generally, will be discussed in depth in the following section. 84  36  Example 2.2. Butterfield’s Example 12a and 12b, analysis of the basic rock groove.85  To tease out the methodology underlying Butterfield’s conceptions of polyphony in these examples, and to establish a precedent for my own work, Example 2.3 shows three different hypothetical analyses of another common rock drum pattern, with hi-hat removed to simplify the analysis.86 The first analysis is purely polyphonic, considering the bass and snare drums as entirely separate streams that are not heard as related in any way, with distinct projections and metric qualities. The second is purely monophonic, considering the drums as a unit with a single rhythmic pattern. And the third mixes the two interpretations: the two drums are heard as distinct in terms of timbre and therefore metric quality, but are unified in terms of projections. I will describe the advantages and disadvantages of each potential interpretation before choosing a particular approach.  Butterfield 2006. The instruments in this example are, from top to bottom, hi-hat, snare drum and bass drum. For a complete explanation of standard drum notation see Appendix 1. 86 The tempo range for this and all subsequent drum examples has the quarter note articulated in the range of 100 to 120 beats per minute. 85  37  Example 2.3. Polyphonic, monophonic, and mixed metric interpretations of bass and snare drum pattern. a) Completely polyphonic  Q  (Q realized if snare pattern continues as written)  R  R'  b) Completely unified  Q  Q'  R  R'  c) Mixing polyphonic and unified  Q R  Q' R'  In the completely polyphonic analysis of Example 2.3a, the bass and snare drum are heard as so completely separate that they articulate independent projections and metric qualities. The bass drum’s part realizes a half note duration R and projects it as R'. Its eighth note provides an anacrusis to the following half note duration. Considering the snare part as a completely separate entity, I hear its first duration as a beginning. Due to  38  the tempo, its next duration sounds as a continuation. If the pattern continues with the same durations, the whole note projection Q will be realized and projected as Q'. The lack of any intervening attacks (as in the bass drum stream) means that the snare suggests longer durations for projection, and durations that are subdivided equally rather than unequally. The projections articulated by each drum thus happen at different times and different durations. This represents a listening experience where the polyphonic streams are completely unrelated: we can focus on one or the other, but their meters are not combined. Such an experience does demonstrate the timbral differences between bass and snare, but it ignores their unified instrumental role in the pop ensemble. The completely unified analysis of Example 2.3b takes the opposite extreme. Bass and snare are heard as so connected that they are unified into a single series of durations. Timbral differences between the two instruments are ignored completely as the first attack opens up projective duration Q (a quarter note), which is further reinforced with the eighth notes that subdivide Q' into beginning and continuation. The first attack also opens up projective duration R (a half note), comprising the quarter note continued by the following two eighth notes. Throughout the pattern, all of the durations reinforce a standard duple alternation of beginning and continuation: no anacrusis is heard in this interpretation. The third option, Example 2.3c, mixes a polyphonic and a monophonic approach. The drums are interpreted in terms of metric function as two separate streams since their timbres are unique, allowing a hearing of the bass drum’s short anacrusis to a subsequent quarter note duration. This timbral separation also permits Butterfield’s hearing of the backbeat as anacrustic towards subsequent half note durations. In terms of durational projections, on the other hand, the drums are considered as a unit, since in popular music the drums have a single instrumental function as the timekeeper for the ensemble. Thus even though their timbres are distinct, the separate instruments work together to suggest a unified metric interpretation to the listener. It is this third analytical path that will guide subsequent analysis. Although there is some polyphonic separation of streams in the groove (a concept I will discuss shortly) there is also unity, the collection of parts uniting into a gestalt that drives our projective perceptions.  39  However, the analysis in Example 2.3c takes a different approach than the analysis of “Lady Marmalade” in the previous chapter (Example 1.4). In that complete groove analysis, different instruments were shown with different metric functions and durational projections. This was done mostly with an aim towards clarity of exposition, so that readers could clearly identify which instrument in the groove suggested which duration for projection. Subsequent analyses will combine the two approaches as necessary. There are times when projections are less important to the analytical discussion, and in such cases they will be displayed as in Example 2.3c, with associated commentary describing the origin of each projection in more detail as it is relevant to the analytical intent. In other instances, the separate projective streams of the groove are worthy of more comment, and so projections will be written under the instrumental part that most strongly articulates them. Another major reason for the disparity between the analysis of “Lady Marmalade” and of the drum pattern is the striking difference between the polyphony of a complete groove and that of a single instrument or instrumental group. This relates to the question of what exactly constitutes a metric stream in this groove-based repertoire. Metric theorists Maury Yeston and Harald Krebs have previously considered meter in terms of separate streams; both theorists define metric strata based on the particular pulses articulated (an eighth note stream, a quarter note stream, etc.).87 But in this and subsequent analyses (and indeed, in Hasty’s system generally) a regular pulse is not the primary determinant for a particular layer. Instead, I define strata first based on instrumental function in the ensemble: one stratum would include the drum kit as timekeeper, another would include instruments articulating chord changes, another would group instruments repeating a particular riff. In many cases, each instrument defines its own stratum, although there are times when instruments may share a particular stratum because their parts are similar or exactly doubled (for example, the cowbell and snare drum in “Lady Marmalade”); or when a single instrument may articulate more than one stratum (for example, the separation between instruments in the drum kit). At the same time, a listener’s definition of strata may change depending on See Maury Yeston, The Stratification of Musical Rhythm (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976). Krebs defines meter as “the union of all layers of motion (i.e. series of regularly recurring pulses) active within it.” Krebs 1999, 23. 87  40  context. If the drum kit is the only instrument playing, perhaps it makes sense to hear each drum as a separate layer. If the groove is a complex collection of riffs in several instruments, however, the challenge to a listener’s attentional focus is much more acute, and so larger instrumental groupings may become more relevant. Given that it is unlikely listeners can hear multiple meters simultaneously, it is important to consider how these metric streams are prioritized when listening to the groove.88 First, it is important to consider the salience of each particular stream, given its dynamic level, placement in the mix, instrumental function, and timbre. Example 2.4 shows the same drum pattern as in Example 2.3, but this time adding a third instrument: Example 2.4a adds a hi-hat, and Example 2.4b adds a cowbell.  Example 2.4. Drum beats with hi-hat (a) and cowbell (b).  Q  Q'  R  R'  Q R  Q' R'  Justin London states that though polyrhythm is possible if listeners focus on one stream at a time, polymeter is cognitively impossible since it suggests that a listener “is simultaneously using two distinct attending strategies.” Justin London, Hearing in Time (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 83. Even though London’s separation between rhythm and meter is a different conceptualization than Hasty’s, his point is still applicable; my assertion about multiple interpretations would fall under his category of polyrhythm. 88  41  In Example 2.4a, the hi-hat helps to articulate the Q-Q' projection right from the start, filling in what was a longer durational projection when the pattern consisted of snare drum and bass drum alone. However, the hi-hat’s alternation of beginning and continuation is not enough to alter the anacrustic interpretations of bass and snare drum that follow. The hi-hat’s flat timbre and quiet dynamic recede into the background when heard against the louder and more strident drums. This approach is reflected in Butterfield’s original analysis, where the hi-hat is essentially ignored. Example 2.4b is different. The cowbell has a louder dynamic, and its sound takes longer to decay. It dominates the texture, blurring the timbral distinction between bass and snare that created anacrustic backbeats. Additionally, its attacks line up with most of the snare and bass drum attacks, instead of articulating a smaller duration, as did the hihat in Example 2.4a. Moreover, the cowbell’s sound persists for much longer through each duration than do either of the drum sounds. As a result, the addition of the cowbell leads to an interpretation of continuation on the backbeats that overwhelms any sense of anacrusis in the snare.89 Another sort of salience important for deciding on metric interpretations is the number of instruments articulating a particular stream in the texture. In general, the more instruments articulating a particular stream, the more prominent that stream will be in the texture. But, apart from merely aiding in the prioritization of certain streams in a polyphonic texture, such additions may also strengthen individual metric interpretations. For example, were the cowbell in Example 2.4b to play only on the backbeats, it would create an even more striking timbral distinction than the snare drum alone, which following Butterfield and Hasty would result in an even stronger sense of anacrusis on the backbeats than with snare alone. Just as instrumental roles help to distinguish particular streams in the first place, and can strengthen particular interpretations, they also help to prioritize them. For One classic example of the metric importance of cowbell in the rock texture is Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Its obvious dominance in the groove is impossible to ignore, particularly after watching the classic Saturday Night Live skit featuring actor Will Ferrell’s manic gyrations in response to guest host Christopher Walken’s requests for “more cowbell.” See Saturday Night Live: The Best of Will Ferrell, directed by Beth McCarthy Miller, Stacey Foster, James Signorelli (Santa Monica, California: Lions Gate Entertainment, 2002). 89  42  example, the drum kit’s timekeeping function often suggests that its metric contribution be prioritized when trying to decide among interpretations. In contrast, a riff in a nonstandard instrument (say, a flute) may be heard as less important metrically. But it cannot be discounted completely: its presence will still affect the meter of the groove, even if only in a very subtle way. Although there may be a sort of prioritizing that goes on when listening to the various metric streams at work in the groove, it does not seem appropriate to quantify it exactly. In any given listening experience, it is always possible to choose whether to focus on the groove as a gestalt serving as a backdrop to a lead vocal line, or to focus on one of the many instruments or instrumental groupings involved in the groove itself. To represent this choice, in analysis I will usually indicate multiple interpretations, one for each stream, rather than a single qualitative totality.90 Part of what makes groove-based popular music so compelling for listeners is the opportunity it presents for a flexible listening experience, and so to insist upon a single, unified metric interpretation of the groove and all of its separate streams would only lead back to the overly general style of analysis I refuted in Chapter 1. Even if we can only attend to a single interpretation at a time, and even if we are most likely to attend to a particular interpretation at the expense of others (depending on how we rank particular instruments in the ensemble), it is important to describe these multiple possibilities in analysis, as they help to portray the metrical richness and variety present in each individual groove.  Metrical Hierarchy and the Limits of Meter The previous discussion of polyphony raises the question of metrical hierarchy; that is, how the multiple projections articulated by the various streams of the groove are organized. In contrast to other theories of meter,91 Hasty does not see hierarchy as a necessary component of meter. Rather than arising from the interaction of different strata Another option might be to present an analysis for the entire groove that uses different qualitative symbols to represent the impact of particular streams on the whole, in much the same way that Butterfield 2006 adapts Hasty’s symbols to incorporate expressive microtimings. In more complicated groove textures with multiple streams, however, I find it clarifies the discussion to present an analysis of each individual stream. 91 For example, Yeston 1976, Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983, Krebs 1999, and Temperley 2001. 90  43  of pulse, for Hasty the measurement of duration can occur with even a single stream (for example, two quarter notes and a resulting quarter note projection).92 However, Hasty notes that the presence of hierarchically nested projections often results in particular durations becoming more mensurally determinate; that is, more salient, more easily perceived as having a clear beginning and ending.93 In many of the analyses that follow, hierarchically nested projections are evident, and as mentioned, in many cases the presence of a series of duple projections from shorter to longer durations is a given in the groove to the point where it is not necessary to identify on the analysis which particular stream suggests which duration for projection (the introductory analysis of “Lady Marmalade” being a notable exception). However, I am still interested in adopting an in-time perspective on the groove, one that does not automatically assume the presence of a collection of nested durations simply because most grooves tend to exhibit such features. Instead, I seek to find evidence for each duration within the musical texture, while still acknowledging that, especially at shorter durations, a hierarchy of projections is likely to be heard even without such evidence. This analytical approach becomes particularly important as longer durations are considered, and the limits of perceivable meter are approached. Justin London, whose theory of meter is grounded primarily in scientific studies of human cognition, states that meter is possible when beats are separated by a minimum of 100 milliseconds and a maximum of five to six seconds, although such perceptual limits are affected by context.94 In “The Musical Object Revisited,” Butterfield unites a similar observation about human perception with Hasty’s theory of meter, suggesting that “beyond a certain span of time— five to ten seconds—our feeling for the salience of beginning tapers off, we start to lose the ability to reproduce the duration accurately, and durational determinacy begins to fade.”95 The sensation of long durations is particularly important for the study of groove meter because grooves, themselves often limited in duration to between one and four whole notes, are usually found within the context of popular music forms that emphasize Hasty 1997, 106. Hasty 1997, 110. 94 London 2004, 27-28. 95 Butterfield 2002, 347. 92 93  44  longer grouping structures: four-bar phrases, sixteen or thirty-two bar sections, and so on. Therefore, it is important to consider whether such structures influence our hearing of the groove’s meter, even if their durations extend beyond the five or so seconds that are the limits of our metric attention. Both Butterfield and Hasty assert that they can, to a certain degree. Butterfield continues his discussion by defining a “macroscopic musical object” that has an indeterminate duration (that is, that cannot be felt as a projection) but says that “its character is nevertheless quite different from that of an undifferentiated, continuous sound.”96 Hasty concludes, at the end of a lengthy discussion of the limits of meter, that longer projections (of around a four- or eight-bar phrase) are unlikely to have the same sense of beginning and continuation, or strong and weak, as do shorter projections.97 Part of this has to do with the notion of durational repetition in music: if two phrases are heard as in some sense parallel, they must have equal strengths of metric beginning. Therefore, the second cannot be heard as a continuation of the first.98 Further, Hasty asserts that our more general expectations that a lengthy duration will be duplicated exactly (in projective terms) are weaker for longer durations, because there are so many more possibilities for future events than in projections of shorter duration.99 In studies of the relationship between groove meter and formal structure, such issues are deeply relevant. However, my focus in this dissertation will rest primarily on the expression of meter within the groove itself, and within that framework, durations rarely reach a length that would push the limits of mensural determinacy. Further, just as I tend towards a perspective of metric hierarchy that seeks actual musical events to assert durations for projection (rather than relying on listener expectation), so too do I tend to omit longer durations unless there is something specific in the groove that encourages me to hear them. Although many subsequent analyses may omit discussion of longer projective durations, I am not categorically denying their existence, but instead focusing my analytical attention elsewhere.  Butterfield 2002, 358. Hasty 1997, 190-191. 98 Hasty 1997, 191. 99 Hasty 1997, 188. 96 97  45  Anacrusis Lerdahl and Jackendoff define anacrusis in two ways: as “the span from the beginning of a group to the strongest beat in the group,” 100 and as “the time-span from an upbeat to its associated downbeat.”101 In the first definition, Lerdahl and Jackendoff assert that anacrusis is a part of the grouping structure of music, since anacrusis occurs when a group begins before a strong beat in the metrical hierarchy. Their second definition at first appears similar to Hasty’s, since it relates anacrusis exclusively to meter. However, Hasty’s conceptualization of anacrusis is unique since it ties in to his different understanding of meter as process, of durations “becoming,” unfolding in time and with connections to past, present, and future durations that are equally part of a metrical process. For Hasty, anacrusis is a special type of continuation. Recall that his concept of continuation describes the decision by a listener to hear a present beginning as also contributing to a duration begun in the past that is still becoming. Often, the previouslybecoming duration is heard as a continuation only because of such listener decisions. But in certain situations, the already-becoming duration is so clearly established that a new decision to continue is redundant. Hasty says that a second event begun in this context, while still a continuation of the first already-becoming duration, is also “released from its dependency on a prior beginning,”102 and instead points listener attention forwards towards the next beginning, and to the realization of the previous durational projection. The sensation of future-directed attention is what creates an anacrusis. Moreover, “since anacrusis contributes to the determinacy and particularity of the new beginning [i.e., the beginning it points towards], it cannot be detached from the new metrical/projective field.”103 Said differently, the particular quality of anacrusis that encourages a forwardlooking (or forward-listening) attitude in listeners results in future beginnings, and future durations for projection, that are marked differently than if a continuation were present instead of an anacrusis.  Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983, 30. Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983, 284. 102 Hasty 1997, 121. 103 Hasty 1997, 129. 100 101  46  In his Example 9.12 (reproduced here as Example 2.5), Hasty outlines some general cases where a duration would function as anacrusis. These include a lengthy duration followed by a shorter duration and a new beginning (Example 2.5a) and a longer duration followed by two shorter durations that lead to a new beginning at either the quarter note or half note duration, given a strong half note projection (Example 2.5b and Example 2.5c). All of these examples, but in particular Examples 2.5b and 2.5c, are governed by context: depending on the specific musical example, these rhythms might be heard as anacrustic or continuative. Anacrusis often results from a listener’s uncertainty as to how to project future durations. In Example 2.5d, for instance, the silence following the quarter note could make the projected potential Q' less definite, even calling its existence into question. It is this uncertainty that leads to the sensation of anacrusis, as I turn attention away from becoming durations and towards expected future ones, which I anticipate will resolve my metric doubts.104  Hasty 1997, 122. For more on the role of anticipation and expectation in anacrusis and in music more generally, see David Huron, Sweet Anticipation (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2006), particularly Chapter 10, “Expectation in Time” (175-202). 104  47  Example 2.5. Hasty’s Example 9.12, showing some general cases of anacrusis.105  As Matthew Butterfield has already noted, Example 2.5e is a particularly relevant example, since it corresponds to many passages in popular music where backbeats are more strongly accented than downbeats.106 (The durations of Hasty’s example are double Hasty 1997, 121. Butterfield 2006, Example 3c. Butterfield connects the example to backbeat-accented bass lines in jazz, a similar phenomenon to the drum backbeats he discusses elsewhere in the article and that I will be discussing shortly. 105 106  48  those of a typical backbeat pattern, but the principle is the same.) The specific case of anacrustic backbeats will be described in more detail shortly, but considering this general situation first, an accent on the beginning of the second half note could draw more attention to this beginning than would normally be expected for a continuation, pulling attention away from the beginning of the whole note projection. Indeed, a strong accent could make the whole note projection sound cut off, uncertain, and so as a result I would more strongly anticipate a new onset to clarify the projective field. Thus, the accented second half note that would normally strongly continue the whole note instead disrupts it and acts as an anacrusis to give the next onset a stronger sense of beginning again. In addition to establishing some basic possibilities for judging a particular duration as anacrustic, Hasty’s example also shows how different anacruses can have different durational scopes. This is particularly apparent in Example 2.5f. The primary analysis is shown in the first line of durations, with projections underneath. Below this, Hasty expands on his metric analysis, showing how the second quarter note functions as an anacrusis to the following half note duration, while at the same time the two quarter notes together function as an anacrusis to the following whole note duration. Of course, all of these examples depend on context: in other cases, the durations in question might simply be continuations. What distinguishes the two metric qualities from each other is the specific feel they provoke in the listener. Rather than a continuation that encourages a listener to hear a new event as participating in the ongoing unfolding of a previously begun duration,107 anacrusis encourages the listener to anticipate future events. Continuation in a sense emphasizes the completion of a duration, while anacrusis focuses attention into the future on a new beginning yet to come. Even in other theories of meter, anacrusis has these qualities: Cooper and Meyer, for example, attribute feelings of tension, excitement, and “pent-up energy” to anacruses, feelings that are equally present in Hasty’s conceptualization.108 All of this general theorizing on anacrusis is deeply relevant to the particular metric situation of popular music grooves. As Matthew Butterfield has pointed out, “it is primarily the operation of anacrusis across multiple levels of rhythmic structure that  107 108  Hasty 1997, 104. Cooper and Meyer 1960, 72-73. 49  generates the forward drive of much groove-based music.”109 Butterfield further elaborates on Hasty’s general musical criteria for anacrusis, describing the importance of temporal proximity (a duration is heard as anacrustic if it is closer in time to a subsequent duration than a previous one); articulation and grouping (slurs may encourage a sense of anacrusis on the first duration in a group); and expressive microtiming (slightly early attacks tend towards anacrusis, and slightly late attacks tend towards continuation).110 For the most part, though expressive microtiming is certainly important to bear in mind, I am more interested in what Butterfield, following Charles Keil, calls the “syntactical” level of the performance: “processes that can be represented in standard musical notation.”111 But, as both Butterfield and Hasty make clear, a focus on the syntactical level does not necessitate a focus exclusively on duration as a cause for anacrusis. As subsequent examples will show, other musical parameters such as pitch, timbre, and instrumentation can all impact our hearing of anacrusis in the groove. Equally important is a consideration of the use of anacruses of different scope, whether encouraging listener attention forwards towards a particular moment in the groove, looping the groove back around to its own beginning as an autotelic gesture or pushing attention forwards into a new formal section. In most popular music grooves, anacrusis is a primary source of forward drive and anticipation, stimulating listeners to shift their attention towards the future in different ways. In popular music generally there are anacrustic gestures that span multiple genres, but also gestures that are most characteristic of a single genre. In later chapters I will explore genre-specific anacruses in more detail; for now, elaborating on the general uses of anacrusis in groove-based popular music will be enough to establish my basic theoretical approach and the typical sensations that anacrusis brings to the groove. As already discussed in the section on polyphony, one of the most consistent instruments in the groove is the drum kit. In keeping with the drum kit’s timekeeping role, the drummer maintains a steady beat throughout the groove, playing a repeating pattern on bass drum, snare drum, and hi-hat, with other percussion instruments (cowbell, ride or crash cymbal, etc.) sometimes added for variety or to conform to particular stylistic Butterfield 2006. Butterfield 2006, paragraphs 14, 15, and 22. 111 Butterfield 2006, paragraph 2. 109 110  50  conventions. Both repeating drum patterns and drum fills are rich sources of anacrusis in the groove. Perhaps the most common sensation of anacrusis in popular music comes from the snare drum backbeat, as explained by Butterfield and discussed briefly in the preceding section on polyphony (see Example 2.2). Often described as “driving” and “exciting,” backbeats are understood by practitioners and listeners alike as one of the primary sources of forward motion and energy in the groove.112 For dancers, backbeats motivate all sorts of regular motions, from back-and-forth steps to head nods and hand claps, that continually push and pull the body through space in ongoing cycles. According to Butterfield, snare drum backbeats are anacrustic because of “the timbre of the snare, its higher frequency, and apparent brevity relative to the booming bass drum,”113 qualities that reflect Hasty’s description of anacrusis as a source of projective uncertainty that promotes future-directed listening. In the standard rock beat (Example 2.2a), the bass drum opens a duration for projection with its beginning, and the snare drum continues it, but in a special way. Its unique timbre and shorter sound envelope combine to create a strong accent on the start of its duration, akin to Hasty’s general anacrustic situation shown in Example 2.5e. The accent creates a sense of uncertainty in the listener as to the validity of the half note projection still unfolding, since it appears to contradict the bass drum’s beginning. This uncertainty is not powerful enough to stop the projection entirely, since it is easy to relate the two drums as part of a single instrumental role, especially if the pattern is heard in a larger groove context (see Example 2.3b). However, it does cause listeners to anticipate a future resolution of this uncertainty; that is, a new beginning to clarify the unexpected metric situation. It is the sensation of this future-directed attention that creates anacrusis on the backbeats, with each backbeat anacrustic to the following half-note duration. In Drums for Dummies, for example, Jeff Strong describes the backbeat as “the driving rhythm that the snare drum plays” and a few sentences later re-emphasizes the point by saying that “the backbeat gives rock music its characteristically driving feel.” Jeff Strong, Drums for Dummies, 2nd ed. (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley Publishing, 2006), 80. In another example, a biography of Earl Palmer (the drummer recognized with creating the classic rock ‘n’ roll backbeat), author Tony Scherman describes Palmer’s innovation as the source of “the headlong thrust of rock and roll.” Tony Scherman, Backbeat: Earl Palmer’s Story (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999), 85. 113 Butterfield 2006, paragraph 40. 112  51  An alternative approach to backbeats might reject this idea of uncertainty entirely, and instead hear backbeats as exclusively continuative rather than anacrustic because of the unified instrumental role of the bass and snare drums. The unique features of the snare backbeats might even suggest a different analysis, such as hearing the backbeats as a pulse stream separate from the bass drum, which Jeffrey Hennessy proposes, or perhaps as some kind of metric dissonance heard against the primary metrical layer to which the bass drum contributes.114 None of these hearings seems best for the music considered in this dissertation. A continuative hearing is unlikely because even though the drums share a single instrumental role, their timbres are distinct enough to be treated somewhat independently; the alternative analyses are problematic for precisely the opposite reason, that the drums share an instrumental role that binds them together in the context of the larger groove ensemble. For me, hearing the snare’s durations as accented and anacrustic is the best representation of how we hear it as listeners: a midway point between the two extremes, where the snare is distinct from the bass drum, but also tied to it in a particular way. Yet another interpretive possibility might be to hear a full stop with each backbeat, what Hasty would call a projective hiatus.115 However, such a hearing goes against practitioner descriptions: how could a rhythm with a full stop every half note be described as “driving”? How could dancers time their cyclic and repetitive movements if every second step is an ending? Certainly much additional research is required to fully understand the attendant sensations of the backbeat in performers, listeners, and dancers, but from personal experience along with the limited published evidence already cited, it is apparent that the backbeat is not felt as a stop, but rather as a source of propulsion and “drive.” The advantage to using Hasty’s anacrusis to define the backbeat metrically is that it can best represent the backbeat’s complicated blend of sensations. Hasty defines Hennessy asserts that the backbeats themselves are heard as goals, rather than as pointing attention towards bass drum hits, and so must be heard as a separate but equally important metrical layer. See Jeffrey James Hennessy, “Fiddle Grooves: Identity, Representation, and the Sound of Cape Breton Fiddle Music in Popular Culture” (Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, 2008), 147-148. 115 A hiatus for Hasty is “a break between the realization of projected potential and a new beginning;” see Hasty 1997, 88. 114  52  anacrusis as “a type of continuation,” and admits that the distinction between the two sensations “may or may not be sharply drawn.”116 All anacruses therefore contain some sense of continuation and a relationship to past beginnings, but at the same time are less attached to prior beginnings than standard continuations. In the case of a prototypical snare drum backbeat, its future-directed features are strong enough to overcome its pastdirected features, resulting in a designation of anacrusis. Even as the backbeat may create a sensation of completion for some listeners, the ongoing half note projection begun by the bass drum is not realized until the next bass drum attack, demonstrating how a sense of forward motion persists beyond each repetition of the bass-snare pattern that prevents an analysis of hiatus or full stop. Hearing backbeats as anacrustic will be the standard approach for later analyses (including for genres other than rock, since the backbeat drum pattern is ubiquitous across the popular music spectrum),117 but it is important to remember that this is a guiding principle alone, and that backbeats are not always anacrustic. Since the degree of accent on the backbeat is fundamental to promoting a sense of uncertainty that directs attention towards the future, instrumentation, mix placement, and dynamic all affect the sensation of anacrusis: the more accent, the more anacrusis. Equally important is the sense that the backbeat is a continuation of durational projections begun with the bass drum (and other instruments), a sensation that is highly dependent on tempo. Specific examples in later chapters will take the anacrustic interpretation of backbeats as the starting point of analysis, but will also explore the ways that other parameters affect metric sensations. Given that there are numerous variations on the standard backbeat pattern already discussed, it is worth spending some time discussing how more obvious changes in duration can also affect the perception of anacrusis on the backbeat. In Example 2.2b, also from Butterfield, the backbeats have the same durational scope, but their interpretation has changed. Due to the change in bass drum pattern that adds two short eighths before the second snare backbeat, Butterfield writes that the second groove “has a Hasty 1997, 122. Strong 2006 links the backbeat to rock and to a broad category of “R&B grooves,” which for him includes genres such as soul, Motown, and more current AfricanAmerican-oriented popular music. 116 117  53  more discrete profile, with the final quarter note on the snare directed towards the fulfillment of Q', rather than the arrival of a new beginning in the next bar.” As a result, the second backbeat is continuative rather than anacrustic.118 Another variant on the basic rock beat was analyzed in Example 2.3c. In this case, both backbeats are anacrustic to the following half-note duration (as part of the R-R' projection), but there is also a bass drum anacrusis to the third quarter-note duration (part of the Q-Q' projection). These multiple anacruses at different durational levels result in a pattern with more forward drive than in either of Butterfield’s examples. Example 2.6 shows two more variants of the standard rock pattern. In Example 2.6a, the basic bass drum-snare drum alternation has been augmented by three additional bass drum attacks that change the anacrustic quality of the groove. The second bass drum attack links back to the first, and (following Butterfield) results in not only a continuation of the quarter-note Q projection, but also a decrease in the sensation of anacrusis at the half note just following. However, even though the events of the longer R-R' projection suggest continuation, the added bass drum attack in the next half note duration creates a smaller-scope anacrusis to the third quarter that still creates forward drive.  Butterfield 2006, paragraph 40. A short-short-long series of durations often produces closure; Hasty writes that it has a “directedness toward the beginning of the projected phrase...[which] might focus our attention on the projected realization as an end and thus detract from its potential as anacrusis.” Hasty 1997, 225. 118  54  Example 2.6. More rock groove variants.  Q  Q'  R  Q R  R'  Q' R'  The difference between the second and third bass drum attacks in Example 2.6a may not be immediately apparent, but in fact context sets each apart. The second bass drum eighth note is preceded by the first bass drum hit of the pattern, an event that has almost exactly the same timbre and duration as the second bass drum attack. Assuming no other distinguishing features (such as a dynamic accent), it is easy to hear the two durations in a beginning-continuation relationship. In contrast, the third bass drum eighth is preceded by a snare hit, a strikingly different timbre. Employing the polyphonic approach that hears bass and snare as two separate qualitative streams, in essence the bass drum has a rest just prior to its third attack that separates that attack from previous beginnings, instead pushing listener attention forwards to future events, in this case yet another bass drum attack.  55  However, this new bass drum duration has a longer interonset duration (comparing one bass drum attack to the next) than previous bass drum durations. Not only does the attack serve as the beginning of the R' projection, but the longer duration allows for greater separation between the bass drum and following snare drum attack, avoiding the durational cumulation that preceded the first backbeat. As a result I hear the next snare backbeat as anacrusis rather than continuation. This snare backbeat is then nuanced by the final bass drum duration, which again works as an anacrusis to the following quarter note. In Example 2.6b, what may seem insignificant changes to the bass drum have a surprisingly powerful effect. The use of a quarter note for the first bass drum duration suggests that the subsequent snare drum backbeat is anacrustic (the hi-hat’s beginningcontinuation does not overwhelm this interpretation, as discussed in the section on polyphony). The remaining bass drum durations are each heard as anacrustic to successive beginnings at the quarter-note (Q-Q') projection, giving a constant forward push to listener attention at this smaller duration. Additionally, the three final attacks in bass and snare result in a single longer anacrusis that spans almost the entirety of the R' projection, expanding the anacrustic backbeat beyond its usual duration. This grouping of multiple attacks under a bracket as a single anacrusis is common in Hasty’s analytical method; he calls it an anacrustic group.119 The concept is simple: when multiple durations work together to push attention forwards, it makes sense to group them together as anacrusis. In previous analyses with different simultaneous durational projections, durations with their own qualities have also been grouped as a unit with a single longer projective duration. The difference here is that in an anacrustic group, individual metric quality judgments are less likely: I hear these durations almost exclusively as a group, rather than individually and also grouped. Additionally, an anacrustic group often subdivides its relevant durational projection unequally, with the anacrusis a different duration than the beginning that initiates the durational projection. Hasty shows how anacrustic groups can also nest within one another; his Example 9.15d is reproduced as my Example 2.7. The unfolding of the descending scale pushes attention continually forward. Although there is some sense of a resting point on the G 119  Hasty 1997, 127. 56  that results in the shorter anacrustic group leading to the following Q' projection, as the scale continues to the larger goal of C a longer anacrustic group is also heard that points towards the completion of the whole note S projection and the start of a new projection, S'.  Example 2.7. Hasty’s Example 9.15d showing nested anacrustic groups.120  Anacrustic groups are an important concept for the analysis of popular music grooves. Not only are they common in drum patterns as shown in Example 2.6b, but they are also useful in conceptualizing short patterns (or “licks”) in various pitched instruments of the groove. For example, returning to the “Lady Marmalade” groove in Example 1.4, the Hammond organ part features a recurring short pattern. It could be heard as individual notes, but these notes’ function in the groove is clearly as a group, an anacrusis to the following half note duration. Because these anacrustic licks are often improvised, occur in a huge variety of instruments, and are often genre-specific, I will reserve further discussion of specific examples until later chapters. However, the idea of anacrustic groups does raise the possibility of anacruses that lead to beginnings of even greater scope than have yet been discussed. Once again the drum kit provides a basic example of this particular metric phenomenon.  120  Hasty 1997, 126. 57  As previously mentioned, drum fills can add anacrusis to the groove. Example 2.8 is an analysis of one such instance.  Example 2.8. Drum pattern with fill.  Q R  Q' R'  S V U  S'  V' T  T' U'  Assume that this is the first time listening to the pattern, and that there is as yet no expectation the drummer will add a fill. The analysis of the basic drum pattern initially follows that from Example 2.3b. The S-S' whole-note projection becomes more clear as the basic pattern repeats. Listeners with a strong expectation for larger durational units in popular music may hear a larger breve projection, but my analysis proposes a hearing where there is no reason to differentiate the two bars (that is, to hear the second bar as a continuation of the first) since at this point, the drum pattern directs attention towards shorter durations: the alternation of bass and snare that creates the half note projection R-R' and the full drum pattern that repeats every whole note. In this context, the whole note projective durations S and V are undifferentiated; V is not a continuation of S that would result in a longer breve perception because, with my attention focused on smaller durations, I am not open to the possibility of an ongoing larger breve duration at this point. Once the fill sounds, however, several things happen. At the half note projection, I hear a beginning-continuation relationship for the first two tom tom attacks. The second  58  pitch is slightly higher than the first, which could suggest anacrusis for the same reasons snare backbeats are heard as anacrusis. But in this instance, the two tom toms have almost identical timbres, and so I find this similarity overrides any anacrustic sensation. The final two successive eighth-note attacks, however, do group together to create anacrusis, pushing towards the following half note beginning. The fill’s new pattern allows me to differentiate among whole-note measures, resulting in the T-T' projection. This projection will likely continue if the pattern repeats, allowing expectation about metric structure to override the fact that there is no reason to differentiate the first and second whole-note measures that have the exact same drum pattern. More important for the present discussion is that the bar of drum fill is heard as an anacrusis at various projective durations. There is the tom tom eighth-note gesture, an anacrusis to the following half note. There is the use of the fill as a single unity, an anacrusis that leads to the realization of the T projection, a duration of a breve. And finally, there is the sense that the fill works as an anacrusis to the entire four-bar groove unit, represented by the U-U' projection. The analysis of U-U' may seem too large in scope to be relevant. But in actuality the metric process here is no different from that shown in Hasty’s Example 9.12a (see Example 2.5), it just takes place with longer durations. Essentially the U projection is subdivided into a beginning three whole notes long and an anacrusis one whole note long. The meter here is merely an augmented version of Hasty’s example; the sense of anacrustic detachment from the previous beginning, and of anacrustic thrust towards the following beginning, is exactly the same. The only difference is a scope of four whole notes rather than one. By judging the fill as an important part of the four-whole-note projection, I am asserting that fills are not merely phrase markers or signals of grouping structure. Instead, they are a fundamentally metric phenomenon, not just in terms of their individual durations, but in terms of their critical role in larger projective processes. This larger role of drum fills, as anacruses that lead back to the groove’s own beginning, recalls the groove theory of Tim Hughes. Hughes coins the term autotelic groove to describe a particular type  59  of groove that leads back to its own beginning.121 This may be achieved through the use of a particular short gesture, such as a drum fill, but it can also occur through other processes. Hughes explains that this “recursive mechanism...can be rhythmic, harmonic, melodic, timbral, or any other sort of mechanism—as long as it leads us to anticipate the beginning of the groove.”122 Example 2.9 is based on Example 1 from Hughes’ dissertation, and shows the “primary groove” (using Hughes’ terminology) of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” Hughes explains that “this is a simplified transcription that merely stands for the most basic way to play the groove, which varies very slightly throughout the song.”123 I think Hughes’ transcription is mostly correct; however, I do hear one chord differently, so I have changed it and marked it with (*) in the transcription, which also includes my own metric analysis.  Hughes 2008, 242. Hughes 2003, 15. 123 Hughes 2003, 28. I will not always follow Hughes’ practice of generalizing grooves to such a degree, but his example is sufficient for my present purpose. 121 122  60  Example 2.9. Stevie Wonder, “Living for the City,” metric analysis of electric piano groove.124  Q R  Q' R'  S (S realized on repeat of groove)  The groove begins with steady quarter-note durations in both hands that clearly establish the Q-Q' duration for projection. Hughes describes how the left hand’s regular F# quarter notes provide a pulse against which the right hand moves out of and back into phase, a rhythmic feature matched by a pitch motion away from and back towards an F# major chord in both hands.125 My analysis shows how the shifting of the right hand’s durations affects our metric perception. The interpretation of the right hand’s A major triad as syncopated (using the symbol anacrusis-becoming-beginning) will be described in more detail in the next section, but for now it is enough to note that the syncopation creates a sense of anticipation and anacrusis just before the groove’s midpoint. Hughes points out that although the two hands are back in metric phase by the end of the groove, the motion back to pitch consonance is not completed until the groove’s repetition. This delay is the groove’s “recursive mechanism,” what makes it an  Transcription based on Example 1 from Hughes 2003, 29. Hughes’ harmonic information is eliminated for the sake of clarity. Stevie Wonder, “Living for the City,” composed and produced by Stevie Wonder (Innervisions: Motown 157355, 1973). 125 Hughes 2003, 30. The effect of tonality on judgments of metric quality will be discussed in more detail in a later section. 124  61  autotelic groove.126 Considering the groove as a whole, as it is presented in the example on the page, this makes sense, since we can consider the pitch motion in its entirety. But incorporating such intuitions into a processual metric analysis of the groove is more complex. Considering first the R-R' projections, the first bar suggests beginningcontinuation, while the second bar is more likely beginning-anacrusis. The difference is not one of duration, but of pitch: the G# minor triads in the right hand of the second bar are dissonant, creating future-directed attention towards a resolution with the return to the start of the groove. (The effect of dissonance on metric analysis will be described in more detail in a later section.) The repeated chords can also be heard as anacrustic at the larger S-S' breve projection, pushing attention forwards in anticipation that the entire groove will repeat. This is reinforced by the arch-shaped contour that Hughes notices. The first bar establishes a beginning as it opens up the arch contour, with its peak providing a midpoint to the process, and its subsequent descent leading back to the beginning of the following breve duration. Although it is more difficult to pinpoint the timing of this process, it certainly reinforces the gesture in the repeated G# minor triads that are more obviously tied to a particular duration. Autotelic gestures often extend the scope of anacrusis even further than do other sorts of anacrustic gestures, since they can encompass the entire groove. Situations can also arise where anacrustic gestures articulate different durational scopes for the groove. For example, in “Lady Marmalade” from Example 1.4, if one takes the groove as two bars long, the Hammond organ suggests anacrusis to each breve duration and so serves as an autotelic gesture. But in the fourth bar of the example, the piano’s anacrustic gesture suggests a forward push in listener attention to a new beginning four whole notes long, rather than two. Thus there are two autotelic gestures, each of different scope. Using my methodology clarifies Hughes’ conceptualization of autotelicism in the groove, tying it to specific gestures of a specific duration. The preceding consideration of anacrusis has clarified the importance of this phenomenon in metric analysis generally. First and most importantly, anacrusis is specifically metric, and not merely a grouping phenomenon. However, its metric nature 126  Hughes 2003, 32. 62  does not tie it exclusively to duration: musical parameters such as pitch and timbre, as well as the interaction among instruments in a polyphonic texture, all impact the perception of anacrusis. Different anacruses have different scopes, occurring in durational projections of different sizes, and can also link multiple durations into a single anacrustic group or autotelic gesture. The scope of anacrusis impacts greatly on its effect: will a listener or dancer anticipate a subsequent quarter note hit on the hi-hat, or a complete change in formal section? The following chapters will explore situations of anacrustic scope in durations ranging from short to long, considering not only the presence of anacrusis but its metric effect. With specific reference to the groove in popular music, anacrusis is involved in multiple ways. It can occur as part of repeated patterns within the groove itself (such as that played by the drum kit), creating a steady source of forward motion and energy for listeners and dancers. Improvised gestures such as drum fills or other instrumental licks can heighten anticipation further, enhancing specific subsequent beginnings. It can be a single duration, or an anacrustic group that encompasses a longer time span, drawing listener attention to different durations unfolding in time or at different times. Depending on its usage, anacrusis creates forward drive in the groove generally, or at a specific moment in the song (for example, between vocal phrases), working at structural levels large and small. Finally, anacrusis is involved in the most fundamental feature of the groove itself: its continual, cyclic repetition, an autotelic process that loops the groove back to its own beginning, encouraging the listener to expect the groove’s repetition, and even to find pleasure in such repetition. The importance of anacrusis in the groove both in repeated patterns and at particular moments makes it fundamental for a metric understanding of the groove itself.  Syncopation Syncopation has already appeared in the popular music grooves previously discussed. In “Lady Marmalade” (Example 1.4), the electric piano part uses syncopation at the end of the first bar, and the bass guitar plays syncopated durations in the middle of each bar. The vocal line, too, is constantly syncopated in relation to the projections of the  63  rest of the groove. In “Living for the City” (Example 2.9), the electric piano right hand is sometimes syncopated against the left hand. These are not exceptional examples. Syncopation is common in many different components of the popular music groove, including specific riffs played by bass, keyboards, and lead guitar; strumming patterns of rhythm guitar; and accented backbeats and fills in the drum kit. Even the relationship between groove and lead vocalist often results in syncopation, as “Lady Marmalade” demonstrated. Matthew Butterfield’s statement about the fundamental role of anacrusis in creating forward drive in the groove should really be expanded to include syncopation, an equally important metric phenomenon in this repertoire. Syncopation is traditionally described within a non-processual metric framework. David Huron and Ann Ommen have discussed the phenomenon in the greatest detail, dividing the sensation of syncopation into three parts: a pre-lacuna (“a note onset that occurs in a relatively weak metric position and that is not followed by an ensuing note onset in a following stronger metric position”), a lacuna (“a relatively strong metric position that does not coincide with a note onset and that is preceded by a note onset in a weaker metric position”) and a post-lacuna (“the first note onset occurring after a lacuna”).127 Huron and Ommen acknowledge that their definition is based in Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s hierarchical, grid-based interpretation of meter. This is apparent in their use of terms such as “strong” and “weak,” and their reference to metric “positions.” While there is nothing inherently wrong with such a view, it is different from the processual approach to meter that I will employ. Before exploring typical uses of syncopation in groove-based popular music, syncopation itself must be explained within the meter-asprocess approach. Hasty does not examine syncopation closely, but does write that “syncopation is something felt, and the feeling of syncopation could be called a feeling of the suspension or denial of a promised (and awaited) beginning and thus a prolongation or extension of  David Huron and Ann Ommen, “An Empirical Study of Syncopation in American Popular Music, 1890-1939,” Music Theory Spectrum 28/2 (Fall 2006), 211-231. 127  64  continuation.”128 Further, he states that syncopation may be heard as a sound coming “too late” or “too soon” as we compare the sound to the constant interplay of projected potential and actuality.129 Example 2.10 explores a processual understanding of syncopation with two basic syncopated rhythms, along with their associated projections.  Example 2.10. Syncopation in a projective context.  Q R  Q' R'  S  *  T  T'  U  U'  S'  * Q  Q'  T  R S  R'  T'  U  U'  S'  In Example 2.10a, the initial quarter notes realize Q and combine to suggest a larger duration R that is realized with the onset of the third event. Assuming a moderate tempo for the example, an expectation also exists that an even longer duration is still unfolding and has the potential to be realized as S. The longer-than-expected duration of the third note results in a suspension of the quarter note projections begun with Q-Q', and a sense of separation between this and 128 129  Hasty 1997, 120. Hasty 1997, 150. 65  subsequent onsets. As a result, the following event is heard as anacrusis, pointing forwards towards an expected beginning an eighth-note later that would realize both the R' projection and the longer S projective potential that is still ongoing.130 However, the expected beginning is not heard. Instead, the anacrustic duration continues to accumulate past the point of expected attack. Do listeners revise their projective interpretations to accommodate this new duration as a realization of a projection a dotted quarter note long? I think not, for two reasons. First, though this duration does not realize the existing durational projections, resetting the metric interpretation because of a single duration is highly unlikely.131 Second, the music subsequent to this duration carries on as if there were a sounding duration at the start of the second bar, with a series of quarter notes that suggest projections T-T' and U-U', similar durations to Q-Q' and R-R'. A listener is more likely to make a decision to hear the realization of R-R' and of the durational potential S at the notated bar’s beginning than to recast the entire projective field to accommodate the anomalous duration, even though there is no explicit beginning in the music.132 Thus it is simplest to understand the anacrustic duration as a syncopation filling in for the expected duration that would begin T and U, and realize R' and S. Matthew Butterfield calls this effect a “virtual articulation,”133 referring to the fact that the beginning is not actually articulated by a new sound. (Of course, in many popular music textures, the beginning will in fact be articulated by a new attack in some other instrument, explicitly realizing the duration S and clarifying the anacrusis to the beginning of the realization of its projection S'.) R' does not necessarily require a new event for its realization, assuming that subsequent events continue to demonstrate its relevance in an interpretation of the texture. 131 Even Andrew Imbrie’s “radical” listener would be unlikely to do so (Imbrie theorizes a difference between a “conservative” listener who keeps her or his metric interpretation through periods of conflict until there is no possible way to hear new music using the old interpretation; and a “radical” listener who changes her or his metric interpretation at the first opportunity). Andrew Imbrie, “Extra Measures and Metrical Ambiguity in Beethoven,” Beethoven Studies 1, ed. Alan Tyson (New York: W.W. Norton, 1974), 45-66. 132 Of course, the duration in question is the same length as the previous dotted quarter, and a situation could be imagined where we would change our projective interpretations. If the rhythm continued in dotted quarters, the initial two quarter notes would be reinterpreted as anacrusis towards a beginning on the first dotted quarter, and projections would then proceed forwards from that duration. 133 Butterfield 2006, paragraph 25. 130  66  Example 2.10b shows another typical instance of syncopation in groove-based popular music. Here, the pattern begins similarly to Example 2.10a, with similar rationale for the various durational projections. However, in this case the third duration of the rhythm is the same length as the first two, and a fourth event continues the R' projection, removing the anacrustic separation of Example 2.10a. Hearing the subsequent syncopated duration as anacrusis-becoming-beginning may appear strange; it might appear more logical for the duration to be interpreted as a continuation-becomingbeginning, since it continues the projective duration begun with the previous eighth note. In this case, anacrustic separation is created by the fact of syncopation itself. When I hear the onset of the last duration of bar 1 as an anacrusis, I have particular expectations about how future music will realize that anacrustic potential. The virtual beginning of the R' projection in bar 2, and the events that follow, clarify or realize the potential of that now-past event to point attention forwards towards the beginning’s expected location. At the tempo of most musical examples, the process of understanding a duration as syncopated happens so fast that any sense of reinterpretation or comparisons of present, past and future expectations, is practically irrelevant. In the groove the interpretation of syncopation generated by a virtual articulation of an expected beginning is further influenced by the context of its occurrence. Many musicians will place a slight dynamic accent at the start of the syncopated duration, which helps further separate the duration from previous events, strengthening the anacrustic separation that sets up the process of anacrusis-becoming-beginning. And as mentioned previously, the polyphonic nature of the groove means that often there are other instruments with durational onsets that occur at the expected beginning, making the syncopation’s alignment with that beginning even more clear. Butterfield acknowledges that his conceptualization of syncopation as a “virtual articulation” of an expected beginning derives in part from the work of David Temperley, who in The Cognition of Basic Musical Structures expands Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s preference rule system to study not just meter, but also phrase structure, counterpoint, pitch, harmony, and key.134 In a section on rock music, Temperley defines the “syncopation shift rule” to describe how listeners normalize syncopated gestures (particularly those 134  Temperley 2001, 237-264. 67  between melody and accompaniment) by shifting them “forward by one beat at a low metrical level.”135 However, as with Huron and Ommen’s definition of syncopation that began this section, Temperley’s approach to syncopation is derived from Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s nonprocessual view of meter. The analytical differences that result are summarized in Example 2.11, which contrasts Temperley’s analysis of syncopation in the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” with my own processual analysis.  Example 2.11. Analysis of syncopation in the Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun.”136 a) Temperley’s transcription of the melody and analysis137  Temperley 2001, 243. The Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun,” composed by George Harrison, produced by George Martin (Abbey Road: Capitol 82468, 1969). 137 Temperley 2001, 245. 135 136  68  Example 2.11 continued. b) A processive analysis, following Hasty.  A: B:  A: B:  U  W W'  U'  V  T  Q Q' R S  V'  T'  R'  S'  One difference that is immediately obvious is the contrast in transcription styles. Temperley transcribes only the melody of the excerpt, since in his understanding of meter “the metrical structure corresponding to the notated meter is clearly implied by the accompaniment” and so does not need to appear in the example.138 In my transcription, all instruments are included. One reason for this change is that, as previously described, I  138  Temperley 2001, 240. 69  take the groove to be a polyphonic construction; to leave out the various streams of the groove is to leave out a fundamental aspect of the groove itself. Secondly, the contrast has to do with our differing conceptualizations of meter. In Temperley’s system, a regular, repeating grid of beats at various durational levels is necessary in order to hear syncopation. This grid is unchanging; it is “the” meter for the song. In contrast, in the processual and particular approach to meter I am using, I hear every moment as uniquely contributing to an evolving understanding of meter, one based in ongoing projections of various durations either becoming, past, or anticipated in the future. But if the groove is polyphonic and all streams have metric interpretations that are equally important, how can one stream be said to be syncopated against others, suggesting a diminished importance in the metric interpretation? Recall that different streams are prioritized by listeners, depending on instrumental role, timbre, volume, placement in the mix, and other factors. The drums are frequently prioritized metrically, because of their role as timekeeper, and because their patterns are among the most consistent among projective durations as the groove unfolds and repeats. In “Here Comes the Sun,” Ringo Starr’s drum pattern is very consistent. Hi-hat and bass drum realize the Q-Q' projection, with anacruses as marked. The alternation between bass and snare drums realizes the R-R' projection with beginning-anacrusis. And the repetition of the entire pattern establishes a subdivision of beginning and continuation to realize and project S-S'. Perhaps Temperley uses this consistent drum beat to assert a single meter for the accompaniment. However, I hear the other instruments of the groove as also affecting the meter, in different ways at different moments. The strings, for example, play a part that suggests longer breve projections, labeled as T-T'. Paul McCartney’s bass guitar reinforces the S-S' whole note projections suggested by the drums, but instead of dividing the duration into beginning and continuation, the rhythm suggests beginning-anacrusis. The bass part also creates anacrusis in a different way. In the first bar, a long first duration separates the anacrustic duration from the previous beginning, and a rest following creates uncertainty and a sense of looking forward to the next beginning. In the second bar, a similar rhythm is employed, but with an extra eighth-note attack that adds  70  anacrusis to the quarter-note projection. The anacrusis to the following whole note is clear from the durational pattern alone, but is further strengthened with the pitch slide from A to D, a clear sense of leading attention forwards. The third bar has an anacrustic group that will be discussed in more detail shortly, and the fourth bar uses duration once more to create anacrusis. These changes suggest a clear difference in the meter from bar to bar, in contrast to Temperley’s complete metric consistency. Just as the groove’s meter is more complex than Temperley indicates, so too is the relationship between Harrison’s lead vocal and the groove. I hear two possible interpretations for the metric qualities of longer durations in the vocal line, marked with (A) and (B) above the staff in Example 2.11b. Interpretation A hears the vocal line as relatively distinct from the groove, and so the opening “Little darling” begins its own half note projection U-U' that is distinct from the projections happening in the same bar in the drums. “Little darling” matches the durations of the Q-Q' projections in the drums, but suggests beginning-continuation rather than beginning-anacrusis. Subsequently, the rhythm for “it’s been a long cold lonely winter” suggests a change in the projective field, as each new duration articulates a quarter note projection (larger half-note beginningcontinuation judgments are possible as well, but I have left them off the analysis for the sake of clarity). Hearing this interpretation may be difficult, but I think it is plausible for listeners who focus on lyrics and melody (the beginning in the vocal line is the start of a phrase), and because Harrison’s delivery of the “da-“ of “darling” adds no particular accentual weight that would correspond to the beginning heard in other instruments. That said, interpretation B rejects this possibility, and instead hears the lead vocal as incorporated with the projections of the groove. The U-U' and W-W' projections would not exist, and the melody of the first bar is heard as beginning-anacrusis-beginning-continuation. The subsequent three bars of music encompass the time span of Temperley’s syncopation shift. In his conceptualization of the meter, each attack for the phrase “It’s been a long cold lonely winter” is shifted forwards in the deep surface representation, resulting in the normalized version shown on the staff below his transcription. In interpretation B of my analysis, each durational onset in the melody at this point is a virtual realization of a particular projective duration a quarter note in length. Each  71  anacrusis-becoming-beginning creates a forward push in attention towards the realization of that projective potential and its subsequent projection, creating a series of forwarddriving durations that contrast with interpretation A’s series of beginnings. The long series of syncopations in the vocal line from bars 2 to 4 is a common gesture in popular music. A similar situation is found in the bass drum of the rock drum beat shown in Example 2.6b, where after its first duration it strikes on a series of offbeat eighth notes, resulting in a succession of anacruses. With no subsequent beginning articulated, these anacruses are not far removed from the anacruses-becoming-beginnings of “Here Comes the Sun.” In both cases, I believe the result of a succession of syncopated attacks is an overall sensation of forward motion. In the drum pattern of Example 2.6b, if the pattern repeats it might be possible to hear a whole note projection, divided into a quarter-note beginning and a dotted quarter-note anacrusis. In “Here Comes the Sun,” the interpretation of the vocal line’s chain of syncopations again depends on how a listener hears the stream in relation to the groove. If I focus on the phrase structure of the text and melody, anticipating the completion of the thought rather than focusing on the groove, I hear a long anacrusis pushing towards the next “Little darling” statement, setting up a projection four whole notes long. If, on the other hand, I focus on the harmonic progression in the groove that has a chord change in the middle of the vocal syncopation chain, I tend to divide the phrase as shown in interpretation B, hearing an initial anacrustic push towards a new breve beginning on the second half of “long,” continued with the end of the vocal phrase (“winter”). Regardless of the specific interpretation, the overall alternation in the melody between durational projections that are directly realized, and durational projections that are virtually realized, gives an added intensity to the phrase “little darling,” reinforcing a textural emphasis (additional background vocals) that highlights those lyrics as a mode of address, a gentle request for attention. By using Hasty’s analytical method it is possible to describe the passage as moving from a subtle conflict between melody and groove, to an extended feeling of anticipation and energy that finally pushes towards a new call for attention, rather than adopting Temperley’s hearing of the melody as a simple syncopated rhythm normalized to a static deep structure.  72  This difference, between a theory that describes the mechanics of syncopation and a theory that describes how it feels, is critical. Most metric theorists stop at the point of identification of syncopation without considering how it shapes our musical experience.139 The processual conceptualization of syncopation is thus unique in that it not only describes syncopation, but also describes its effects. Merely by using the symbol anacrusisbecoming-beginning, Hasty’s analytical model and its development by Butterfield suggests certain feelings that arise because of syncopation: of listener anticipation, and of reinterpretation when original expectations are not met. “Here Comes the Sun” also contains examples of another possible type of syncopation, ubiquitous in popular music, that merits further discussion. In the third bar, the bass line has two durations marked as an anacrustic group, reflecting the anacrustic quality of the bass drum attacks with which they are coordinated. Similarly, in the fourth bar, the strings have a series of durations interpreted as an anacrusis. Both of these are also examples of what Mark Butler calls diatonic rhythms. These rhythms are one of three categories defined by Butler. Even rhythms are time spans that “reinforce the pure-duple quality of EDM [electronic dance music] spans by dividing them equally.”140 Syncopated rhythms feature “phenomenal accentuation in metrically weak locations.”141 Diatonic rhythms, Butler’s third category, divide time-spans in a way that is asymmetric, but still maximally even, such as a rhythm of dotted quarter+dotted quarter+quarter, or 3+3+2 eighths. Butler’s justification for taking a group of rhythms that might normally be called syncopated and giving them a new name is that these rhythms, in contrast to syncopated  One exception is Harald Krebs, who in Fantasy Pieces mentions the expressive uses of syncopation (and metrical dissonance more generally), stating that “metrical conflict almost invariably results in an increase in tension within the music... Metrical realignment, on the other hand, creates a sense of relaxation, of security, of homecoming.” Krebs 1999, 184. 140 Butler draws upon Richard Cohn’s concept of pure duple meter, as explained in Cohn’s “The Dramatization of Hypermetric Conflicts in the Scherzo of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” 19th Century Music 15/3 (Spring 1992), 188-206; and his “Metric and Hypermetric Dissonance in the Menuetto of Mozart’s Symphony in G Minor, K.550,” Intégral 6 (1992), 1-33. 141 Butler 2006, 81-82. 139  73  rhythms, “are not heard as subordinate to an underlying metrical structure.”142 This is because popular music is not merely influenced by common-practice Western art music, but by African and Caribbean musical genres as well, where these types of rhythm are heard as completely normative, rather than some distortion of an underlying regular metric structure.143 If diatonic rhythms are not syncopated, how should they be understood? Butler uses Hasty’s theory to clarify the analysis of a general 3+3+2 rhythm, reproduced below as Example 2.12.  Example 2.12. Butler’s Example 2.10, an interpretation of 3+3+2 following Hasty.144  Butler 2006, 89. Jay Rahn (the primary source in Butler’s theories on diatonic rhythms) describes how diatonic rhythms are related to standard time-line patterns in various African traditions; see “Turning the Analysis Around: Africa-Derived Rhythms and Europe-Derived Music Theory,” Black Music Research Journal 16/1 (Spring 1996), 71-89. Several scholars have explored interpretations of such rhythms within African traditions; Kofi Agawu summarizes and extends the debate in “Structural Analysis or Cultural Analysis? Competing Perspectives on the ‘Standard Pattern’ of West African Rhythm,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 59/1 (Spring 2006), 1-46. 144 Butler 2006, 105. 142 143  74  In Example 2.12a, Butler posits that the 3+3+2 rhythm might be understood as a recomposition of triple meter, with the third attack a deferral or extension of continuation until the subsequent duration. This follows Hasty’s own description of triple meter, where in a bar with three equal durations, the third duration “defers the completion of a projection,” and thus serves as “an extension of continuation” begun with the second duration.145 Example 2.12b gives an analysis of the diatonic rhythm itself, showing how the pattern appears to conform with the triple meter of Example 2.12a, until the shorter length of the third duration gives a sense of an “interruption” and a denial of the R' projection.146 It denies the deferral as well, as shown with the X crossing out the deferral line, since the third duration does not reproduce the second duration and so cannot be considered as a deferral of its continuative properties. Example 2.13 considers some diatonic rhythms taken from actual music, showing two rhythms that use all the possible rotations of the 3+3+2 pattern. The examples are all melodic gestures known as hooks (“a musical or lyrical phrase that stands out and is easily remembered”147), gestures that Don Traut notes often incorporate diatonic rhythms.148 In these examples, all hooks are found at the beginning of their respective songs.  Hasty 1997, 134. Butler 2006, 103. 147 Gary Burns, “A typology of ‘hooks’ in popular records,” Popular Music 6/1 (January 1987), 1. 148 Don Traut, “ ‘Simply Irresistible’: recurring accent patterns as hooks in mainstream 1980s music,” Popular Music 24/1 (2005), 57-77. 145 146  75  Example 2.13. Diatonic rhythms in Bryan Adams.149 a) Bryan Adams, “Run To You” (3+3+2) X  X  T'  T  Q  Q' R  S  R' S'  b) Bryan Adams, “Run To You” (2+3+3)  Q  T  Q' R  S  T'  R' S'  c) Bryan Adams, “Heaven” (3+2+3)  Q S  Q' R  T R'  ?  T'  S'  Examples 2.13a and 2.13b show two different interpretations of the opening guitar riff for “Run To You,” one that hears a 3+3+2 pattern using the opening low Traut 2005 includes all of my examples in an extensive catalog of 1980s rhythmic hooks. See his Table 1, 63-66. Bryan Adams, “Heaven,” composed by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, produced by Bob Clearmountain and Bryan Adams (Reckless: A&M 3950132, 1984); Bryan Adams, “Run to You,” composed by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, produced by Bob Clearmountain and Bryan Adams (Reckless: A&M 3950132, 1984). 149  76  notes of the guitar as the start of the predominant melodic line (F#–F#–ghosted F#–A– B–D), and another that hears the first duration in the guitar as accented, but then shifts to an attention on the uppermost pitches, due to accents of register and contour, resulting in a 2+3+3 orientation.150 First considering the 3+3+2 version, Butler’s “almost triple” meter emerges quite readily. The first F# establishes a clear beginning for projective duration Q, and the second realizes this duration and creates the potential for its replication (Q'). The ghosted F# realizes projection R and creates the potential for R', along with the possibility of a deferral of continuation. But this possibility is not realized; instead the pattern snaps back to its repetition only two eighths later. This denies R'; it might also create the projection T-T' (although given the tempo, and its subsequent denial, this may not be heard at all). The shorter duration creates a sense of interruption, of an expected triple duration cut short. This sensation makes projection S particularly salient: there is a strong sense of resetting with each bar, a snapping back that focuses listener attention on the larger projection. Conceiving of the 3+3+2 pattern as “almost triple” might appear to run counter to Butler’s assertion that diatonic rhythms are not normalized to an underlying pattern: instead of being normalized to a duple meter, the diatonic rhythm appears to be normalized to triple meter. However, this is not quite accurate. First, each diatonic rhythm is evaluated on its own merits, following an emphasis on processual meter and metrical particularity. Additionally, the 3+3+2 diatonic rhythm is not some distortion of triple meter that is normalized to triple at a deeper level. Instead it is merely compared to triple meter, but with the result that the diatonic rhythm is heard as more dynamic, with more forward energy than triple meter because of its unequal pattern. The denial of triple meter suggests a reinterpretation of the final duration, from a deferral to an anacrusis. Example 2.13b shows the same hook but heard in a 2+3+3 orientation, where accents are heard on the opening F#, the two high Es that follow, and the A-E-E pattern of the second bar. The initial duration created between the accented F# and E is not The latter is where Traut catalogs the riff; however, I find that my ear gravitates towards the first hearing. For the sake of exploring diatonic rhythms I am interpreting this pattern in isolation from its context, where steady rim shots on snare drum condition metric interpretations differently. 150  77  repeated, confusing expectations and denying projection Q'. Instead, a new projective duration, R, begins, which is realized with the subsequent high E and projected forward. A duration of the same length (T) is realized with the arrival on the A at the start of the second bar. However, its projected potential (T') is denied with the articulation of the next high E. This continual confusion in the projective field makes it difficult to hear an “almost triple” sensation through the projection S-S'. I initially hear a possible duple division, with a strong beginning at the start of the pattern and then a continuation with the first high E. But as I lose this sense of duple projections, I lose patience with asserting projections at these shorter durations since they are continually denied, and merely await something to confirm a longer S duration. When this comes at the start of the second bar, I understand the pattern as some sort of irregular durational pattern a whole note long. Although I certainly anticipate the repetition of the pattern as a way to solidify at least one regular durational projection, there is not the energetic, forward-looking sense of snapping back to the start of the pattern that is heard in the 3+3+2 rotation of Example 2.13a.151 Example 2.13c presents a case of the third possible rotation of this diatonic rhythm, 3+2+3, in the opening hook for the song “Heaven.” In this case, an “almost triple” context is easier to maintain than in the 2+3+3 rotation. The arrival of the second duration realizes Q and projects Q'. The interruption of the second duration with the third denies Q', but the music returns to this longer duration, realized as projection T and projected as T'. As in Example 2.13a, the possibility of hearing a new durational projection (R-R') with the second duration is indicated, though the propensity of listeners to hear this projection is doubtful. Due to its configuration of durations, the hook in “Heaven” establishes a particular measured duration (dotted quarter note), departs from it (quarter note), and then returns to it (dotted quarter, now with the potential for triple meter). In contrast, in the 2+3+3 orientation, the hook establishes one measured duration (a quarter note and Perhaps this is part of the reason why I am personally inclined to hear the pattern as 3+3+2 rather than Traut’s classification of the pattern as 2+3+3: because it makes projection easier, and the hook more dynamic and driving. 151  78  the potential for duple meter), abandons it for another (dotted quarters and the potential for triple meter), and then returns to the first potential. For this reason the 3+2+3 orientation makes it easier to create projections than does the 2+3+3 orientation. But at the same time, the 3+2+3 orientation does not have the same feeling of interruption, snapping back, or anacrusis at the end of the pattern as does the 3+3+2 orientation, since the shortened duration occurs in the middle of the pattern. This difference is made obvious when, at the end of the “Heaven” hook, the synthesizer changes its rhythm to the 3+3+2 orientation, creating a stronger sense of forward drive and an autotelic gesture that brings the entire hook around to its own beginning. This discussion has clarified how the three rotations of the 3+3+2 diatonic rhythm might be heard in a projective context. In practice, the “almost triple” 3+3+2 rotation heard in the first interpretation of “Run to You” in Example 2.13a is by far the most common of the three in the repertoire I will be considering. But all three options together make a bold assertion: that the interpretation of diatonic rhythms as syncopated, even as virtual realizations of duple projections, misses something crucial. In the groove-based popular music that is my focus, syncopation is often used for single events, such as in the lead vocal and bass of “Lady Marmalade,” while diatonic rhythms by their very nature group multiple durations together. Although both tend to encourage a sense of forward drive and anacrusis among groove listeners, the larger grouping of most diatonic rhythms into an almost-triple orientation means that the scope of the anacrusis they create is longer in duration, as the shorter duration disrupts existing projections and creates anticipation for a resolution of uncertainty. A syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning will often only create anacrusis to the following quarter note beginning, while a diatonic rhythm may suggest anacrusis to a whole note or even longer durations (as was the case in “Heaven,” Example 2.13c). Syncopated and diatonic rhythms also assert different things about the relationship of a particular part to the whole groove context. Syncopation suggests that the part with the syncopation still conforms in some way to the projective field suggested by the whole (or by its own part previously). For a particular moment the part has merely shifted slightly. Diatonic rhythms, on the other hand, suggest that the part does not conform; rather, it has a different projective field that is distinct from that suggested by  79  other parts of the groove, and that is perceived in contradiction to the projections articulated by other instruments. Since syncopation and diatonic rhythms are clearly worthy of separation in analysis, the question then becomes how to determine when to hear a particular series of durations as diatonic, and when to hear it as syncopated. For example, in the hook from “Heaven” (Example 2.13c), one could hear the opening bar as conforming to a duple meter, with the first duration articulating a beginning, followed by two durations that virtually realize projections with anacrusis-becoming-beginning durations. Context is critical for making this decision. In the case of “Heaven,” the hook happens at the beginning of the song, and so listener expectations about duple meter have not yet been met. Although a listener may have genre expectations that this song will be “in 4/4,” these sort of expectations are less important in my analytical method that prioritizes metrical particularity and process. The instruments accompanying the synthesizer at this moment are merely holding notes at whole-note durations or longer, suggesting that the synthesizer is the instrument that sets our projective expectations for smaller durations. At that point the judgment boils down to which interpretation is easier to hear. A single duration actually realized, followed by two durations that are only virtual realizations of projected potential? Or an “almost triple” hearing where two of the three durations are in fact realized, and where one is only a split-second too short? Because of the lack of context suggesting otherwise, I tend towards the latter interpretation. Other examples present other options. In “Here Comes the Sun,” I can hear the string part in the fourth bar of my example as syncopated if I focus on the individual durations. At this moderate tempo and given the duple projections articulated by other instruments in the groove, I hear a virtual realization of projected potential. However, my designation of the whole pattern as anacrustic derives in part from a hearing of the rhythm as diatonic, creating a longer anacrustic group that realizes T-T'.152 With a syncopated interpretation alone, the anacrustic push comes only within the anacrusisbecoming-beginning syncopation; at the whole note, the pattern should be heard as  Harmony also helps with forward drive here, a feature of grooves I will discuss in the next section. 152  80  beginning-continuation. But because I can hear the rhythm as diatonic, and because that diatonic rhythm comes after a long period of fairly static durations in the string part, I group the three durations as an anacrusis pushing towards the following whole note. Like many other metric decisions in the groove, the decision for syncopation or diatonic rhythm is also related to the issue of polyphony. Depending on the number of instruments playing, their own particular metric information, and the number of parts articulating similar projections, a part might be heard as syncopated against other parts, as joining other parts with a diatonic rhythm, or as a diatonic rhythm heard against other parts (the option of hearing a duple syncopation against a prevailing diatonic rhythm does not occur in my chosen repertoire, as far as I am aware). And as always, the larger context is important: what has happened in the groove before the moment in question; at what moment of the song the gesture occurs (beginning, middle, end); how much metric context has been established; and so on. As I clarified in my discussion of polyphony, I think it is possible to hear multiple interpretations, to hear one part articulating a diatonic rhythm while others articulate pure duple. Equally, I believe that a series of durations may be heard as both syncopated and diatonic, depending on what one prioritizes in a particular hearing. In “Heaven,” I can hear the rhythm as diatonic, because it happens at the beginning of the song, and because the series of three almost-equal durations is enough to suggest a feeling of dividing the bar evenly into three. However, if I maintain strong genre expectations for duple meter, or if I hear the riff later in the song having heard the synthesizer accompaniment for the verse that plays steady eighth notes, I might choose to hear the hook as syncopated against a duple projective field. Both of these analyses describe aspects of my listening experience, either as the song unfolds in a single hearing, or on multiple hearings of the same song. In the end, it is impossible to assume that a rhythm will be heard as diatonic merely because it is possible to group its durations into a diatonic pattern. It is similarly impossible to assume the same for syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning durations. Each example must be carefully considered, alone and in context, before making analytical judgments.  81  This section has described some of the many ways syncopation and diatonic rhythms contribute to the projections in a groove. These include single instances of syncopated durations that form part of repeated riffs, the use of syncopation and diatonic rhythms in hooks, and the contrast between the groove and the lead vocal. The principles developed when describing these instances apply equally well to the many other instances that have not been discussed, such as syncopation in the harmonic rhythm (for example, a harmonic rhythm with the first chord a dotted quarter duration and the second chord the duration of an eighth note tied to a half note, rather than two harmonies each a half note long) and the strong accents placed on drum backbeats, which as Butler has pointed out are syncopated under classic definitions.153 The advantage to using Hasty’s conceptualization of meter for all of these examples is that each case is taken on its own metric merits. This allows, for instance, the interpretation of technically syncopated drum backbeats as anacrusis rather than anacrusis-becoming-beginning, reflecting their normative status in the genre in question. It also allows for other instances of syncopation, such as irregular harmonic rhythms or riffs with anticipations, to be heard and felt as anacrusis-becoming-beginning rather than as patterns that are normalized to duple representations. It includes situations where diatonic rhythms are used, accounting for the sensations of “almost triple” and forward drive that result when such rhythms are heard in the context of a largely duple ensemble. And it describes the metric effect of melodies that are syncopated against a groove. In every case, each duration is accepted for what it is, in contrast to grid-based interpretations of meter that have an implicit devaluing of syncopation and sometimes a sense that syncopated rhythms are abnormal in comparison to their unsyncopated counterparts. In the highly syncopated realm of popular music, hearing syncopation as something that is special but that does not require conformity to an underlying duple framework in order to be understood is fundamental to the metric interpretation of this repertoire. This theory also takes a critical step beyond the classification of rhythms to focus on the feel of syncopation. As already described in sections on polyphony and anacrusis,  In a standard interpretation of 4/4 meter, strong accents should fall on beats 1 and 3, not beats 2 and 4 as happens in the backbeat pattern. Butler 2006, 87 (note 9). 153  82  how I judge the effect of a particular rhythm depends somewhat on abstract norms. But local context is critical: what is happening in the music at a particular moment (what rhythms are playing, in what parts); what has happened in the music in the past; and what is expected to happen in the future. Although an understanding of genre and stylistic norms certainly feeds into listener expectations (as will be explored further in later chapters that discuss specific popular music genres), by describing syncopation in processual terms it is heard moment to moment, and felt from one duration to the next as a forward push to our attentional focus, or a snapping back of our attention to the start of another larger cycle. As with anacrusis, considering the scope of particular syncopated or diatonic rhythms not only identifies another source of energy and drive in the groove, but impacts how dancers will react to them as well. Meter and Pitch I have already shown how musical features such as timbre, dynamics, and polyphonic arrangements can affect meter in the groove. The role of harmony and pitch in metrical interpretation has come up briefly (for example, in the discussion of Example 2.9, “Living for the City”) but it is a complex subject deserving of further discussion and clarification. The interaction of meter and pitch has been considered by a number of theorists. William Caplin has shown that historically there has been spectrum of opinions on the subject.154 At one end are theorists such as Wallace Berry, who writes that “although tonal function can of course support metric function...it is in and of itself metrically neutral.”155 To support his view, Berry gives an example of a cadence from dominant to tonic, which is interpreted the same if the dominant chord is on a strong beat and the tonic on a weak beat, as if the dominant is on a weak beat and the tonic on a strong. At the other end of Caplin’s spectrum is the eighteenth-century theorist Georg Joseph (Abbé) Vogler, whose approach to meter Caplin summarizes as one that strictly enforces a  William Caplin, “Tonal Function and Metrical Accent: A Historical Perspective,” Music Theory Spectrum 5 (Spring 1983), 13. 155 Berry 1976, 330. 154  83  paradigm where tonic harmonies must fall on strong beats in the metric hierarchy, and dominant harmonies on weak ones.156 Hasty seems to fall somewhere in the middle of Caplin’s spectrum, considering pitch as a factor in a metric analysis, but one to be considered flexibly rather than using strict rules. One example of Hasty’s approach is his discussion of meter in J.S. Bach’s Courante from the Suite for Unaccompanied Cello in Eb Major. His Example 10.8a is reproduced as my Example 2.14. Example 2.14. Hasty’s consideration of pitch in his Example 10.8a.157  Hasty segments the passage based on changes of harmony, shown with the labels below the passage (T. stands for tonic; D.P. for dominant preparation, and D. for dominant). He then goes on to describe how the passage works to create a sense of closure with the cadence in the second bar. Hasty is not specific as to what creates this sense of closure, but given that his discussion to this point has to do with pitch, one assumes that the closure comes about because of the overall harmonic motion, as well as the reinforcement of the cadence via the downwards octave leap. Notice Hasty’s decisions at the smallest level of his analysis. His preferred interpretation at shorter durations is one that alternates beginning and continuation (presumably because of the steady eighth note durations); however, he also indicates two anacruses in brackets, at moments where the pitch implies forward-directed attention towards the following pitch because of melodic contour and tonality. Similarly, at longer durations, Hasty describes a typical triple meter (beginning, continuation, and deferral)  156 157  Caplin 1983, 5. Hasty 1997, 162. 84  but also presents in parentheses the possibility that the deferral is anacrustic rather than continuative, because of the implied forward motion from dominant to tonic.158 Hasty does not describe the correspondences between pitch and rhythm further in his study, but this example suggests that he considers pitch to be an important component in metric analysis. However, the methodology for incorporating the consideration of pitch into a metric analysis of the groove needs to be further developed. In particular, it is necessary to explore whether the harmonic idiom of popular music can be considered to have the same directed tendencies as tonality in common-practice art music. Theorists are still debating this question, and there has as yet been little consensus. Walter Everett proposes six tonal systems for rock music, ranging from ones closely linked to common-practice tonality (e.g., his system 1a, “Major-mode systems with commonpractice harmonic and voice-leading behaviors”) to ones that have little relation to the common-practice style (e.g., his system 5, “Triad-doubled or power-chord minorpentatonic systems unique to rock styles: I - bIII - IV - V - bVII. Common-practice harmonic and even voice-leading behaviors often irrelevant on the surface.”)159 Allan Moore suggests that rock harmony is based exclusively on triads built on the seven modes, plus the chromatic scale and the harmonic minor scale.160 And Ken Stephenson states that though common-practice chord progressions do exist in popular music, they “are in the statistical minority.”161 It is beyond the scope of this dissertation to resolve these inconsistencies, which have as much to do with the breadth of the repertoire as the novelty of the subject matter. At the very least there is an obvious consensus that popular music cannot be assumed to follow the same rules as common-practice tonality, and this will serve as the guiding principle behind my analytical decisions. But even though harmonic progressions in popular music differ from common-practice ones, there is often still some sense of motion created by tonality. Two examples of typical harmonic progressions in pop music, shown in Example 2.15, can help to clarify this.  Hasty 1997, 162-163. Walter Everett, “Making Sense of Rock’s Tonal Systems,” Music Theory Online 10/4 (December 2004), Table 1. 160 Allan F. Moore, “Patterns of Harmony,” Popular Music 11/1 (1992), 75-76. 161 Stephenson 2002, 101. 158 159  85  Example 2.15. Tonal function in two standard chord progressions.  Example 2.15a is one of the most typical chord progressions in popular music, used for countless songs since the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. The G7 chord at the end of the progression would normally be heard as a breve continuation in a standard duple interpretation focused on duration alone. But its dominant function and added seventh (significant in a mostly triadic context) push attention forwards towards the start of the groove. Similarly, in Example 2.15b, the standard twelve-bar blues progression, the last bar is used as a turnaround to return to the beginning of the progression, and so would also be heard as anacrusis rather than continuation. However, the chordal sevenths in this example are not dissonances seeking resolution since they are often typical chord tones in the blues idiom, and so the other chords follow a standard duple beginning-continuation interpretation. The status of the chordal seventh in Example 2.15a as dissonant, and therefore anacrustic, raises the question of the influence that non-chord tones have on metric interpretations. Non-chord tones often suggest anacrusis, since their dissonant status encourages listeners to anticipate future events that include the dissonance’s resolution. As one example of this anacrustic tendency employed in a musical context, consider the bass line for the verse of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” shown in Example 2.16. 86  Example 2.16. Non-chord tones affecting metric function in Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” (start of first verse).162  Q R  Q' R'  In the first bar, the bass establishes a particular rhythm that it repeats in the following two bars. The anacrusis on the second C is created through proximity, since the second C is closer to its successor than to the dotted-quarter C that preceded it. The last quarter note of the bar, were it another C, would probably be heard as continuation. But because G is the dominant of the C tonic that has been established from the opening of the song, there is a strong desire (in this particular tonal idiom) for that dominant to resolve to the tonic, which it does as the pattern repeats. The anacrustic pitch content is augmented by the grace note just prior to the G, as well as the slight dynamic accent given by bassist Stu Cook. Neither pitch, duration, nor any other musical parameter suggest anacrusis at the whole note, and so the R projection is heard as beginningcontinuation.163 In the fourth bar, however, a change in bass pattern results in a beginninganacrusis designation at both the half note and whole note projections. The anacrusis comes about firstly because of the changes in pitch: rather than three iterations of the same pitch as in previous bars, here Cook moves up to an E on the third duration of the bar. This is followed with an F functioning as a passing note to the G and an anacrusis to the following half note. The two quarter notes together push towards the G and a change of harmony in the whole ensemble; as a result I hear an anacrusis to the following whole note duration. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” composed and produced by John Fogerty (Pendulum: Fantasy FCD-4517-2, 1970). 163 If the rest of the groove were taken into consideration, the analysis could be significantly different, of course. 162  87  Although there is both potential and a great deal of validity in considering harmony and individual chord tones as having influence on metric interpretations, it is important to recall that pitch is not the only determining factor in analysis, and its role in any interpretation varies from groove to groove. General pitch tendencies do, however, shape the way we hear music, and isolating a few of these general tendencies opens up a space for the incorporation of pitch into metric analysis. As just one example of how this interaction can happen in a complete groove, consider the following excerpt from the Beatles’ “From Me To You” (Example 2.17).  Example 2.17. The Beatles, “From Me To You” verse.164  ( )  ( )  Q R S T  Q'  R' S' T'  Consider first the T-T' projection. The G7 chord in this case is continuative, rather than anacrustic as in Example 2.15. This is in part because the groove’s chord progression returns to a C major chord every second whole note, rather than creating a progression four whole notes long that is directed towards a C major chord at its  The Beatles, “From Me To You,” composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, produced by George Martin (From Me To You [single]: Parlophone 8880, 1963). 164  88  beginning. If the song had a faster tempo, perhaps the harmonies might be grouped differently, but as it is groups of two chords are most likely. Of course, the G7 chord could still be anacrustic, even if the duration it points towards is only two whole notes long rather than four. But features in the rhythm section and the melody work to prevent this expectation. First, the articulation of the chord by the rhythm guitar and bass guitar is very minimal, with many rests rather than a continuous duration that would connect to the expected C. In fact, in this bar the bass omits one of the two durations it played in previous bars, resulting in a rest that further diminishes any sense of a forward connection. Finally, the melody also has a pause that combines with the bass guitar’s rest to thwart any sense of forward-looking anticipation that might be created by the use of a seventh chord. The interaction between bass and rhythm guitar might be understood in different ways, depending on how pitch informs one’s hearing. Within each bar there is no chord change, so the rhythm guitar’s durations could be heard as continuations of the bass, because they continue the same chord. But other parameters also influence metrical function. The bass and rhythm guitar have a similar instrumental role here, but their timbres are notably different: they are heard as two separate instruments, played by two separate people. This is reinforced with the mix, where the tinny rhythm guitar stands out at almost the same dynamic level as the vocals, while the bass is less obvious. This timbral separation informs a hearing of the rhythm guitar’s rhythm as anacrustic. Its two eighth notes, and its staccato quarter note, both tend to point forwards towards an implied half note beginning, the eighths because of the second articulation that pushes attention forwards towards an expected (but not heard) beginning in the guitar, and the staccato quarter note because of the unexpectedly short duration that creates some uncertainty in terms of durational projections. Considering the relationship of the guitar and bass to the drum kit that completes the ensemble, it becomes even more difficult to hear an interpretation of the guitar as a continuation of the bass’s harmonic beginning. The drum set follows convention, with beginnings in the bass drum, and anacrustic backbeats on the snare. Bass and rhythm guitar, then, merely reinforce the drum’s interpretation, with the low bass timbre matching the bass drum, and the tinny guitar matching the higher snare.  89  This analysis suggests that, while pitch should certainly be considered as a factor in metric analyses, it is far from the only factor. As with all of the features previously described, from diatonic and syncopated rhythms to anacrusis and polyphony, the context of the groove results in a mixture of influences that, though they often follow general conventions that can be described, ultimately shape a metric interpretation in unique ways. Hasty’s theory of meter as a particular phenomenon, unfolding in time as a series of durational projections that are constantly changing, is ideally suited to consider not only the general principles of meter at work in the groove, but also each individual creative instance.  Summary The methodology for the metric analysis of groove-based popular music that I have described in the preceding pages can be summarized as follows. First, following Hasty, I take meter to be a specific phenomenon that is particular to each musical example, not a general grid that is consistent and relatively unchanging throughout a piece. With such an approach, meter becomes as flexible and dynamic as rhythm, as Hasty has already pointed out.165 Particular passages can be shown to flow through their unique metric details, and even apparent repetitions can be described in terms of their particular metric experiences. My methodology is more specific, however, in that it offers a means to refine our understanding of the groove, a critical component not only of the North American popular music that is my particular focus, but of all kinds of music from around the world. Hasty’s theory allows me to build on previous groove scholars’ work, to describe in metric terms something that is both process and object, a polyphonic and heterogeneous collection of individual riffs and instrumental timbres that is also heard as a unity within the larger heterogeneous texture of the pop ensemble. I have also refined music-theoretical understanding of particular phenomena, and will continue to do so in the chapters that follow. Anacrusis has often been considered a result of grouping rather than a component of meter, and Hasty’s theory clearly brings it into a metrical conceptualization. But my work will further describe the particular 165  See in particular his extended commentary in Chapter 1 of Hasty 1997. 90  varieties of anacrusis in popular music, and address anacruses of varying scope, from tiny gestures in a single instrument up to autotelic gestures that loop the entire groove back to its own beginning. Syncopation has often been conceptualized as some sort of deviation from an underlying static meter. This method will treat it instead as an integral part of meter itself, and consider not only its presence, but the effect it has on how we feel the music. A heightened awareness of the role of diatonic rhythms in popular music genres will aid in understanding the rhythms of popular music on their own merits, rather than assuming they conform to underlying grid structures. Similarly, pitch and harmonic function will be treated in a way that respects the genre’s mixing of influences. The role of pitch in metric analysis will be detailed more fully than it has in the past, but with an intent to evaluate pitch function as it is heard in popular music, rather than assuming it conforms to prior musical practices such as European art music of the common-practice period. This analytical method is fundamentally about using an analytical system that explores what is interesting about meter in popular music. It moves beyond general characterizations of meter as essentially the same (and therefore uninteresting) in all popular music, towards a specific understanding of the incredible variety of projections in this rich musical tradition. It will certainly refine the consideration of the finer details of meter, the particular instances of anacrusis, syncopation, pitch function, timbre, and instrumentation that make each groove unique. But at the same time, the analytical method is flexible enough to allow for a certain degree of generalization. I have already claimed, for example, that many drum patterns articulate the same basic meter through the use of anacrustic backbeats, even though individual drummers’ styles may result in slightly different articulations of this pattern. Similarly, using this method it is possible to make general statements about particular musical genres, a potential which will be explored in Chapter 3, a discussion of disco grooves, and Chapter 4, a discussion of Motown grooves. On occasion it is also helpful to make general comments about a single groove state repeated over a song section, but the method also allows for highly nuanced comparison among different groove statements within a single song. This latter topic will  91  come into particular prominence in Chapter 5, a discussion of the compositional technique of the groove buildup, where instruments and riffs are added to the groove over time, thus changing its meter. These inquiries into historical stylistic conventions and compositional techniques, the metric effect of changes within and among groove states, and the deepening of understanding of metric features described in this chapter, will then serve as the foundation for an analysis of a complete contemporary groove-based song, Janelle Monáe’s “Dance or Die” (Chapter 6).  92  Chapter 3 Meter in the Disco Groove One of the principal arguments in the previous chapter (and indeed, in this entire dissertation) is that meter in groove-based popular music cannot be fully understood if it is only considered as a hierarchical organization of strong and weak beats. Although grooves may seem to be static repetitive structures, they are also an ongoing process with an incredible variety in rhythm, instrumentation, and timbre that can drastically affect the meter, from one bar to the next within a single groove iteration, from one iteration of a groove state to another, or among different groove states in different formal sections or different songs. Such an assertion may appear to be more appropriate for some genres of popular music than others. One genre that on the surface appears to resist a characterization of meter as constantly changing is disco. Andrew Kopkind expresses a common opinion when he writes that “certain features of disco songs hardly vary from one tune to another...If you look for continuous changes in beat or for nuances of poetry in the lyrics, you will find few differences among disco songs.”166 Kopkind’s “beat” is likely a reference to disco’s notorious “four-on-the-floor” pattern: a strong, even, quarter note pulse in the bass drum, so named because to create the sound a drummer has to depress the bass drum foot pedal to the floor four times per bar.167 In disco the four-on-the-floor pattern is often produced by a synthesized rather than acoustic drum kit, but the metric effect remains the same: a series of evenly spaced durations of equal length that is a constant presence in the groove throughout the song, and that suggests an equally-constant and unchanging meter. If any musical genre gives the lie to my assertion that meter in groove-based popular music is diverse and interesting despite its repetitive qualities, the four-on-the-floor disco groove would seem to be it. On the other hand, if disco grooves are indeed so unchanging, what makes them so compelling for dancers? A repertoire that places such importance on “the priorities of Andrew Kopkind, “The Dialectic of Disco: Gay Music Goes Straight,” in The Pop, Rock and Soul Reader, ed. David Brackett (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 354. 167 Butler 2006, 78. 166  93  the dance floor and its deejays” surely must hold more metric interest.168 One answer comes from Kopkind himself, who follows the above quotation with further information: “the lengthy construction of a disco record (more than a “song”) and its emotional intensity are highly changeable aspects, and may account for success or failure.”169 In addition to these non-metric qualities, disco is not so homogeneous as it may initially appear. David Brackett describes three main style categories arising in disco after approximately 1975 (the year in which disco itself solidified as an overall genre): R&B disco (a style that “derived mostly from previous styles of soul and funk, often retained gospel-oriented vocals and syncopated guitar and bass parts, and was sometimes recorded by selfcontained bands associated with funk;” epitomized by bands such as Kool and the Gang, the Commodores, and K.C. and the Sunshine Band); Euro disco (a style that featured “simple, chanted vocals, less-syncopated bass parts, and thicker arrangements filled with orchestral instruments and synthesizers and relied on a producer who directed anonymous studio musicians;” perhaps most famously represented by the work of Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte); and pop disco (“represented by mainstream pop artists, such as the Bee Gees”).170 Songs that fall into one or another of these categories would, one assumes, feature differences in the groove, despite the common four-on-the-floor bass drum kick. Even within a single song, however, particular moments present different projections and different metric qualities that are an important resource for DJs who manipulate dancers’ experiences over time.171 Although almost every disco groove maintains a consistent four-on-the-floor beat, the rest of the groove is equally important in the creation of meter. Within the percussion section alone, a wide range of other patterns may be played, creating a timbral and durational variety that leads to a diversity of meters among and within disco grooves. Additionally, numerous other instruments shape the song’s meter. Individual riffs may feature anacrusis and syncopation to promote forward attention in the listener at different moments. Instruments can interact in unique Echols 2010, 9. Kopkind 2009, 354. 170 Brackett 2009, 351. 171 For more on the vital role of the DJ in creating a particular atmosphere on the disco dance floor, see Kopkind 2009, 357; and Tim Lawrence, Love Saves the Day (London: Duke University Press, 2003). 168 169  94  ways at particular moments, as a result of the mix or the timbres of the instruments themselves. And over time, these features, along with the instruments themselves, may change. Thus not only is a discussion of the metric effects of the four-on-the-floor pattern vitally important to an understanding of disco grooves, but the overall process of the groove in multiple instruments is equally a part of disco groove meter. The generalization of the disco groove to a standard four-on-the-floor pattern has perhaps contributed to the paucity of scholarship on disco music itself. Scholars have discussed disco’s reception, relationship to queer identity, and relationship to pitch structures in other African-American musical genres, but there has as yet been no study of the genre’s musical characteristics.172 With a processual and particular approach to meter, individual disco grooves and the musical genre itself can be newly appreciated and understood as equally interesting as other genres of popular music.  Four-on-the-Floor and Beyond Since the drums and the four-on-the-floor beat are the source of the most generalization and misunderstanding about meter in disco music, it makes sense to focus on them in isolation before considering the drums in the context of the full groove. Looking at a few variations on the four-on-the-floor beat from the perspective of metrical process provides preliminary evidence that meter in disco is not as simple as it seems. Example 3.1 shows a few typical disco drum patterns that I have drawn from the repertoire.  Examples apart from those already cited include Per F. Broman, “ ‘When All is Said and Done’: Swedish ABBA Reception During the 1970s and the Ideology of Pop,” Journal of Popular Music Studies 17/1 (April 2005), 45-66; Nadine Hubbs, “ ‘I Will Survive’: musical mappings of queer social space in a disco anthem,” Popular Music 26/2 (Fall 2007), 231244; Lee Cronbach, “Structural Polytonality in Contemporary Afro-American Music,” Black Music Research Journal 2 (1981-1982), 15-33. Mark Butler’s “Taking it Seriously: Intertextuality and Authenticity in Two Covers by the Pet Shop Boys” (Popular Music 22/1 (January 2003), 1-19) does discuss some elements of disco music analytically, but its focus is less on the genre and more on the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of a single song by the Village People (“Go West”). 172  95  Example 3.1. Basic disco beats.  a) Q  Q'  R  R'  b) Q R  Q' R'  S  S'  c)  Q R S T  Q' R'  S' (realized on repetition)  d)  Q R  Q' R'  S  S'  e)  Q R S  Q' R' S'  96  Example 3.1a shows the bass-snare pattern common to almost every disco song. A comparison of this analysis with Butterfield’s interpretation of the standard rock groove (shown in Example 2.2a) shows that the two drum patterns are nearly identical, and so not surprisingly yield similar analyses. Although in the standard disco groove the bass drum sounds on every quarter note, suggesting an alternation of beginning and continuation, the snare drum’s attacks every second quarter are still timbrally distinct enough to create an anacrustic separation of the backbeats from prior beginnings. The combination of bass and snare on the backbeat also creates a density accent, reinforcing the anacrustic separation created by timbre. In this general case, at least, the disco beat still has anacrustic backbeats.173 Some of the most common hi-hat additions to this basic drum pattern are shown in Examples 3.1b through 3.1e. As in Example 2.4 in the previous chapter, here the repetitive taps on the hi-hat suggest a beginning-continuation interpretation for individual eighth notes shown in Example 3.1b. But in disco grooves the hi-hat part is often altered, resulting in a number of metric changes. In Example 3.1c, the hi-hat opens on its final duration, suggesting an anacrusis that leads into the following quarter note, and also creating the possibility of a larger whole note projective duration (T) that would be realized on the pattern’s repetition. Example 3.1d creates a unique meter by alternately opening and closing the hi-hat, which has the effect of adding anacrusis towards each quarter note, in addition to the longer anacrusis to each half note created by the snare backbeats. Example 3.1e similarly creates anacrustic drive towards every quarter note, but does so through a rhythm that alternates eighth notes with a pair of sixteenth notes, giving the groove a different sort of forward drive. These patterns demonstrate some of the variety in meter available even within the four-on-the-floor drumbeat, suggesting that metric interpretations that cannot capture these changes miss something important about the groove’s meter. Once other instruments are added to the groove, the level of metric complexity increases even more dramatically. Example 3.2 is an analysis of the groove for the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive,” transcribed from the introduction. Individual instances of this pattern may use different production techniques that create different sensations (for example, a mix that hides the snare drum or that alters its timbre so that it is closer to that of the bass drum). 173  97  Example 3.2. The Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive” basic groove.174  Q R S T U  Q' R'  S' T' (realized on repetition)  In this and later transcriptions in this chapter, a single version of the groove is taken as representative of the myriad individual variations that exist within the song in question. This may appear to deny my earlier assertion that disco grooves are constantly changing. However, it is a necessary generalization in the interests of analytical brevity, given the importance of considering a number of different songs in order to get a sense of The Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive,” composed by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb, produced by the Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten, Karl Richardson (Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Soundtrack: Polydor 800068, 1977). 174  98  the overall disco genre. Each transcribed groove has enough in common with other groove repetitions in the song to make the analytical commentary applicable to a large part of the song, though certainly in a more detailed analysis of each individual song, metric differences among groove iterations would be readily apparent. Many elements of the groove transcribed in Example 3.2 remain consistent across different iterations, including the drum pattern and the rhythms of other instruments. This particular version of the groove is worthy of extra attention because of the presence of a particular guitar riff, a hook designed to persist in listeners’ memories well after the song ends.175 The hook is heard at various points in the song: in the introduction, accompanying some verse lyrics, as an instrumental fill between choruses and verses, and as part of the concluding “outro” section of the song. Its constant presence increases its eligibility for inclusion in the groove, rather than being excluded as a strictly melodic feature. The pattern in the drum kit for this particular groove is related to that shown in Example 3.1c. Snare backbeats in “Stayin’ Alive” provide anacruses to successive half notes, while the hi-hat is mostly continuative except at the end of the second bar, where the opening of the hi-hat creates an anacrusis to the following quarter note. The hi-hat’s opening also suggests a longer breve projection U, rather than a whole note projection as in Example 3.1c, because the lack of such a gesture in the first bar of the groove differentiates the two whole notes from one other. The drum kit alone provides a certain degree of metric differentiation in the groove, establishing durations for projection ranging from the long breve projection (U) to shorter half, quarter, and eighth notes (S-S', R-R', and Q-Q' respectively), and marking some durations as anacrusis while others are beginnings or continuations. But the presence of other instruments in the “Stayin’ Alive” groove further differentiates particular durations from one another. One example is in the keyboard and bass guitar parts, which suggest a whole note projection (T-T'). The keyboard in particular makes this clear with a rhythm that repeats every whole note (though its pitch pattern does change from bar 1 to bar 2, thus  For more on the importance of hooks in popular song, see Burns 1987 and Traut 2005. 175  99  reinforcing the longer breve projections). The bass guitar’s repeated Fs give a sense of beginning-continuation at the whole note, with its final riff an anacrustic group that leads to the following whole note. The change in the bass part from bar 1 to bar 2 also helps articulate the longer breve (U) projection. Another particular metric shaping of the groove comes from the use of anacrusis and syncopation in all parts. The bass guitar’s ascending anacrustic gesture is one example of this. Doubled in the electric guitar, the riff further expands on the anacrustic gesture in hi-hat at the end of the second bar, lengthening it from a single eighth note into a gesture over a half note in length. This contribution also strengthens the autotelic quality of the groove, since the anacrustic gesture in all three instruments points towards the beginning of the whole note that opens the groove. The keyboard part uses syncopation regularly in the middle of each bar with a gesture that virtually realizes every second half note projected potential with an anacrusisbecoming-beginning. The other half note projections in the keyboard are also missing strong and obvious beginnings, because of the rest in the right hand at the start of each bar, and the difficulty of hearing the left hand whole note in the mix. This general avoidance of beginnings adds energy and forward drive to the groove that would not be present with drums alone, as a series of short durations push attention forwards towards future expected beginnings, rather than simply continuing durations already begun. A similar situation occurs with the electric guitar hook. Its repetitive melodic line, the most obvious groove element in the mix, provides many short instances of syncopation and anacrusis at different moments and of different scope than in the keyboard part. Where the keyboard part emphasizes half-note projections (implied or with virtually-articulated beginnings), the electric guitar emphasizes quarter note projections with anacrusis-becoming-beginning durations on the second and fourth quarter notes of bar 1, and the second quarter note of bar 2. These syncopations emphasize forward attention towards almost every second quarter note (i.e., quarter notes 2 and 4 in each bar), while the keyboard emphasizes forward attention towards every second half note. The guitar drives towards most of the anacrustic drum backbeats (with the exception of the last backbeat), and the keyboard adds anacrusis in a part of the  100  groove that would otherwise be continuative. The result is a groove full of forward drive at multiple durations for projection. K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” provides another example of how the standard four-on-the-floor beat can be enhanced by a groove context that is unique and interesting. The verse groove is transcribed in Example 3.3.  Example 3.3. K.C. and the Sunshine Band, “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” verse groove.176  Q R S T  Q'  R'  S'  T'  The drum pattern as it is transcribed suggests a fairly basic meter. The wood block’s timbre and dynamic is not enough to overwhelm the timbral difference between bass and snare, and so the backbeats are anacrustic as in the general cases of Example 3.1. Quarter note (Q-Q') and half note (R-R') projections are easily heard because of the snare drum attacks. However, the drum part is energized by many improvised hi-hat K.C. and the Sunshine Band, “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty,” composed by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch, produced by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch (Part 3...and More: Rhino 71811, 1976). 176  101  openings that happen throughout the groove. Their inconsistency among groove repetitions makes them difficult to transcribe or analyze in a general consideration of the groove such as this one. But their effect can be characterized as creating forward pushes to listener attention at various quarter or half notes, adding greater energy and unpredictability. The bass guitar augments the percussion part with a pattern that repeats at longer durations. Because of the tempo of this song and the rests between the bass’s pitches, I tend to hear the bass in relation to the half note projection (R-R'), with each attack a new beginning until the gesture at the end of bar 2. At that point, I group the previous durations retroactively, hearing them as contributing to the realization of a breve duration, with the gesture at the end of bar 2 serving as an anacrustic gesture pointing forwards towards a new beginning. This larger relationship sets up breve projections (TT'), reinforced with keyboard 2’s longer durations and the groove’s harmonic progression. The electric guitar provides unpredictable forward energy in the groove much like the untranscribed hi-hat part. Its rhythms correspond somewhat with the more predictable keyboard 1, with the initial diatonic rhythm grouped as an anacrusis to an expected beginning. I hear this rhythm as a group of diatonic attacks rather than as two syncopated anacruses-becoming-beginnings because of the fast tempo, the initial avoidance of a beginning with a rest, and the gesture’s push towards a new beginning established with the third attack in keyboard 1. The guitar avoids this beginning articulated by keyboard 1, and instead follows with a number of gestures that I hear as a series of anacrustic groups. The general pitch contour of the guitar part, sketched out in the transcription, also encourages hearing anacrusis. At the end of bar 2, for example, the descending contour leads attention forwards into the following beginning, expected but not actually realized in the guitar.177 Other features of the guitar performance also contribute to the sense of anacrusis for these gestures: the slide upwards to an accented duration in bar 3, and the two staccato attacks in bar 4.  This anacrusis also reinforces the anacrustic backbeat in the drums at this moment in the groove. 177  102  This groove might be heard to include a single projective duration four whole notes long, since there is a harmonic progression from C minor (a potential beginning) to F7 (a potential continuation) that happens over that time span. But at this somewhat relaxed tempo (relaxed for disco, anyway), I tend to focus instead on breve projections and no larger. This smaller-scale focus is reinforced by other features of the groove: the bass guitar part that is essentially the same metrically from bars 1 and 2 to bars 3 and 4, keyboard 1’s part that repeats a series of durations every whole note, and the drum kit that repeats at even smaller half note projections. My attention is drawn to the metric variety of these smaller projections, and as a result I find a four-whole-note projection difficult to sustain. A third disco groove is shown in Example 3.4, a transcription of the groove for ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” a song that perhaps stretches the limits of the pop disco subgenre, but is noteworthy for its manipulations of the typical disco beat nonetheless.  Example 3.4. ABBA, “Dancing Queen” basic groove.178  U  ( )  Q R S T  U'  ( )  Q'  ( )  ( )  R' S' T'  ABBA, “Dancing Queen,” composed by Björn Ulvaeus, Beny Andersson, Stig Anderson, produced by Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson (Arrival: Polygram 8213192, 1977). 178  103  First, a few notes about the transcription. This excerpt is transcribed from the chorus, where the harmonic progression is more static, making it easier to capture an impression of the general instrumentation of the groove and its rhythms. In other parts of the song the groove is similar, but often has a different chord progression that suggests longer durational projections than indicated here. Additionally, instruments that follow the melody line are omitted; for example, in the chorus a higher piano part punctuates the texture after each vocal phrase, and a string section doubles the melody line. Because these parts do not repeat with the rest of the groove, I do not consider them part of that structure, though they certainly are included in metric sensations of the song as a whole, including lead vocals. The percussion parts use the pattern from Example 3.1d as the basis for something more complex. The drum kit begins with the standard pattern, resulting in anacruses on the backbeats that lead to successive half notes, and also anacruses towards every quarter note because of the open-close hi-hat gesture. The anacruses that direct attention towards quarter note projections are further strengthened with the addition of tambourine and shaker parts. The tambourine’s rattles help propel attention forwards, and the shaker’s rhythm has a rest at expected beginnings, followed by short durations that also help create forward-directed attention towards each quarter note beginning. The drum part is altered at the end of the second bar to create even more anacrusis. A drum fill in bass and snare creates an overall anacrustic gesture due to both drums’ rapid offbeat attacks, with the higher timbre of the snare standing out in the texture. In addition to this drum fill, a second hi-hat open-close gesture is added, and is much more prominent in the mix than the hi-hat that plays constantly. All of these gestures combine to create anacrusis to the following breve projection, creating an autotelic gesture that loops the groove back around to its own beginning. The bass guitar establishes the harmony through longer durations as in the two grooves previously discussed, but also adds anacrusis to the groove at different durations. The first two attacks in each bar are straightforward: a beginning and a syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning that at a longer duration are heard as a single dominant  104  beginning.179 The change in pitch and duration for the sixteenth notes in bar 1 suggests hearing these notes as anacrusis towards a future event, the high A3 at the end of the bar. The gesture is also anacrustic towards the following whole note (S-S'), as the notes collectively provide contrast from the two low A2 attacks that are almost indistinguishable in the texture.180 Although in bar 2 this registral contrast is absent, the eighth note rhythm is still a faster surface rhythm than has been heard previously in the bar, encouraging the same metric interpretation. Finally, in both bars the piano part that masks the first two bass attacks rests during the anacrustic gesture, helping to give it even more prominence in the complete groove texture. The piano part in the groove is similarly complex, depending on how its relationship with the rest of the groove is considered. Two options are shown in Example 3.5.  Example 3.5. ABBA, “Dancing Queen” piano part possible analyses. a) Independent polyphonic stream.  Q  Q' R  R'  S  Hasty uses the term “dominant beginning” to refer to a longer beginning that is still present and active even though the shorter durations begun at the same time are past and complete. Hasty 1997, 104. 180 The fact that the bass is so buried for its first two attacks, and its striking prominence when the piano rests, makes a diatonic 3+2+3 hearing of the bass less likely. 179  105  Example 3.5 continued. b) Related to drum kit.  Q  Q'  R  R'  One interpretation (Example 3.5a) is to hear the piano as a completely separate stream in the texture, with its own projective field. This hearing, like that of the bass guitar, stems mostly out of considerations of register: the regular alternation of low and high A major chords establishes a particular duration for projection, the dotted quarter note. The low A major chord opens a new beginning, and the high A chord’s register stands out in the texture such that it encourages a hearing of anacrusis, rather than continuation. With the quarter note rest at the end of the bar, the dotted quarter note projection is suspended, but so briefly that a true hiatus is barely felt. Instead there is a brief moment of uncertainty, followed by a new dotted quarter note beginning with the start of the next bar that clarifies the projections once more. Under this interpretation, then, the piano part is an extended 3+3+3+3+4 diatonic rhythm that establishes an independent meter from the rest of the groove, and in particular from the percussion section that emphasizes quarter notes. At the end of each bar, however, the rest in the piano ensures that the independent parts will line up once more, and that any sensation of conflict will be resolved. Alternatively, the piano part could be heard in combination with the drums, as shown in Example 3.5b. In such a hearing, the drums are the focus of the groove’s metric interpretation, and their quarter note and half note projections (Q-Q' and R-R') are more important than the registral difference among durations in the piano. There is no sense of  106  suspension or hiatus at the end of each bar; the projections continue to unfold, due as much to the ongoing drum pattern as to the piano part itself. This hearing is further reinforced with the piano’s alternation of A major and D major chords with each bar, encouraging a sensation of the breve projection that continues to unfold through the piano’s rest at the end of each bar. In this case I find I have no distinct preference for either hearing (I have indicated only the first possibility in Example 3.4 out of space considerations more than analytical ones) and can imagine situations when each one would be equally beneficial. If I focus exclusively on the piano part, as I do when I undertake a detailed metric analysis, I tend to ignore the other instruments of the groove, and so can more easily hear its alternative projective field. As a dancer, on the other hand, I am perhaps more interested in the lead vocal line (especially when the singers articulate the chorus), and so use the drum beat to place my motions appropriately. However, even in such instances, I think the interpretation of the piano shown in Example 3.5a informs my metric sensations, helping create a sense of forward motion and complexity in the groove that would be otherwise absent. The three grooves discussed in this section all use the same four-on-the-floor bass drum pattern, and they all have anacrustic backbeats created by the alternation of bass and snare drums. But despite these common features, each groove has significant metric differences, even within the drum kit alone. The unchanging hi-hat in “Stayin’ Alive” initially draws less attention, as it alternates beginnings and continuations while other instruments have more interesting patterns. But the open-close hi-hat gesture at the end of the second bar establishes a breve projection for the drums. Hi-hat enlivens the meter in a different way in “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty,” with an improvised pattern that provides an element of anacrustic unpredictability for a drum beat that otherwise conforms to stylistic expectations. “Dancing Queen” offers perhaps the most complex percussion part of all, with a constant open-close hi-hat bringing anacrusis and therefore forward-pointing energy to every quarter note, an anacrustic density strengthened by other patterns in tambourine and shaker. An additional hi-hat opening and closing at the end of every groove unit, along with a drum fill, loops the groove back to its own beginning.  107  Focusing on anacrusis in the drum beats of the disco groove demonstrates one particular way that meter could affect dancer sensations. Grooves with more frequent anacrusis, such as “Dancing Queen,” might be heard as more propulsive, or encourage more energetic movements (perhaps larger body motions, or arms in the air) as listeners feel a stronger sense of arrival on new beginnings, while those with less, such as “Stayin’ Alive,” might encourage a more relaxed sort of movement (body swaying or smaller gestures with the hands), with larger gestures saved for key moments such as the return to the groove’s own beginning.181 Despite these differences, and the plethora of unique features in the other instrumental parts of each groove, all three grooves divide into three basic instrumental roles. Drums provide the consistent four-on-the-floor attack, as well as anacrustic backbeats and occasional other instances of anacrusis in hi-hat and other instruments. A second group of instruments articulates harmonic progressions that suggest longer durations for projection, often with relatively consistent and repeating patterns that also emphasize mid-sized durations (half note, whole note, etc.). In “Stayin’ Alive” and “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” the bass and keyboard provide this function; in “Dancing Queen” bass and piano combine to create whole note projections. Finally, a third instrument or group of instruments provide anacrusis and syncopation at shorter durations, often using a more melodic riff. “Stayin’ Alive” and “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” both use electric guitar for this, while in “Dancing Queen” the piano’s complex rhythm fulfills this role. These metric groupings suggest the possibility of a deeper characterization of the disco genre, one that moves beyond four-on-the-floor beats to consider other aspects of the groove.  Hollywood highlights the contrast if one compares the choreography of John Travolta’s strutting to “Stayin’ Alive” in Saturday Night Fever with the group sing-along for “Dancing Queen” in Mamma Mia; more study is certainly needed to ascertain how representative these examples are of spontaneous dance-floor behaviour. See Saturday Night Fever, directed by John Badham (Hollywood, California: Paramount Pictures, 1977); Mamma Mia, directed by Phyllida Lloyd (Santa Monica, California: Playtone, 2008). 181  108  Interactions Between Meter and Form The three grooves just analyzed are generalized versions of something that in fact changes constantly over the course of the song. Their consideration allows for an overall characterization of the groove’s meter, and also makes it easier to notice larger stylistic commonalities among grooves for different songs. However, more often than not the groove is less consistent in a song, using different chord progressions or instrumental parts at different times. These changes are usually tied to the overall form of the song, with different sections using different grooves. As one example, Example 3.6 shows the groove for the chorus of “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” with analysis (the verse was shown in Example 3.3). Example 3.6. K.C. and the Sunshine Band, “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” chorus groove.  Q R S T U  Q' R' S'  T' (realized on groove repetition)  In this transcription, the vocals and trumpet part are included to make the groove’s overall context more obvious, but a metric analysis is omitted for these parts, since their role in the song is to create a linear process of change as the melody and lyrics  109  unfold, rather than to articulate a repeating accompaniment with the groove. Additionally, although when comparing the chorus groove to the verse groove of Example 3.3 it appears that keyboard 1 and the electric guitar are now absent, in fact it is hard to tell. Their parts are so thoroughly masked by other instruments that it is impossible to discern what (if anything) they play, and so they do not figure in my metric analysis. Focusing on the metric features of the verse and chorus grooves, it is clear that the drum part in the chorus is unchanged from the verse groove. Quarter note and half note projections are clear, and the backbeats are anacrustic. As in the verse, the drummer opens and closes the hi-hat at unpredictable intervals, adding extra anacruses at shorter durations that are not notated on the example. The single exception to this is the consistent opening of the hi-hat just before the third bar, which results in an anacrusis to the following quarter note beginning that coincides with the arrival of the lyric’s object (“booty”). The bass part changes slightly from its pattern in the verse. One change has to do with the presence of a different chord progression, which will be discussed shortly. But its rhythm in the chorus also changes. By playing longer half note durations, rather than the shorter quarter notes separated by rests that characterized the verse groove, the bass articulates a series of connected beginning-continuation durations, rather than separate beginnings as in the verse. Additionally, the change in rhythm in bars 3 and 4, and in particular the pitch pattern that moves away from and back to the C, supply an anacrusis towards a subsequent whole note duration, rather than the half note anacrusis in the verse.182 The most obvious difference between the two grooves is the addition of a longer chord progression, a change that allows for hearing longer breve projections (T-T') in the chorus. I hear the Bb major chord as a continuation of the Ab major chord, and the C minor chord as a new beginning. When the entire four bars is repeated, the four-wholenote U-U' projection is realized.  On the other hand, given the relatively slow speed of the quarter notes in bars 3 and 4, an alternative analysis might be to maintain the sense of continuation heard in bars 1 and 2. The choice would depend on how a listener prioritizes pitch, rhythm, and tempo. 182  110  This change in chord progression is interesting, as it affects the degree of anacrusis at the end of the groove; that is, the groove’s autotelic quality. Since the tonic chord is reached within the scope of a single groove iteration, there is no sense of an incomplete harmonic progression driving attention forwards towards resolution with the beginning of the groove (compare with Example 2.9, Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City,” where the chord progression is not complete until the groove returns to its beginning). Anacrusis at the end of the groove is left to gestures of smaller scope, notably the bass guitar part already discussed, a change that perhaps lessens the pull of the groove back to its own beginning. Despite the longer projections as a result of the chord change, the absence of some instruments, and the change in bass part, the chorus groove of “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” is not drastically different from the verse groove of Example 3.3. But this consistency across formal sections is not necessarily a feature shared by all disco songs. Example 3.7 shows the verse and chorus grooves for the Village People’s “YMCA.”  111  Example 3.7. The Village People, “YMCA” verse and chorus grooves.183  a) Verse groove  Q R S T U  Q'  R'  S' T' (U realized in next bar)  b) Chorus groove  Q R S T  Q'  R'  S' T'  U  The Village People, “YMCA,” composed by Henri Belolo, Jacques Morali, Victor Willis, produced by Jacques Morali (Cruisin’: Polygram 532171, 1978). 183  112  Example 3.7 continued.  U'  As in other grooves, these transcriptions omit instruments that do not repeat their patterns. In this case, a brass pattern is ignored, since in both verse and chorus the brass are closely tied to the linear melody, filling in the rests in the lead vocal line with short riffs, rather than repeating a particular pattern along with the rest of the groove. In the verse, the drum kit’s bass-snare alternation sets up the expected anacrustic backbeat and four-on-the-floor attacks, and the hi-hat’s opening and closing creates anacrusis to each quarter note duration, following earlier examples. The tambourine strengthens the hi-hat anacruses with its rhythm that uses driving shorter durations towards each quarter note beginning. The bass guitar has a basic beginning-continuation alternation for most of its durations in the verse because of its consistent pitch and duration; however, this repetitive pattern makes the bass’s anacrustic gesture in bar 4 stand out even more than it would otherwise, much like the hi-hat’s open-close gesture in “Stayin’ Alive.” This gesture is an anacrusis to the following breve duration and no larger: though it marks the beginning that both realizes the four-whole-note U projection and initiates its projection U', in the  113  context of the full groove I find the chord change in bar 3 is strongly continuative for the four-whole-note projection, overriding the subsequent sense of anacrusis in the bass. The chord progression does, however, change every breve, and the bass anacrusis leads towards one of these changes. In the chorus, several parts are consistent with those in the verse. The rhythmic pattern of the guitar and keyboard continues to be masked, and so their contributions to the groove’s meter are based on harmonic progression alone. The drum kit and tambourine are also the same, though the percussion group is augmented by a new hand clap part that strengthens the backbeat anacruses with its alternation of quarter note rests and sounding durations. The most notable change from verse to chorus is in the bass part. In the chorus its durations are much shorter and its pitch content more varied, with constant sixteenth notes and octave leaps ensuring anacrusis to every quarter note. It uses the same octave leaps connecting in stepwise motion to create anacrustic gestures, but now these happen every breve rather than every four whole notes. This helps to make the T-T' breve projection even more salient than in the verse, as the bass now consistently articulates anacruses to this duration.184 There are some parts of the groove in “YMCA” that remain unchanged from verse to chorus, perhaps as a means to maintain continuity through the song as a whole. However, changes to the chorus groove significantly increase the energy level of the song for this formal section. The bass is changed to add constant anacrusis emphasizing smaller durations than in the verse, and a new hand clap part strengthens anacruses at various durational projections, most notably the backbeat. All of this increased energy helps motivate what are perhaps the most well known disco dance moves, the alphabetic arm gestures that inevitably enliven and unify the dance floor with every chorus iteration. Another example of the use of contrasting grooves for verse and chorus is shown in Example 3.8, the verse and chorus grooves for The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno.”  My hearing might also be influenced by the structure of the lead vocal line; however, the vocal in the verse also emphasizes breve projections, while I hear the groove’s fourwhole-note projection as more salient. 184  114  Example 3.8. The Trammps, “Disco Inferno” verse and chorus grooves.185 a) Verse  ( )  Q R S T U  Q' R'  S' T' (U' on repetition)  b) Chorus  Q R S T  Q' R'  S'  T'  U  The Trammps, “Disco Inferno,” composed by Leroy Green and Ron Kersey, produced by Ron Kersey (Disco Inferno: Atlantic Records 18211, 1976). 185  115  Example 3.8 continued.  ( )  ( )  ( )  ( )  (U' on repetition)  The verse groove has a simpler instrumentation than many of the grooves examined thus far, with only three distinct polyphonic streams: keyboard 1; keyboard 2 and bass guitar playing the same part in octaves; and drum kit. As always, the four-onthe-floor bass drum pattern is present, along with snare attacks on the backbeats that create anacruses at half note durations. The drums also follow what is increasingly apparent as a typical disco meter, adding anacrusis to each quarter note, in this case by hitting the hi-hat every second eighth note with rests at expected beginnings. Keyboard 2 and bass present a driving series of eighth notes that creates momentum through the syncopation at the end of each bar, interpreted as anacrusisbecoming-beginning. At the end of the groove, an extended anacrustic gesture that combines octave leaps with ascending chromatic motion uses pitch to push the groove back to its own beginning. The four-whole-note projection U-U' comes about as a result of this anacrustic group, with the first three bars of this part as beginning and the final bar as anacrusis. However, the keyboard 1 part conditions the longer projection in a particular way, because of its anacrustic gestures every two bars. The parallelism between bars 1 and 2  116  and bars 3 and 4 is strong: in each two bar unit, there is a long duration spanning a bar and a half, followed by an anacrustic gesture leading into the next breve beginning, suggesting the T-T' projection. Another interesting interaction between the two streams of pitched instruments comes in bar 2. The keyboard 1 anacrustic gesture in bar 2 corresponds exactly to the rhythm in keyboard 2 and bass, but the two rhythms have different functions in their respective contexts. In keyboard 1 the anacrustic gesture stands out as a group in comparison to the longer durations that precede and follow it. In contrast, keyboard 2 and bass have a constant stream of eighth notes, of which the four notes at the end of bar 2 are a part, connected in pairs as beginning-continuation rather than grouped into a larger anacrustic gesture. The chorus groove in “Disco Inferno” goes further than either “YMCA” or “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” to change many parts considerably from verse to chorus. Instrumentation is one contributing factor. In previous grooves, background vocals and brass were not considered part of the groove. Here, however, both of these instrumental groups, along with added strings, have repeating patterns that relate more closely to the repetitive groove than to the more linear lead vocal. The arrangement of the mix also influences how individual parts are grouped, particularly in the case of the strings where rhythms repeat but pitches do not. The lead vocal is given prominence through dynamics, while the rest of the instruments, including the strings, are placed further back in the mix, with the many streams of the groove timbrally distinct but not sonically separated from one another. This production decision influences a hearing of the groove that includes the strings rather than omits them. The chorus begins with an anacrusis-becoming-beginning gesture in background vocals and trumpet, reinforcing a similar gesture in the lead vocal. The syncopated gesture is also reinforced with a change in drum pattern, where an open-close hi-hat gesture and a crash cymbal attack (on the first hi-hat gesture only) replace the single hihat tap that happened on this particular eighth note in the verse. To my ear, the openclose gesture creates a stronger anacrusis than a simple tap because of the continuity of sound through the duration, and so although its placement of anacrusis is the same, the drum pattern of the chorus brings more forward drive and energy than that of the verse.  117  New anacrusis in the chorus groove is also provided by the strings. Their gesture recalls the keyboard 1 gesture in the verse groove, but here the gesture happens more frequently, because of the contrast with the long duration that begins each group. As a result there is anacrusis to every whole note, rather than to every second whole note as in the verse. At the same time as the strings and drum kit supply near-constant anacrusis towards numerous beginnings of different projective durations, the bass and single keyboard (it is not clear which of the two keyboards from the verse groove is retained) reduce their forward drive. In the chorus, they play a rhythm that establishes clear quarter notes in a beginning-continuation relationship. There is still some forwarddirected attention created by these parts, as the overall pitch motion follows a descending scale pattern towards tonic. But it is hard to represent this general sensation with a metric quality tied to a specific duration. The chorus groove also strengthens the articulation of the four-whole-note projection (U-U') relative to the verse. Some instruments still articulate the breve projection, such as the background vocals that repeat their pattern at that duration. But more prominent in the groove are the instruments engaged in processes of pitch and meter that are not complete until four whole notes have passed, such as the bass guitar’s descending scale, and the chord progressions in strings and keyboard. The chorus groove for “Disco Inferno” highlights the contrast between anacrustic and beginning-continuation parts more strongly than does the verse. The instruments articulating anacrusis do so with more frequency than in the verse (compare keyboard 1 in the verse with strings in the chorus), or with more strength (consider the change in hihat articulation style). At the same time, the instruments playing straight quarters (bass and keyboard) do so almost exclusively; there are no anacrustic gestures in these parts as there were in the verse. This heightened contrast among durations, along with the increase in the number of instruments playing, make the chorus groove distinct from the verse groove that precedes and follows it. Comparing verse and chorus grooves for the same song adds a new layer to the understanding of meter in the disco groove. These three examples demonstrate three  118  different options for the groove as it moves from verse to chorus. In “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty,” the groove is relatively consistent from verse to chorus, though the diatonic rhythm in keyboard and electric guitar is eliminated. In “YMCA,” many features are the same from one formal section to the next, but anacrustic energy is added for the chorus as a means to draw extra attention to that formal section. And in “Disco Inferno,” the groove changes considerably, adding additional emphasis to the other changes that mark the formal division from verse to chorus. Such comparisons also help to clarify the more general metric features of disco grooves. In both verse and chorus, the four-on-the-floor drum beat is the most fundamental feature of the groove, necessary to maintain consistency both within a single song as the groove changes from one formal section to another, and to conform with the overall disco genre. However, even within the percussion section, what happens around the four bass drum attacks can vary greatly. “Disco Inferno” uses two different hi-hat techniques that result in anacruses of differing strengths: a verse pattern that has rests on expected beginnings setting up hi-hat attacks as anacruses; and a chorus pattern that uses the open-close hi-hat pattern for a stronger anacrustic thrust. In contrast, “YMCA” uses the same open-close gesture throughout the song but increases anacrusis in the chorus with the addition of hand claps on the backbeats. Of course, the contributions of other instruments to the groove, their particular riffs and patterns, lend different degrees of anacrusis and syncopation in distinct formal sections, and also affect the perception of particular durations. In “YMCA” for example, the change in bass part leads to a shift in attention, from projections four whole notes long in the verse to breve projections in the chorus. This change in the groove further differentiates formal sections already marked by changes in lyrics, melody, and chord progression. Finally, this discussion has deepened understanding of the possible instrumental roles in disco grooves. Previously I asserted that three groups make up the disco groove: the drum kit and other percussion instruments provide a four-on-the-floor beat along with anacrusis to quarter note and half note durations; a second group of instruments (often bass or keyboard) provide harmonic information and tend to have repeating patterns suggesting mid-sized projections; and a third group of instruments (often electric guitar or  119  piano) play melodic gestures that bring more unpredictable instances of anacrusis and syncopation to the groove, and that draw attention to shorter durations. The drum patterns of “YMCA” and “Disco Inferno” certainly conform to these instrumental roles, as already noted. Similarly, in both of these grooves pitched instruments suggest longer durations than in the drum kit alone. Longer projections are particularly evident because of a contrast between spans of time that feature relatively unchanging beginning-continuation alternations, and the use of anacrustic gestures in particular moments. Instances include the bass guitar part in the verse groove of “YMCA” that uses steady quarter notes until an anacrustic gesture in the fourth bar of the transcription; and the keyboard 1 part in the verse of “Disco Inferno” that has long durations broken up with anacrustic gestures. Along with the articulation of harmonic progressions, this metric arrangement of durations is one of the primary ways to articulate projections at longer durations in the disco repertoire. It is immediately apparent that neither “YMCA” nor “Disco Inferno” uses a short melodic riff, or features the kind of unpredictable changes to the groove as happened in earlier examples. Part of this has to do with different compositional structures. For example, in “Stayin’ Alive” the melodic riff in electric guitar serves as a primary hook for the song, while in the transcribed excerpts from “YMCA,” an instrumental hook would be redundant against the lead vocal chorus hook. Further, although neither song uses a melodic riff as in previous examples, there is still an increase from verse to chorus in anacrusis at shorter durations. “YMCA” alters the bass part so that it is more active and dynamic, and adds hand claps, while “Disco Inferno” changes its drum pattern and also modifies the bass line to include more dotted eighth and sixteenth notes, which create energy at smaller durations. Indeed, studying verse and chorus grooves together suggests that perhaps the presence of a melodic riff is less important than a consideration of the particular energy in the groove at any given moment, as created through anacrusis and syncopation at small durations. Depending on the intentions of the musicians, and the particular song section, melodic riffs or other modifications to the groove may be used to increase or decrease the amount of forward drive in the groove. Given disco’s dance floor purpose, and the ongoing interactions between dancers and DJ (along with the ability of DJs to mix and  120  match grooves from different songs), such manipulations of energy and expectation are vitally important to understanding the disco genre.  Modular Groove Structures Using different grooves for the verse and the chorus gives musicians and producers a way to add energy and to heighten listener attention in the chorus (typically seen as the most important or memorable part of pop song form)186 while still maintaining some degree of consistency, both within the song itself and within the broader disco genre. Many disco songs, however, are remixed by DJs to create compositions of extended length that start to move away from the standard verse-chorus song structures that characterize other genres of popular music.187 In these longer-form pieces, the groove might undergo more frequent changes over time, and changes may be less tied to clear formal divisions. This results in a situation where a notion of “the groove” as a clearly defined unit becomes even more difficult, since the groove is frequently subject to change. Analysis of a longer-form disco song will consider an aspect of disco music that is important for its inspiration of later electronic dance genres, but will also examine the careful balance between groove consistency and unique metric articulation that has already been observed in individual songs and in the disco repertoire more generally. Lasting for more than eight minutes, the Disco Queen remix version of Vicki Sue Robinson’s “Turn the Beat Around” is one example of a longer disco track. Its basic formal layout is shown in Table 3.1.  John Covach, for example, states that in verse-chorus song form “the focus of the song is squarely on the chorus.” John Covach, “Form in Rock Music: A Primer,” in Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis, ed. Deborah Stein (New York: Oxford University Press 2005), 71. Popular songwriting manuals reinforce this; John Braheny, for example, says that the chorus “focuses the essence, emotion, and meaning of the song into a simple and easily remembered statement” and is “the catchiest, most memorable part of the song.” John Braheny, The Craft and Business of Songwriting, 3rd edition (Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books, 2006), 83. 187 Apart from the enhanced role of the DJ in disco dance clubs, a main factor in this change in song length was the invention of the twelve-inch record, a technological advance that allowed for songs of longer duration than did previous seven-inch records. 186  121  Table 3.1. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” formal layout.188 (Each verse or chorus iteration is numbered separately, even if the lyrics and melody are repeated exactly from earlier sections.) Track timing  Section  (0:00) – (0:47)  Introduction (groove buildup)  (0:47) – (1:19)  Chorus 1 (instrumental and with vocalists)  (1:19) – (1:34)  Verse 1  (1:34) – (2:06)  Chorus 2  (2:06) – (2:35)  Verse 2  (2:35) – (2:56)  Chorus 3  (2:56) – (4:12)  Instrumental breakdown and buildup of the groove  (4:12) – (4:31)  Chorus 4 mixed with percussion breaks  (4:31) – (4:45)  Chorus 5  (4:45) – (4:59)  Guitar solo  (4:59) – (5:28)  Verse 3 moving into improvised lead vocals  (5:28) – (5:59)  Instrumental groove statements  (5:59) – (6:20)  Chorus 6 mixed with percussion breaks  (6:20) – (6:33)  Chorus 7  (6:33) – (6:44)  Guitar solo 2  (6:44) – (7:14)  Verse 4 moving into improvised lead vocals  (7:14) – (7:20)  Breakdown  (7:20) – (8:26)  Chorus 8  In comparison to the original single, which lasts a little over three minutes and alternates verses and choruses with only a brief introduction and breakdown section, this version features an extended introduction, various improvised and instrumental passages, and a long breakdown section, along with more repetitions of verses and choruses. The  Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” [Disco Queen Remix], composed by Gerald Jackson and Peter Jackson, remix by Rick Gianatos and Joel Silver (Turn the Beat Around: Disco Queen Records 8591, 1976). 188  122  result is a free-flowing form that reduces listener expectation for the arrival of particular sections, and encourages a release into the ongoing process of the song’s unfolding. Fundamental to this processual sensation is the fact that the groove undergoes a variety of changes over the course of the song. Sometimes different instruments are added or removed from the groove itself, while at other times the metric context of the groove is altered because of non-groove elements, such as instrumental solos or particular chord progressions. But through all these changes, there are elements of consistency, and as with the disco grooves I have previously examined, the drum kit and other percussion instruments often unify different groove statements. As a result of this consistency, all of the following discussion will use the term groove state to describe individual instances, since the various groove states are heard as creating a relatively consistent groove for the entire song. At the song’s opening and at two later points in the song ((0:39) and (3:00)), the percussion pattern is heard alone, emphasizing its fundamental importance to all the different configurations of the groove. Example 3.9 shows an analysis of the pattern. Example 3.9. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” drum pattern.  Q R S  Q' R' (realized on repetition)  Considering the drum kit first, there is the standard anacrusis on the backbeat, augmented by a shorter anacrusis because of the snare drum’s dotted eighth to sixteenth  123  note pattern. The anacrustic backbeat is further strengthened by the bongos that alternate from a lower pitch to a higher one, with the higher pitches heard on the backbeats. All of this easily overwhelms the hi-hat’s regular beginning-continuation alternation. This is the groove at its most basic: anacrustic backbeats that push attention forwards to the next half note duration, occasional shorter anacruses, and an overall sense of beginning-continuation that leads to a whole note projection. There is a sense of drive in this groove state, but a simplicity as well, particularly when compared to the myriad other versions of the groove that develop over the course of the song. This sense of simplicity is exploited compositionally to create a feeling of rest, or of resetting the groove process. For example, in the introduction, the groove begins with the instrumentation shown in Example 3.9, and then progressively adds more layers, many of them improvised. The groove reaches a state of near-chaos, which is then abruptly scaled back to the basic version again at (0:39), as if the groove and the song are starting over again before the entry of the first chorus. As in other examples, the overall metric interpretation of the groove can change when these percussion parts are heard in the context of other instruments. Example 3.10 shows a groove state that includes bass guitar. Example 3.10. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” drums with bass.  Q R S  Q' R' (realized on repetition)  124  This groove state often occurs right after the state shown in Example 3.9. It is often part of a groove process known as the buildup, which will be discussed more extensively in Chapter 5 but that for now can be understood as a way to add instruments or instrumental parts to the groove over a period of time. Thus, this groove state is a stepping stone to more complex states, a function heard in the introduction and later at (5:34). How does the bass change the meter of the groove as previously articulated by percussion alone? Notably, its part has shorter rhythms, drawing more attention to shorter durations (especially Q-Q'). These shorter patterns also add anacrusis to the groove. On the first quarter note, the bass’s dotted eighth note to sixteenth note rhythm creates anacrusis in the same way as the bongos and snare drum on the second quarter note. On the second quarter note, the bass guitar’s rhythmic pattern alone would suggest beginning-continuation, since the shorter sixteenth note durations connect strongly to the eighth note F that follows (compare this rhythm to the bass drum and snare drum pattern in Butterfield’s drum pattern analysis shown in Example 2.2b). But in terms of pitch, the supposedly-continuative F leads strongly back towards the tonic G: seventh scale degrees in pop are often lowered, reflecting modal influences, but still lead strongly towards the tonic. For me this sense of pitch motion is stronger than the sense of beginningcontinuation suggested by the rhythm, and so I hear anacrusis on the F, matching the anacrusis at the end of the first quarter note. Pitch also affects my interpretation of the fourth quarter note, where the rhythm is even more strongly continuative but where again an F leads towards an expected G tonic. Thus, as a result of the bass addition to the groove, there is now an anacrustic drive towards three of the four quarter notes in the groove, in addition to the anacrusis to every half note created by the backbeats. The groove state used for the verses of “Turn the Beat Around” (as well as for the guitar solos) modifies both the projective field and the metric quality of individual durations, as Example 3.11 shows.  125  Example 3.11. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” verse groove state.  Q R S  Q' R' S'  T (realized on repetition)  The hi-hat changes its pattern, and is joined by a tambourine.189 Both instruments are quite soft and recessive in the mix, however, and so their pattern does not change the overall drum interpretation from other groove states. The bongo switches from its consistent and clear rhythmic pattern to an improvised stream of sixteenth notes. Although the specific pattern is difficult to hear with all the other instruments and Robinson’s powerful lead vocal, the bongos’ higher rhythmic density and unpredictably changing pitch pattern lead to an overall sensation of forward drive in the groove that is difficult to attach to any single duration as a specific anacrusis. Other changes to the groove create more of a sense of beginning-continuation. The bass guitar keeps the dotted eighth-sixteenth note rhythm that encourages hearing anacrusis to the second quarter note of each bar. But its change in pitch pattern for that second quarter alters my hearing. Since the bass returns to the G within the second quarter note, I hear beginning-continuation, rather than beginning-anacrusis as in the drums-with-bass groove state of Example 3.10. The tambourine might actually be present in the groove states discussed previously, but I can’t hear it. 189  126  A new keyboard part expands the pitch material of previous groove states, enhancing the earlier alternation between G and F to an alternation between a G minor tonic harmony and an F major harmony over two bars. This harmonic information leads to a longer breve durational projection (T-T') that is realized when the groove repeats. However, these chords are articulated as a series of straightforward quarter notes, with a beginning-continuation interpretation at multiple durations that lessens the forward push of the anacruses in other instruments, notably the drum kit articulating the backbeat. The sense of anacrusis on the backbeat is also weakened with the shifts in bongos and bass patterns described previously. The drums themselves do still create an anacrustic sensation; therefore, how this groove state is heard depends on what listeners choose to focus on. If the drums are the focus, an anacrustic backbeat is likely; if other instruments are the focus, the backbeat is more likely continuative. In either situation, this groove state is clearly more continuative and less anacrustic than those previous. One final groove state in “Turn the Beat Around” worth considering is the chorus, shown in Example 3.12. Example 3.12. Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn the Beat Around” chorus groove state.  Q R S T U  Q' R'  S' T'  127  Example 3.12 continued. X  U'  Versions of this groove state are used to accompany the numerous chorus statements and also occasionally appear just prior to the chorus as instrumental passages. The version transcribed here is from (0:47), where there is an instrumental version of the chorus before background and lead vocals state the true chorus with lyrics and melody. This particular groove state, like many of the others discussed in “Turn the Beat Around,” is not entirely consistent from iteration to iteration. For example, the strings do not always play the short gestures in bars 2, 4, 6, and 8, and the hi-hat does not always play the open-closed gestures as shown (sometimes it plays fewer, or omits them entirely). However, an examination of this particular groove iteration will still give a general idea of the chorus meter. The groove state can be divided into two main streams: one that is made up of the strings, brass, and bass guitar, which together play a melodic riff based on the melody but with more repetition; and the other formed by the percussion instruments that have been relatively consistent through all of the groove states shown. Within these two main groupings, however, there is still an independence of individual instruments that affects the meter at different moments.  128  The percussion parts are relatively straightforward, as they mostly continue patterns discussed in other groove states. The bongos are not improvised here, and so contribute to the meter of the drum kit in a similar manner to Example 3.9. Anacrustic backbeats in percussion continue to characterize the groove, with shorter rhythms suggesting anacrusis to quarter note durations (particularly the dotted eighth and sixteenth note rhythm). The hi-hat’s series of open-closed gestures in bar 4 and bar 8 create long anacruses to the following whole notes. The gestures help to differentiate these particular whole note durations from previous and successive ones, and so contribute to an awareness of longer durations for projection. In this sense, the hi-hat gesture could work like the drum fills discussed in Example 2.8 and serve as anacruses to following fourwhole-note durations. However, other factors in this groove state inhibit such a hearing, as will be discussed. The other major grouping of instruments, the strings/brass/bass part, makes extensive use of syncopation and anacrusis to enliven what would otherwise be a very straightforward pattern of beginning-continuation at multiple durations. Bar 1, for example, has two instances of anacrusis-becoming-beginning that push attention forwards towards consecutive quarter note durations. Bars 2 and 4 are instances where short anacrustic gestures in strings and bass are used to fill in what would otherwise be long continuative durations.190 The melodic pattern articulated by these instruments leads to longer durations of a breve (T-T') and four whole notes (U-U'). The continuative nature of bar 2 in relation to bar 1 is clear, but the longer four-whole-note projection is slightly more complicated. Bars 1 and 2 and bars 3 and 4 have essentially the same rhythms (with the exception of the anacrustic gesture in the strings), but though the rhythms are identical, the pitch patterns are not. The strings in bar 2 land on Eb4, a tritone away from the A4 emphasized in the previous bar, and part of a non-tonic Eb chord in the pitched instruments collectively. In  The bass part in bars 2 and 4 might be heard as continuative, particularly as its string of eighth notes unfolds with no change in durations. However, I find my attention is drawn more to the hi-hat and strings, and so tend to hear the bass as part of their anacrustic gestures. At the same time, the bass in bars 2 and 4 breaks away from a part in unison with the brass and strings to play something unique, suggesting anacrusis. 190  129  bar 4, in contrast, the strings land on a stable D4 that is part of the G minor harmony previously established as tonic (see the keyboard part in Example 3.11). This creates a larger sense of beginning-continuation over four whole notes that, along with the louder presence in the mix of the pitched instruments, overwhelms the sense of the hi-hat openclose gesture in bar 4 as an anacrusis to the following four-whole-note duration.191 The last bar of the chorus groove provides an even more interesting metric situation. Initially it might be heard as a deferral, since it does not create an expected new beginning as in bars 1 and 5, and so could be heard as a deferral of the completion of the previous whole note duration. However, the rhythms in strings, brass, and bass push attention forwards with syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning durations that happen on different durations than in previous bars. In earlier bars, the syncopated durations were virtual realizations of projections that ended on the fourth quarter note of one bar, and the first quarter note of the next. In the last bar they realize projections on the third and fourth quarter notes. In terms of pitch, the chord progression rises through F major and suggests a further ascent to the tonic G minor. Even more striking, in the bar following (not shown) any sense of triple meter deferral is denied by the entry of lead and background vocals with the chorus melody and lyrics. I hear the bar instead as a whole note anacrusis leading towards the next beginning, the start of the chorus proper. As the song continues and this extra bar is heard multiple times, the sense of deferral weakens considerably, as I come to expect that the bar will always push my attention forwards into a chorus statement or a new verse. My analysis of four different groove states in “Turn the Beat Around” highlights several features. First, it demonstrates the continuing role of syncopation and anacrusis in the groove, most notably in the anacrustic backbeat (present throughout, although the degree of its presence varies), but also in individual anacrustic gestures such as those  The four-whole-note projection is perhaps easier to hear than my analysis suggests, given that the four-bar phrase paradigm is so widespread in popular music. Stephenson 2002, for example, says that “Rock normally proceeds in four-bar units just as traditional songs do.” (5) Other commentators who have noted the widespread use of four-bar phrases in popular music include Everett 2009 and Moore 2001. In my analyses I prefer to focus on actual musical events in the groove as opposed to expected paradigms; however, it is certain that these paradigms can and do inform our metric experience of grooves. 191  130  heard in the chorus, and in the other short gestures that enliven a groove state despite the presence of other instruments articulating beginning-continuation patterns (for example in the chorus groove of Example 3.12). While individual groove states certainly display a constantly changing musical texture, they also maintain a degree of metric consistency. The continued presence of the anacrustic backbeat is an important part of this, but the presence of the drum kit more generally in all groove states also enhances song and stylistic consistency. Indeed, the song seems to set up the listener to hear the drums as the constant element in an atmosphere of change, by starting with a groove state that features them alone (shown in Example 3.9), and returning to this groove state after improvised extensions that use a variety of instruments. In that sense, Robinson’s lyrics that “it’s got to be the rhythm, no doubt about it” and her continual references to the importance of “the beat” are reflected in the groove structure of the piece itself.192 Although the extended remix of “Turn the Beat Around” certainly features a looser formal structure than many of the other examples in this chapter, it still preserves some of the same connections between form and groove structure described in the analyses of “YMCA” and “Disco Inferno.” The chorus groove is notably denser than the groove for any other section, with more instruments, and more forward-driving syncopation and anacrusis. The chorus also features an extra anacrustic bar, a projective change that makes this formal section truly stand out from its surroundings. Finally, by presenting groove states with such a variety of instrumental configurations (a simple drum kit with bongos; drum kit, bongos, and bass guitar; these three instruments plus keyboard; the percussion group plus strings, brass, and bass; any of these combinations with other instruments overlaid), and also presenting instances where each of these instruments have patterns different from previous and subsequent groove statements (such as the bongo changing from a regular and repeating pattern to an improvised one, or the changes in the hi-hat throughout the song), “Turn the Beat Around” encourages listeners to hear the groove polyphonically, as a collection of The song’s suggestive title could certainly provoke future research into text-groove connections. Mark Butler has already borrowed the term to describe a process common to many electronic dance music tracks where a particular metrical layer is superceded by another, changing the perceived location of the beat (see Butler 2006, 141). 192  131  separate streams rather than a single unity. Moreover, these separate streams are somewhat interchangeable: though the drum kit is present consistently throughout the song, every other part comes and goes, or changes at different times. A methodology such as mine that treats meter not only as polyphonic, but also as particular to every moment, goes a long way towards understanding the metric experience in this fascinating disco song.  Characterizing the Disco Groove Taken collectively, these analyses can help elaborate on the particularities of the disco genre from a metric perspective. Broad characterizations must suffice until deeper research into more subtle subgenre differences is conducted. Characterizing my examples according to Brackett’s three subcategories of disco (R&B, Euro, and pop disco) is difficult since Brackett’s original explanations are so brief and since there is not enough space here to fully explore the metric details of each subcategory.193 But regardless of the stylistic category that each song falls into, considering the examples as a group reveals that there are certain metric elements that all the songs studied, and perhaps all disco songs, share. First, it is clear that the four-on-the-floor drum beat is a standard part of every disco groove, as has already been recognized. However, what many commentators miss are the details in that pattern that make individual grooves unique. Examining drum patterns alone, as in Example 3.1 and in other grooves throughout the chapter, makes it clear that the percussion section in disco is incredibly varied, particularly in terms of the use of hi-hat to provide anacrusis at smaller durations. For example, in “Stayin’ Alive” longer projections are suggested because of the single instance of the open-close hi-hat gesture, while “Dancing Queen” uses the gesture to create a constant anacrusis on every quarter note, in addition to creating a longer projection with the addition of a second hihat and short drum fill. Exclusive attention to the four-on-the-floor beat misses other features of the drum kit that are equally consistent across numerous grooves. One is the use of an anacrustic backbeat: every groove discussed featured snare hits on the backbeat to create anacrusis Most of my examples are likely pop disco, with two (“(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” and “Disco Inferno”) perhaps closer to R&B disco. 193  132  to each half note beginning. Another is the articulation of anacrusis that directs listener attention towards every quarter note beginning, because of the hi-hat gestures ranging from open-closed hits, to offbeat closed strikes, to the occasional use of other instruments (such as the bongos in “Turn the Beat Around”). Grooves that do not have this constant quarter note anacrusis, such as “Stayin’ Alive,” have a much more laid-back feeling, although they are still considered part of the disco genre. This perhaps suggests another way of characterizing disco songs, one that steps outside Brackett’s categories of stylistic influence and examines the function of each song on the dance floor (building energy and excitement versus allowing for rest or closer contact between dancers, for example). The details of individual drum patterns helps makes each song’s groove unique, but are also a fundamental part of groove consistency or change within a single song. For example, “YMCA” uses the same hi-hat gesture in verse and chorus to preserve some sense of unity while other instruments change. In another case, “Disco Inferno” uses different hi-hat parts for verse and chorus to create a striking contrast between the two sections. And the extended mix of “Turn the Beat Around” features much more fluid changes to the drum kit pattern, reflecting its more fluid formal structure. Moving beyond the percussion section, many other elements of the disco groove also contribute to disco’s particular meter. One important feature of the disco genre is the sense of forward drive created by different instruments in the groove. Disco is generally a high-energy dance genre, and there is a strong motivation amongst musicians, producers, and DJs to keep dancers moving, and keep them on the dance floor. One source of this drive is the near-constant articulation of anacrusis in the hi-hat towards quarter note onsets, but other gestures add further variety. Anacrustic groups, found in many of the grooves discussed, are particularly influential in this regard. The gestures may happen in a single instrument, or one instrument of the groove may build on or expand the anacrusis in another. For example, in “Dancing Queen” the snare drum backbeat is lengthened with anacrustic groups in the bass guitar that lead into the backbeat itself. At other times, anacrustic gestures push the groove towards its own beginning, such as with the keyboard gesture in the verse for “Disco Inferno,” or with the extra bar at the end of the chorus for “Turn the Beat Around.”  133  Syncopation is also used in specific ways to add forward drive and energy. Sometimes an instrument will play a melodic riff that contains instances of syncopation to enliven a particular part of the groove, such as the guitar part in “Stayin’ Alive” or the strings/brass/bass part in the chorus of “Turn the Beat Around.” Other times, diatonic rhythms are used to create a sense of forward motion through their contrast with duple meter, such as the piano part in “Dancing Queen” and the keyboard and guitar parts in “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty.” These diatonic rhythms in particular would be developed even further in later electronic dance music genres. The use of pitch has a considerable impact on the degree of forward drive listeners feel in the disco groove. Often, however, it seems to thwart forward motion: in the verse of “Turn the Beat Around,” the regular alternation of G minor and F major chords suggests beginning-continuation, in contrast with anacrusis in other instruments. In other cases, pitch can be used to increase forward drive. The chorus of the same song adds an extra bar that could be heard as a hiatus or pause in the projective field; however, the use of F major in this instance pushes attention forwards towards an expected resolution on the tonic. The difference is linked to a particular context, to be sure, but also to rhythm, suggesting that perhaps duration remains the starting point for metrical decisions, but that pitch nuances these decisions in numerous ways. An aspect of forward drive not discussed in these examples is the influence of tempo. Earlier I described the groove for “Stayin’ Alive” as laid-back, because of the lack of a constant quarter note anacrusis. However, equally influential for this sensation is the slower tempo (around 105 beats per minute rather than the more-common disco tempo closer to 120 bpm). Though a slow tempo does not always correlate with a lack of anacrusis (see for example “Dancing Queen”) certainly it is important in the manipulation of listener sensation of forward energy in the groove. Disco also features a particular interaction between groove meter and form, an interaction that reflects its ties to the broader popular music tradition. Different sections commonly use different grooves, and often the chorus groove is more texturally dense and filled with more anacrusis than in other sections. One example of this is the contrast between verse and chorus grooves in “YMCA,” where the chorus changes the bass part to add more anacrusis to each quarter note than existed previously.  134  At the same time, disco starts to break away from previous formal traditions, as the analysis of “Turn the Beat Around” shows. In longer tracks such as this one, the construction of the groove is more clearly polyphonic or modular, as different parts are constantly added, removed, or changed. There is still a sense of increasing the groove’s intensity for chorus statements, but the composition of the groove is much more fluid and formal divisions themselves are less predictable. Situations like this one give an added importance to my process-based analytical stance, as the groove and its meter change much more frequently than in shorter verse-chorus songs. The disco genre with its characteristic four-on-the-floor beat has been shown here to have much greater metric interest than a cursory assessment might suggest. Where a superficial analysis of the four-on-the-floor pattern might indicate that all disco grooves have the same 4/4 meter, each example in this chapter demonstrates a different sort of metric complexity, with different qualities and projections attached to each duration. This demonstrates not only the richness and diversity of this underappreciated genre, but also the ability of a meter-as-process approach to bring out these unique and interesting features in analysis. The meter manifest in the disco genre is obviously not without its antecedents. Brackett’s categories, for example, demonstrate the importance of funk and R&B in shaping disco’s particular grooves. One of the most influential genres for disco (and indeed, for many other genres of popular music) is Motown. From the varied orchestration of the Motown sound, to the enhanced role of the producer in a song’s creation, to social aspects such as the breaking of barriers for black musicians in commercial pop and the crossover aspects of Motown’s hits, the genre paved the way for disco in many respects.194 The next chapter’s exploration of Motown’s particular characteristic beat will illuminate one of disco’s primary antecedents, and further deepen analytical discussion of metric features such as anacrusis and syncopation that are vital to all genres of groove-based popular music.  194  For more on Motown’s influence on disco, see Echols 2010, 12-17. 135  Chapter 4 Meter in the “Motown Sound” “Swooping string arrangements by Paul Riser, infectiously gritty grooves ground out by one of the funkiest rhythm sections in human history—pianist Earl Van Dyke, bassist James Jamerson, drummer Benny Benjamin, guitarists Robert White, Eddie Willis and Joe Messina; killer charts by cats like Hank Cosby and Gil Askey; the striking sound of singers like Diana and David and Mary and Martha. [The Motown sound] was a mixture of all this—and more.” —Smokey Robinson195 Historians, journalists, scholars, and musicians have all struggled to define the “Motown Sound” that led to so many memorable hits through the 1960s. From Motown’s first major hit in 1960 (“Shop Around” sung by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles) through to the beginning of the end of Motown’s golden era with the departure of hit writers and producers Holland-Dozier-Holland in 1968,196 ending with Motown’s relocation of its headquarters from Detroit to Los Angeles in 1972, the label presented a string of hits that defined a new genre of popular music. Although observations such as Smokey Robinson’s identify some key influences, there is still a great need for further explanation of the particular musical features that define the genre. Jon Fitzgerald has begun the process of analyzing Motown hits from a musicological perspective, focusing his attention on the songs written and produced by the three-man team of Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland (usually identified as Holland-Dozier-Holland, or H-D-H).197 Fitzgerald identifies several general characteristics of the H-D-H repertoire, including trends in lyrical themes, melodic scales and contours, tempo, rhythmic motives, harmonic patterns, and formal structures. In particular, Fitzgerald writes, “...H-D-H elevated rhythm to new structural status. Working...with the talented Motown session players, H-D-H would consistently derive Smokey Robinson with David Ritz, Smokey: Inside My Life (New York: McGraw Hill, 1989), 137. 196 Joe McEwen and Jim Miller, “Motown,” in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, ed. Anthony DeCurtis and James Henke with Holly George-Warren (New York: Random House, 1992), 289. 197 Jon Fitzgerald, “Motown Crossover Hits 1963-1966 and the Creative Process,” Popular Music 14/1 (January 1995), 1-11. 195  136  catchy rhythmic or rhythmic/chordal motifs and use them as a foundation for either a complete song, or a particular section of the song.”198 It is clear that Fitzgerald’s “rhythmic or rhythmic/chordal motifs” are equivalent to what are more commonly referred to as riffs and grooves. Indeed, the grooves of Motown are an essential part of the “Motown sound” that demand further investigation. They are also unique among popular music genres for the consistency of their creation across numerous songs. In addition to being recorded almost exclusively in the Motown studios in Detroit with a limited number of producers and songwriters shaping the studio’s output, most Motown grooves in the 1960s were played by a single house band, the self-titled Funk Brothers. The band consisted of a core group of session players, including James Jamerson on bass, Eddie Willis, Robert White, and Joe Messina on guitars; Earl Van Dyke, Johnny Griffith, and Joe Hunter on keyboards; Benny Benjamin, Uriel Jones and Richard “Pistol” Allen on drums; and Eddy “Bongo” Brown and Jack Ashford on percussion. This already lush instrumentation was often further augmented with the addition of brass and strings. In Motown the Funk Brothers not only played the groove, but in many cases created it, generating song arrangements based on minimal information provided by the song’s composers and producers. Although these musicians were uncredited on the recordings at the time, the Funk Brothers are increasingly seen as the primary source of Motown’s musical soundscape.199 Their backgrounds as jazz, R&B, and gospel musicians only strengthened the label’s goal of bringing black popular music genres into the mainstream for the first time.200 Keyboardist Earl Van Dyke, the Funk Brothers’ unofficial bandleader,201 has commented on the special quality of the Motown rhythm section.  Fitzgerald 1995, 5. See for example Allan Slutsky’s (writing as Dr. Licks) book Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Hal Leonard, 1989), and the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown directed by Paul Justman (Santa Monica, California: Artisan Entertainment, 2002). 200 See McEwen and Miller 1992. 201 Allan Slutsky, “Motown: the history of a hit-making sound and the keyboardists who made it happen,” Keyboard Magazine (May 1993), 88-89. 198 199  137  In most rhythm sections, you might have four or five players, but at Motown we usually had nine or ten, and sometimes as many as a dozen. That’s why it was so powerful. You might have three guitars, two keyboards, two or three percussionists, two drums, and even two basses on one tune. We were also much tighter and much more precise than any other rhythm section around. When Robert [White] and I played parts in unison, we played so close and tight that a lot of times they would stop the session and say ‘I can’t hear the piano’ or ‘I can’t hear the guitar’ because they couldn’t separate us.202 Pinpointing the Funk Brothers as the consistent source of Motown’s grooves makes a general characterization of the musical genre easier. The tight sound and instrumental doubling described by Van Dyke helps to unify the diversity of instruments playing on any one song. Further, although there is a wide variety of instrumental timbres across various grooves, each instrument is often quite specific: for example, the bass on most recordings is not just any bass, but James Jamerson's 1962 Fender Precision. The use of a single recording studio (called the Snakepit), a limited number of sound engineers and producers, and owner Berry Gordy Jr.'s meticulous oversight of every release lends further consistency to Motown grooves. Even more important than the timbral qualities that unify Motown grooves and distinguish them from other musical genres are the metric features that unite the repertoire. Fitzgerald identifies two rhythmic elements of the groove as important components of the Motown sound: the backbeat and syncopation.203 Both of these general metric features are part of virtually all genres of popular music, but an exploration of their specific manifestation in Motown will deepen understanding of its specific musical characteristics and will provide further evidence for the variety of particular meters that unfold in popular music grooves. In addition, the high-pressure Motown work environment (often compared to Detroit's famous auto assembly lines204) likely led the Funk Brothers to use a repertoire of standard patterns in order to produce a recording more quickly. With “two or three sessions a day, six days a week,” some standardization of riffs and grooves was an absolute  Quoted in Slutsky 1993, 93. Fitzgerald 2007, 113. 204 McEwen and Miller 1992, 282. 202 203  138  necessity.205 Thus not only does the timbre of Benny Benjamin’s drum kit, for example, remain the same throughout many of Motown’s hits, but his particular patterns and fills also tend to recur in many different grooves.206 First, however, a note on transcription. Although the Funk Brothers’ grooves are appealing for analytical study, their tight instrumentation presents difficulties for scholars transcribing Motown tracks. Instruments that double parts are often difficult to distinguish aurally (the same difficulty Van Dyke mentions for the producers overseeing the original recordings). This is particularly the case for recordings made before 1964, when the studio upgraded to eight-track recording technology.207 As a result, the transcriptions that follow notate only those instruments that I can hear, though others may be contributing to the sound in subtle ways. Additionally, as studio musicians did not receive credit in the liner notes of Motown releases, it is impossible to know which musicians are playing on each track. In the transcriptions and commentary that follow, I attribute instrumental parts based on descriptions such as Slutsky’s above, but these attributions are best guesses rather than definitive accreditations.  Backbeats In Example 4.1, transcribed from the opening of the first verse to Mary Wells’ “My Guy,” the handclaps and snare drum attacks fall on beats 2 and 4, the backbeats. As described in Chapter 2 and seen in practice in Chapter 3, in much popular music backbeats receive accents of density and loudness, increasing the strength of what would normally be considered weak beats in a standard 4/4 metrical framework. In a projective context, anacrustic backbeats direct listener attention forwards towards the beginning of the next half note, while continuative backbeats reflect back towards a previous beginning.  Slutsky 1989, 36. In the film Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002), drummer Richard “Pistol” Allen demonstrates drum fills typifying the style of each session player. 207 The first eight-track Motown recording was the Supremes’ “Baby Love;” prior to this the studio had only two or three tracks. Slutsky 1989, 81. 205 206  139  Example 4.1. Mary Wells, “My Guy” basic groove.208  Q R S  Q'  R' S'  Recall that the metric judgment of a backbeat as anacrustic or continuative depends on local context. In Matthew Butterfield’s initial discussion of a Hasty-style interpretation of backbeats, he describes general cases where backbeats are anacrustic (see Example 2.2a) or continuative (see Example 2.2b), depending on the durations heard in snare and bass drums. In Examples 2.3, 2.4, and 2.6 I described in more detail how other modifications to the bass and snare drums’ durations, along with different patterns in other percussion instruments such as hi-hat and cowbell, can further nuance our Mary Wells, “My Guy,” composed by Smokey Robinson, produced by Smokey Robinson (Mary Wells Sings My Guy [single]: Motown M1056, 1964). 208  140  understanding of backbeats, to the point where we can entertain either anacrustic or continuative sensations, or even both at the same moment, depending on what instruments we focus on. The present discussion of particular Motown grooves will continue to elaborate on the effect of duration in the interpretation of the backbeat. But it will also expand on these analyses to deal with issues of timbre both within the drum kit and in other instruments articulating the backbeat, and with the effect of mix quality on the backbeat’s metric interpretation. The previous chapter on disco demonstrated the variety of ways that a specific genre of popular music could employ the backbeat. In every single example, the backbeat was anacrustic in the drums, likely reflecting the importance of propulsion and futuredirected motion in the dance-oriented disco genre. Other instruments, however, did not always reinforce such a hearing, often avoiding the backbeat with their rhythms or, in some cases, playing patterns that suggested continuation on the backbeat rather than anacrusis (consider the bass in “YMCA,” Example 3.7). In Motown, different instrumentation, and different stylistic aims, have the potential to create other possibilities for the backbeat, and to distinguish this musical genre from others. In “My Guy,” all percussion attacks on the backbeats sound anacrustic. The high snare timbre that typically suggests this metric function in the drum kit is reinforced by prominent hand claps (from at least two pairs of hands) that also have a striking timbral difference from the booming bass drum and bass guitar that provide beginnings to half note projections (R-R'). The echoing reverb effect after each hand clap also pushes listener attention forward to the next half note beginning. The hi-hat’s swung eighths do not contribute to the articulation of backbeats, but do provide other anacrusis, as the long-short swing pattern ensures that every second eighth note pushes towards the beginning of the following quarter note because of the shorter interonset duration between that attack and the subsequent one.209 Two other streams in the groove provide more varied metric processes that sometimes support and sometimes contrast with the percussion’s backbeat anacruses. The saxophones, organ, and piano/guitar part (a first example of the problem of near-  Butterfield 2006 includes a projective analysis of the generalized swing pattern in paragraph 20. 209  141  indistinguishable instruments in Motown grooves) strongly attack the G-Bb dyad, perhaps suggesting that it be heard as a beginning. However, in the context of the groove, and particularly the overwhelming presence of the drum kit and hand claps in the mix, I hear a beginning at the start of the instruments’ pattern, created with the low piano/guitar Bb in combination with drums and bass. The Bb’s quiet articulation does, however, create a separation between it and the next F sufficient to make that F an anacrusis. The G-Bb dyad is thus a syncopated virtual realization of the quarter note projection Q'. The increased length of the duration combined with the staccato articulation of the next event make the following quarter note an anacrusis, reinforcing the anacrustic backbeat that happens simultaneously. The repetition of this pattern leads to the longer whole note projection (S-S'), a projection not evident from the percussion pattern alone. The other instrumental stream in this groove, the bass, could present a different interpretation for the last quarter note of the bar, with its A a continuation of the half note begun with the low F because it is an arpeggiation of the F major chord articulated by the pitched instruments. Alternatively, if listeners have a stronger affinity for leading tone motion, the bass’s A could be heard as anacrustic to the Bb that follows. The start of the bass’s pattern is less ambiguous, as it uses a different rhythm to create anacrusis to the same half note beginning as does the backbeat, strengthening its future-directed push. Depending on listeners’ pitch predilections, then, the bass either reinforces the anacrustic backbeats articulated by other instruments, or creates a subtly lopsided listening experience, with the first backbeat anacrustic, and the second tempered by some continuation.210 The strength of the percussion section in the mix means that, unless a listener is focusing specifically on the bass, the groove for “My Guy” maintains an anacrustic backbeat. However, the metrical difference among instruments of the groove This bass line shares a similar contour to the bass line heard in “Turn the Beat Around” (Example 3.10), where the final pitch is anacrustic because of leading tone motion. The bass in “Turn the Beat Around” is more clearly anacrustic, however, in part because of tempo: “Turn the Beat Around” is much faster, making it easier to anticipate and hear resolution of the leading tone. In addition, the number of times the pitch pattern repeats per groove repetition in “Turn the Beat Around” is much higher, reinforcing the sensation of the G tonic as a stable goal, while in “My Guy” the pattern is heard only once per groove repetition, making it easier to hear two separate harmonies within each groove repetition. 210  142  demonstrates that most Motown backbeats, and the musical texture that surrounds them, are more complicated than the generalized drum beat examples of Chapter 2 could demonstrate. “He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’,” shown in Example 4.2, uses guitars, handclaps, and snare drum to articulate the backbeat, hitting beats two and four in alternation with bass guitar and bass drum on beats one and three. In terms of durations alone, this appears to be the same situation as Butterfield’s two-beat rock groove of Example 2.2a.  143  Example 4.2. The Velvelettes, “He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’” basic groove.211  Q R S  ( )  ( )  ( )  ( )  Q' R' S'  T  (realized on repetition)  The Velvelettes, “He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’,” composed by Norman Whitfield, William “Mickey” Stevenson, Edward Holland, produced by Norman Whitfield (He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’ [single]: V.I.P. 25013 A, 1964). 211  144  The interpretation of the backbeat is more complicated than durations alone suggest. The snare drum backbeats are often inaudible in the mix, reducing the importance of timbre in distinguishing anacrustic backbeats. The guitar attacks are all staccato and so suggest anacrusis because of the uncertainty created by the shortened duration. In terms of pitch, however, the guitar chords articulate the harmonies begun on the previous quarter note by the bass and piano, suggesting a sensation of continuation. Finally, the handclaps are much more imprecise than their transcribed duration indicates, as the musicians bring their hands together at slightly different moments, resulting in a ragged overall attack that continues longer than the staccato articulation in other backbeat instruments. I still hear the backbeats as anacrustic, despite these complexities. In terms of timbre, dynamic, and placement in the mix, the guitars are quite distinct from the rest of the pitched instruments, creating a sense of separation that inhibits the feeling of harmonic continuation as the guitar’s role in the ensemble is linked more to duration than to pitch. The hand clap parts are only ragged-sounding on a close listen with headphones, and sound more like a single duration in more casual listening circumstances. The groove’s sense of anacrusis on the backbeat is aided by the tambourine part, which adds anacrusis on the second half of each backbeat towards the quarter note beginning that coincides with the half note beginning of the backbeat itself. Although the tambourine’s anacrusis points towards a different duration (a quarter note rather than a half note), it still supports the forward drive of the backbeat’s anacrusis through its placement within the timespan of the backbeat itself. Piano, trombone, and bass guitar fit around the backbeat in interesting ways. Both piano and bass have eighth note pairs that suggest beginning-continuation, and the bass anticipates harmonic changes with anacruses towards some quarter notes. This anticipation, combined with the frequent (at this tempo) chord changes, draws my attention to the longer durations articulated by the harmonies. The opening C major chord establishes a beginning, continued by the move to F major. The C7 chord  145  establishes a new whole note beginning, further highlighted by the syncopated anacrusisbecoming-beginning gesture in piano and trombone.212 At the end of the second bar the bass guitar has an anacrustic group. In this instance, the anacrusis is not created through contour (such as a rising pitch pattern towards the C that begins the groove). The rhythm of the gesture in isolation is unremarkable, given that it is a series of eighth notes that normally would be heard as beginning-continuation. In context, however, after the shorter and more fragmented rhythms of the first bar and a half, the sudden appearance of a steady series of eighth notes creates the sensation of forward drive towards a new beginning. The anacrustic gesture is further reinforced with backing vocals, shown in a small staff above the bass line since their pattern does not repeat consistently enough to be considered a part of the groove. When they do sing this gesture, the vocals emerge after a long period of rest, suggesting an interpretation of an anacrustic group for the entire five attacks. Moreover, the preceding rest in backing vocals propels the entire groove towards a new breve beginning (T-T'), in addition to the next whole note beginning suggested by bass alone. Example 4.3, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “I Second That Emotion,” presents yet another instance where the backbeat’s general anacrustic tendencies are surrounded with metrically particular musical material.  In this instance, the added seventh is not a dissonance that requires resolution; it is a stable chord tone created by the stepwise voice-leading upwards in the piano (G-A-Bb). The voice-leading might suggest hearing the F major chord as anacrusis to the next whole note, since it passes between the C and C7 harmonies, but in this case I find that the staccato articulation in piano combined with the eighth note rest in piano and bass makes the F major chord more connected to the previous C major chord, rather than uncertain and forward-pointing as in other instances of staccato durations. 212  146  Example 4.3. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “I Second That Emotion” basic groove.213  ( )  T  (realized on  repetition)  ( )  ( )  Q R S  Q' R' S'  The eighth notes in the bass drum recall Butterfield’s analysis shown in Example 2.2b. Butterfield, citing Hasty’s concept of duration completion, analyzes the backbeats in his generalized example as continuative, since the short-short-long pattern promotes a sense of completing a half note with the backbeat, rather than anticipating the next half  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “I Second That Emotion,” composed by Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland, produced by Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland (I Second That Emotion [single]: Tamla T 54159 A, 1967). 213  147  note beginning. Since the drum part in Example 4.3 is the same, one would expect the backbeats to be similarly continuative in this case. However, other instruments suggest anacrusis on the backbeat in contrast to the drum kit’s rhythm. Guitar 2 strikes loud, staccato chords on beats two and four, its rests on beats one and three also helping to create a future-directed push. Further, since the harmony is unchanging for most of the groove, there is less chance of hearing the guitar as continuing harmonies begun on the previous quarter note (in contrast with “He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’”). Bongo drums also reinforce an anacrustic feel on the backbeat. The timbral contrast between the low and high bongos is pronounced, reinforcing the existing timbral contrast between bass and snare that creates anacrusis in a standard quarter note rhythm. The numerous sixteenth notes in the bongos part also helps draw listener attention forward at smaller durations: the second quarter note of the first bar, for example, has a dotted eighth-to-sixteenth rhythm that pushes to the next quarter note. The instrument I focus on in the groove thus affects the metric quality of the backbeat. The tambourine’s steady shakes do not reinforce any sort of backbeat, continuative or anacrustic, but instead augment the texture with a faster surface rhythm that suggests beginning-continuation at the quarter note (the whole note beginningcontinuation above the tambourine part refers to the percussion group and Guitar 2 together).214 The bass guitar also adds faster surface rhythms, its patterns here prototypical of Motown grooves in ways that will be discussed in more detail in the next section on syncopation. In addition to its shorter rhythms that are active at smaller durational projections (not shown on the example), the bass’s pattern also suggests longer whole note projections, with the second part of each whole note devoted to an anacrustic gesture. In the first bar, the register shift, syncopation, and subsequent pitch descent towards the tonic D all group the bass part into a single anacrustic gesture; while in the second bar the quick sixteenth-note Ds followed by an ascending pitch motion towards tonic also create motion towards the next whole note beginning. Both of these anacruses contrast with the whole note continuation in other instruments (shown above guitar 3). On some hearings of the song, I notice a slight tambourine hit on every backbeat, which would reinforce an anacrustic interpretation. However, the quality of the mix makes it difficult for me to assert this definitively. 214  148  The longest projection, a breve (T), is articulated by guitars 1 and 3. Guitar 3’s steady whole note chords suggest a standard beginning-continuation hearing of the duration, or even two whole note beginnings. However, guitar 1 has a long rest for much of its duration, followed by an anacrustic group. Because of the implied beginning created by the long rest, and the prominence in the mix of guitar 1’s gesture when it finally occurs, I hear the entire part as suggesting anacrusis towards the following breve projection.215 These three examples have presented three slightly different articulations of the backbeat in the Motown groove. In “My Guy,” snare drum and hand claps clearly articulate an anacrustic backbeat that is separated from a prior beginning by timbre, texture, and dynamics. In “He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’,” although the backbeatarticulating hand claps, snare drum, and guitar all have some features that could prevent an anacrustic hearing, in the end I still hear a future-directed push on beats two and four. And in “I Second That Emotion,” the drum kit backbeat is continuative on its own, but guitar and bongo parts suggest that the backbeat is still heard as anacrustic in the groove as a whole. Not only does this show that the anacrustic backbeat is an important, genredefining feature of the Motown groove, but it also demonstrates particular instrumental roles for the Funk Brothers’ ensemble. Snare drum is obviously of crucial importance in backbeat articulation, but hand claps and a single guitar are also used consistently to emphasize the backbeat and give it the energy of anacrusis. Even in these three songs, however, there is still flexibility in the choice of instruments that emphasized the backbeat (for example, bongos and an absence of hand claps in “I Second That Emotion”). This mixture of consistency and variety is even more apparent in the instruments surrounding the backbeat in the groove. Instruments such as piano, organ, bass, guitar, saxophones and brass are used to articulate harmonies and longer durations for projection, but with a variety of repeating patterns that may or may not incorporate syncopation and anacrusis.  An alternative interpretation could be to hear guitars 1 and 3 as a single stream, because of their similar timbres. If this is the case, the anacrustic gesture in guitar 1 would only be anacrustic to the following whole note. However, I find that guitar 1’s anacrusis sticks out in the texture so much that even though its timbre is similar to that of guitar 3, I hear the two guitars as separate. 215  149  Even within a single song it is possible to create variety both within the backbeat and in the way other instruments in the groove complement it. Two further examples will make this clear. Example 4.4 shows the introduction and beginning of the first verse to The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).”  150  Example 4.4. The Four Tops, “I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” introduction and first verse groove.216  P Q R S  P'  Q'  R' S'  breve projection interrupted?  The Four Tops, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” composed by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland Jr., produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier (Four Tops' Second Album: Motown MS634, 1965). 216  151  Example 4.4 continued.  T U (longer projections continue as previously)  T'  U'  152  The introduction to “I Can’t Help Myself” gradually adds instruments to the texture, using the buildup technique (see Chapter 5). Initially the only instrument articulating the backbeat is the hi-hat. Although the hi-hat’s generally weaker dynamic may suggest a similarly weak anacrusis, in fact the hi-hat is relatively prominent in the mix, and clearly separates backbeats from previous attacks. The tambourine joins the hihat in bar 5, strengthening the anacrusis as both instruments provide a more striking difference in both timbre and volume from the bass drum marking half-note beginnings, and from the increased number of instruments in the groove at this point. In the verse, the hi-hat disappears (or is buried by the mix), and in fact the drum kit stops articulating backbeats altogether, switching instead to a steady stream of quarter-note snare drum attacks. However, the addition of standard guitar-chord backbeats at this point helps compensate for the hi-hat’s absence, ensuring that backbeats are still heard as anacrustic. However, in both introduction and verse the backbeats are not the only thing happening in the groove, and in fact other elements of the groove may draw listener attention away from the anacrusis on the backbeat, rather than work with it as in previous examples. In the introduction, the driving eighth-note pattern in piano, bass, and strings gives significant momentum to the groove, not only through the gradual increase in instrumental texture and dynamics, but through the pitch pattern as well. The opening two bars strongly emphasize each C (particularly the second C), suggesting a hearing that groups the pattern according to these accented pitches. The resulting meter has a half note beginning, followed by a syncopated anacrusis-becoming beginning that virtually realizes the half note projection Q, and a third C that works as anacrusis to the following half note. Such a hearing is reinforced with the entry of the piano right hand, which makes clear the analysis shown in the example.217 The strings enter in bar 5, further thickening the texture. I initially expect that their pattern will repeat to articulate a breve, as did the bass and piano previously. However, the strings’ leap up an octave in bar 6 disconnect this attack from the previous whole note, suggesting a new beginning rather than the expected continuation of an If one focuses on individual eighth notes in the pattern, it might be possible to hear some sort of diatonic rhythm, grouping the notes as 3+3+2 or as 3+2+3, depending on whether the final G or A is more important. However, I think the tempo is too quick for such a detailed hearing. 217  153  unfolding breve. The effect of this change may be minimal, given the fast tempo and the fact that only the strings’ register changes. In any case, the change further distracts listeners from the anacrustic backbeat happening at shorter durations. In the verse, the instrumental parts suggest even longer durational projections than in the introduction, and again these tend to draw my attention away from the anacrustic backbeats. The bass part continues the same rhythm as in the introduction, but now includes a longer chord progression, activating breve and four-whole-note projections, because the tempo is fast enough to hear the duration of the G chord as continuing a long duration begun with the opening C chord. The vibraphone’s rhythm also emphasizes the four-whole-note projection, since its initial two bars move up in register to arrive on the G-B dyad of bar 9. The F-A dyad of bar 11 begins a new phrase that initially follows the first in terms of rhythm, if not pitch. The vibraphone part, like the piano right hand in the introduction, groups the eighth notes of the continuing bass guitar riff into longer durations, many of which create diatonic rhythms. However, I still hear each instance as a syncopated anacrusisbecoming-beginning. In part, this demonstrates a conservative listening approach, as I tend to apply my previous analysis to this new situation rather than hear the vibraphone in an entirely new way. However, this approach is also encouraged by the fact that on the first 3+3+2 rhythm (bar 8), the pitches of the quarter note duration serve as a passing note, suggesting anacrusis rather than a denied deferral, and also suggesting that the two preceding pitches be grouped separately from the third rather than joined into an almosttriple pattern. The single unequivocal 3+3+2 rhythm on identical pitches in bar 10 is not enough to sway my interpretation, as subsequent bars do not repeat that particular rhythm. In the final bar of the example, both vibraphone and bass deviate from expected patterns of pitch and rhythm to play a rhythm that is grouped as a single anacrustic gesture. This gesture is anacrustic to the following breve only, rather than to the next four-whole-note projection, because of the overall phrase structure of the verse. The first four bars (bars 7-10) appear to have their parallel in the second four (bars 11-14), with similar rhythms in instruments of the groove, and an identical harmonic rhythm. However, bar 14 breaks the parallelism, suggesting anacrusis because of the change in  154  rhythm and the ascending pitch contour in vibraphone and bass to upper neighbour tones that seek resolution. It is not enough of a change, however, to encourage listeners to re-evaluate earlier projections; instead, the change suggests anacrusis towards the following breve and no longer. Although “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” does maintain the Motown signature anacrustic backbeat, developments in other instruments of the groove draw attention away from its constant articulations. The overwhelming presence of the snare drum in the verse that nearly masks the tambourine backbeat, combined with longer durations in other instruments, distracts listener attention from that particular metric feature. Example 4.5 shows an even more involved development of the backbeat, with the introduction, first verse, and first chorus of the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love.”  Example 4.5. The Supremes, “You Can't Hurry Love” introduction, verse, and chorus groove states.218 a) Introduction (0:00)  Q R S  Q'  R' S'  The Supremes, “You Can’t Hurry Love,” composed by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland Jr., produced by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier (You Can’t Hurry Love [single]: Motown M 1097 A, 1966). 218  155  Example 4.5 continued. b) Verse (0:08)  Q R S  Q' R' S'  156  Example 4.5 continued. c) Chorus (0:17)  Q R S  Q' R' S'  T  T'  157  In the first bars of the introduction, the backbeat is articulated solely by the tambourine hits. The soft shakes between hits create contrast, suggesting that the backbeats are anacruses. However, this hearing conflicts with the bass line, where the opening three quarter notes strongly suggest beginning-continuation. Despite this conflict, I tend to maintain an anacrustic interpretation on beats two and four. In part, this has to do with stylistic expectations: I hear the opening texture of the song as minimal compared to typical Motown songs, and so expect that the backbeat will be reinforced with other instruments soon. The second bar of the bass pattern also helps overcome the sense of continuation in the first bar, presenting many anticipatory syncopations that promote a sense of looking forwards towards future material. The contrast between bars 1 and 2 results in different interpretations at the whole note; bar 1 is divided into beginningcontinuation, while bar 2 is beginning-anacrusis. With the entry of the snare drum, the backbeat created by the tambourine hits is strengthened. The timbre of this particular snare drum is quite hollow, bleeding its sound throughout its quarter note duration, suggesting a metric interpretation that is even more active and forward-looking than most snare drum backbeats. But the newly strengthened backbeat is challenged with the groove changes that occur with the entry of lead vocalist Diana Ross with the first verse. A guitar part joins the rhythm initially articulated by bass guitar and bass drum, but now adds chord changes that encourage the projection of breve durations that were less obvious in the introduction. The rate of pattern repetition in the drum kit also reinforces this longer projection, as does Ross’s vocal phrasing (not shown). However, the combination of tambourine and snare drum is still forward in the mix, resulting in continued emphasis on backbeat anacruses. The guitar’s anticipation of the second bar of its two-bar rhythmic pattern also lends some additional anacrustic sensation that coincides with the anacrusis to the following half note that occurs with the backbeat drum pattern. The guitar plays a syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning that energizes the end of the second backbeat duration in each bar with the anacrustic portion of the syncopation, and heightens the sense of arrival on the subsequent beginning. A bass drum attack at the same place has a similar effect. These events contribute to the overall sense of anacrusis during the backbeat’s duration, and reinforce the link between the longer projections of the guitar  158  and the shorter ones of the backbeat, suggesting that listeners can maintain an awareness of both durations unfolding. The imminent arrival of the chorus is signaled by an anacrustic gesture in the bass, created with a register leap and a stepwise pitch ascent towards the tonic Bb. With the chorus comes an increase in the song’s instrumentation, as background vocals, recorder, and trombone are added, and guitar returns to a lower register to fill in the wide gap between it and the bass guitar.219 Not all of the added instruments are considered part of the groove: the background vocals and recorder mostly double the lead vocal’s melody line, and so are not transcribed. However, those added instrumental parts that are part of the groove change the nature of the backbeat once more. The guitar plays short durations on the backbeat, following the same typical Motown pattern observed in earlier examples. Here as elsewhere, the short duration, rests on expected beginnings, and dynamic accent suggest anacrusis, matching the interpretation of the tambourine and snare and so strengthening the backbeat’s anacrustic interpretation. However, if one focuses more attention on the harmonic progression (perhaps holding over an impression of the guitar from the verse, which drew attention to it there), the guitar might be heard as continuing previously established harmonies and durations, rather than pointing forwards to new ones. The trombone also emphasizes the harmonic progression, its long durations reinforcing the breve (S-S') and four-whole-note (T-T') projections. With this additional emphasis on the groove’s harmonic progression over time, along with the instrumental and vocal reinforcement on the melody line, the backbeats might fall into the background of listener awareness. At the very least, however, the addition of the guitar in the chorus provides some support for continuing to focus on them, since in every section the specific nature of the backbeat’s articulation is different. Both “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” support Fitzgerald’s assertion that the backbeat is an important part of the Motown groove, across different song sections as well as within single sections. However, each song articulates the backbeat in unique ways, not only when comparing single Walter Everett explains that such an increase is typical in the chorus: “...the largerthan-life chorus often has a thicker texture, and perhaps more dramatic harmonies, melodic shape, or rhythms than are characteristic of the verse.” Everett 2009, 145. 219  159  grooves, but in the treatment of the backbeat over time. “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” builds the number of instruments articulating the backbeat both within the introduction and in the verse, but masks the backbeat with the constant snare attacks in the verse. In “You Can’t Hurry Love,” the anacrustic backbeat is modified in each song section in a way that constantly re-emphasizes its role in the groove. In both songs, however, harmonic and melodic material from other instruments may draw attention away from an explicit focus on the backbeat, and towards longer projections and musical processes. These two longer examples, and the examples of backbeats in single grooves that began this section, have further demonstrated that although Butterfield’s assertions about the metric nature of the backbeat are certainly correct in the general cases he describes, the specific musical qualities of any particular groove will invariably shape metrical interpretations in different ways. Even within a single song, the subtle variations in a track’s mix, the way that instrumental timbres are captured in the studio and manipulated, and the changing instrumentation of grooves all affect the backbeat’s metrical interpretation. At the same time, these examples have also shown how important an anacrustic backbeat is to the establishment of the Motown genre. It is of primary importance in establishing the metric backdrop against which the melody is heard, whether it is reinforced by many instruments (as in “My Guy”) or heard in conflict with longer durations in other instruments (as in “You Can’t Hurry Love”). Even in cases where the backbeat is somewhat masked (such as by the constant quarter-note snare attacks in “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)”), or when it might be heard with inflections of continuation rather than anacrusis (such as in the drum kit pattern of “I Second That Emotion”) its continued presence always lends a crucial element to the Motown groove. At the same time, the anacrustic backbeat in Motown is very different from the disco genre it was to influence. In Motown, the drum kit alternates bass and snare, and a diversity of other timbres reinforce the anacrustic backbeat (electric guitar, tambourine, hand claps, and bongo drums, to name a few). In disco, the articulation of anacrustic backbeats is usually restricted to the percussion section, and backbeats are combined with  160  four-on-the-floor bass drum attacks as well as steady anacruses at other durations (often towards each quarter note). Thus even though the two genres share a general use of anacrustic backbeats, there are still myriad metrical features in each genre’s groove that create clear distinctions.  Syncopation As detailed in Chapter 2, theorists of popular music have discussed syncopation in two main ways. David Temperley describes it in terms of syncopation shift, where we feel a beat has arrived early, and mentally shift it forward to its correct location in the metric framework. Mark Butler believes some instances that are normally considered syncopations, such as the 3+3+2 pattern, are better understood as diatonic rhythms separate from the syncopation shift phenomenon. Both of these syncopation types were observed in the disco repertoire of Chapter 3, where it also emerged that context often determines the choice of interpretation in situations where both hearings are a possibility. In Motown, diatonic rhythms appear rarely (in all the previous examples, only “I Can’t Help Myself” has the possibility of a diatonic rhythm, and that is denied by other contextual events). In the Motown groove, the drums usually focus on steady quarter note alternations between bass and snare drum with anacrustic backbeats, rather than using a pattern with a diatonic rhythm. Further, many other percussion and pitched instruments (such as guitar, hand claps, and tambourine) are also occupied with articulating the strong backbeats discussed in the previous section, and have no space in their patterns for either syncopated or diatonic rhythms. Other pitched instruments are more likely to articulate the harmony in regular quarter or half notes, or to play short melodic riffs that are also non-diatonic. Syncopation, on the other hand, is incredibly common in Motown. In the basic grooves already discussed, anticipations and early attacks are common in various riffs in the groove, suggesting anacrusis-becoming-beginning at various durations and creating anacrustic gestures that sometimes work to loop the groove back to its own beginning. Analyzing these syncopated rhythms more closely will not only make clear the typical locations and types of syncopation, but will also provide information about the  161  syncopation’s metric effect and musical feel, equally important parts of the listening experience. Numerous commentators have pointed to the work of bassist James Jamerson as one of the most consistent and notable sources of syncopation in the Motown groove.220 Anthony Jackson gives a deceptively simple characterization of Jamerson’s playing style, saying that he tended to “use anticipations to avoid downbeats.”221 As a first example of Jamerson’s performance style, Example 4.6 reproduces the first bar of the bass line to “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” (the full transcription of the introduction and verse groove was shown in Example 4.4). Example 4.6. The Four Tops, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” opening bass line.  Q  Q'  In this example, as discussed, the syncopation energizes the middle part of Jamerson’s riff, pushing attention towards future durations at a point where beginningcontinuation alternations are becoming normative in the groove as a whole. Anacrusisbecoming-beginning is also an important part of the bass line of the introduction for “You Can’t Hurry Love,” shown in Example 4.7 (the complete groove was shown in Example 4.5). Although Jamerson was not the only bassist on staff at Motown, he played on the majority of its biggest hits and likely influenced the playing style of other bassists. In the absence of reliable musician credits for individual songs, I will assume that it is Jamerson playing on any song that features a highly syncopated bass line. See for example Slutsky 1989, particularly the article “An Appreciation of the Jamerson Style” by Anthony Jackson, 92-95. 221 Jackson 1989, 93. 220  162  Example 4.7. The Supremes, “You Can’t Hurry Love” opening bass line.  S Q R  Q'  S' T  R'  T'  Here, although the two syncopated attacks are the same sounding duration, they operate at different durational levels. Because of the rest that separates it from the previous quarter note beginning, the first syncopated attack is heard as an anacrusis, and the duration’s subsequent unexpected length leads to a virtual realization of the half note Q', and also a realization of the longer whole note R. It also begins a half note (T) and a whole note (R'). In contrast, the second anacrusis-becoming-beginning works to virtually realize the quarter note projection S and projects S' (quarter note projections are ongoing throughout the example but only notated here, for the sake of clarity). At the longer half note projection (T'), the second anacrusis-becoming-beginning is a continuation of the virtual beginning established with the first anacrusis-becoming-beginning just prior. The two durations are also different in how they create their initial anacrustic sensations. The first syncopated duration is preceded by a rest that, as mentioned, creates a separation between the start of that duration and the previous beginning, a separation that allows hearing the syncopated duration as anacrusis rather than continuation. The second syncopated duration creates anacrustic separation merely through the fact of syncopation itself, along with a very subtle dynamic emphasis on the new attack. Because of the differences in projections and anacrustic quality, two syncopated durations that appear identical on paper actually feel slightly different in practice. Given that the two syncopations happen one after the other, there might be the tendency to group both durations together as some kind of longer anacrustic gesture. The pattern can be heard as creating anacrusis towards the following half note beginning, as  163  the successive syncopations create an anticipation in the listener for a return to steady duple articulations. Jamerson’s bass riffs often encourage grouping a series of syncopations together as anacrusis. Example 4.8 shows the chorus groove of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” Example 4.8. Gladys Knight and the Pips, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” chorus groove.222  Q  Q'  R S T  R' S' (realized on  repetition)  Gladys Knight and the Pips, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” composed by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, produced by Norman Whitfield (I Heard it Through the Grapevine [single]: Soul S 35039 A, 1967). 222  164  Looking at the bass line first, in the second bar of the groove Jamerson anticipates every attack. While each individual duration could be heard as an anacrusis-becomingbeginning, in the context of the groove the pattern creates a single long anacrusis which leads to the repetition of the groove as a whole. The long chromatic pitch ascent that points towards the C that begins the riff certainly contributes to the sense of stringing together several syncopations in order to reach a larger goal. Additionally, the long rest (in the context of this groove) between the start of the first syncopated duration and previous material helps separate the larger anacrusis from prior material. Although Jamerson’s bass lines are an important source of syncopation in Motown, in this groove, as in many others, the bass is not the only instrument to play a syncopated pattern. The piano pairs a syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning with an anacrusis to a following whole note at the end of both bar 1 and bar 2. The result is a rhythmic motive that propels the groove towards each whole note, and complements the bass’s longer anacrustic gesture in bar 2. These syncopations work around the anacrustic backbeats in other instruments, articulated differently than in previous examples (perhaps because of the stronger gospel influence in this song).223 Example 4.9 shows an even more complex bass line, this one taken from the verse groove of the Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I’ll Be There.” The pattern combines a syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning gesture with other rhythms that create forward drive either through short single anacrustic durations or longer anacrustic gestures. Jamerson is relatively consistent in his performance of this two-bar riff in each verse, but there is one pitch that he occasionally changes, marked with an asterisk in the example. Whether Jamerson plays the high or low Ab affects the metric interpretation in subtle ways, as will be made clear.  The snare’s first backbeat is continuative because of the bass drum rhythm just prior, but in the context of a groove with so much going on, I suspect listeners would hear the backbeat as anacrustic throughout, and focus instead on the syncopated lines in bass and piano. 223  165  Example 4.9. The Four Tops, “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” verse bass line.224  *  or  Q R S  Q' R' S'  T (realized on  repetition) * Jamerson is inconsistent as to whether he plays the upper or lower octave.  There is a great deal of variety in how quarter note projections (Q-Q') are subdivided. The first attack is the only instance of a pure quarter note; the remainder subdivide the quarter note projection with different rhythms. Dotted eighth notesixteenth note rhythms suggest beginning-anacrusis, while the straight eighths at the end of the second bar suggest beginning-continuation. The two sixteenths and eighth note in the middle of the second bar are beginning-continuation, because of the sense of durational completion in the short-short-long pattern. And the syncopated duration in the middle of the riff is heard as anacrusis-becoming-beginning, recalling a similar situation in “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).” Whether Jamerson plays a high or low Ab affects how the Bb that follows is interpreted. A high Ab creates a separation between it and the following Bb because of the large leap in register, resulting in anacrusis for the Bb. In contrast, a low Ab sounds more connected to the Bb, not only because of registral proximity but because of its clear participation in a rising melodic contour, making the Bb continuative. The Four Tops, “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” composed by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland Jr., produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier (Reach Out I’ll Be There [single]: Motown M 1098 A, 1966). 224  166  The syncopation in the middle of the riff allows the realization of multiple projections, including the ongoing quarter note projections (shown below the first two quarter notes only), the R' half note projection, and the S whole note durational potential, but it has particular relevance for the half note duration that it virtually projects. The extended length of the syncopated Db creates an unexpected gap between its onset and the following Dbs, resulting in a separation from the previous beginning necessary to hear the dotted eighth-sixteenth Db rhythm as anacrustic to the following half note rather than continuative. Even more anacrustic are the metric functions within whole note projections, where anacrusis alternates with beginning in both bars of the riff. In this case, anacrusis comes about because of pitch and rhythm combined. In the first half of each bar, Jamerson’s pitch is relatively static (with the exception of the sixteenth note Eb in bar 1, which is short in comparison to the length of time Ab is heard); similarly, the rhythm tends to emphasize longer durations. In the second half of each bar, on the other hand, pitch changes regularly, and the overall pitch contour is directed towards the following whole note’s opening pitch. In bar 1, the contour rises towards Db, while in bar 2, it falls past Ab to its lower neighbour tone. The second half of both bars also features a more active rhythm, with shorter durations and more variation. The effect is subtle, but I find it is enough to suggest anacrusis towards every whole note, rather than continuation of previous whole note beginnings. A final example, The Temptations’ “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (Example 4.10) will demonstrate that, like the backbeat discussed in the previous section, all syncopated and anacrustic elements of a groove can be developed over the course of a song, not just in the bass but in different instruments of the groove.  167  Example 4.10. The Temptations, “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” development of syncopation.225 a) Introduction (0:00)  Q R  Q' R'  S  S'  *There is likely a bass drum playing on the first and third quarter notes in the drum pattern; however, I find it hard to hear on the recording and so chose not to transcribe it.  The Temptations, “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” composed by Smokey Robinson and Robert Rogers, produced by Smokey Robinson (The Way You Do The Things You Do [single]: Gordy G 7028 A, 1964). 225  168  Example 4.10 continued. b) First verse (0:08)  c) Second verse (0:53)  T  T'  169  Example 4.10 continued. d) Groove state for saxophone solo (1:37) ( )  170  Example 4.10 continued. e) Third verse (1:53)  In this longer example, the lines indicating projections are written the first time they are heard, and should be assumed to continue throughout all subsequent sections unless noted otherwise. Similarly, once an instrumental riff has been analyzed once, its metric qualities are not re-notated in later sections unless they change. The bass part in the song’s introduction (Example 4.10a) contains a single instance of anacrusis. The initial Eb creates a beginning that could be interpreted in different ways. If listeners are focused on the projections suggested in the previous bar by rhythm guitar and maintained in bar 2 with piano, then the bass’s Eb lasts longer than expected. Alternatively, the opening bass Eb sounds as if it will continue indefinitely (or perhaps for a whole note). In either case, the change in register and switch to eighth notes for the next three attacks is marked as unique, and so separates the three eighths from previous durations. As a result the eighths are an anacrustic group that leads to the next whole note, rather than single durations with individual metric interpretations. The growing sense of Eb as tonic and the other pitches as a departure from tonal stability creates even more forward-directed anticipation for the next Eb’s arrival.  171  Other instruments (snare drum and hand claps) articulate the standard backbeat. The sense of anacrusis at these moments is strengthened by the apparent lack of bass drum, an absence that results in a stronger timbral separation between the beginnings articulated by piano and rhythm guitar, and the snare drum/hand clap backbeats. The anacrustic backbeat contrasts with the chord pattern of the pitched instruments, which suggests beginning-continuation; I tend to hear the percussion as influencing the pitched instruments towards an anacrustic interpretation, rather than vice versa, because of the percussion’s prominence in the mix; however, either interpretation could be possible depending on how a listener focuses her or his attention. The bass line heard in verse 1 (Example 4.10b) and in all subsequent verses develops the bass rhythm from the introduction, adding an extra attack. Like many of the Motown grooves discussed previously, this new syncopated anacrusis-becomingbeginning energizes the middle of the bass’s rhythm, and indeed the groove generally, since the bass virtually articulates a beginning that is clear and obvious in other instruments (piano, guitar, and hi-hat). It also adds a forward-pointing gesture to a new moment in the groove, increasing the groove’s overall sense of future-directed energy. The new attack might be enough to re-cast the bass’s rhythm as a diatonic 3+3+2 rhythm, where the first Bb would no longer be heard as part of the anacrustic group at the end of the bar and instead be grouped with the new Eb attack. This is possible if one hears a quarter note projection beginning on the C, perhaps because of its high point in the contour or because of its increased length relative to the Bbs in this swung eighth context. Equally powerful, however, is the pitch pattern that divides the bar into two events, a long section on Eb and a short leap to other pitch material; and the overall articulation of an Eb major harmony which makes the C a non-chord tone, and therefore less important in the texture. In the end, both interpretations are possible, and individual listener biases will make one or the other more salient. The bass maintains this same syncopated riff throughout the rest of the song. However, the horns further develop the groove’s syncopated and anacrustic qualities. Their first entry, in the second verse (Example 4.10c), nests two anacrustic groups within a single larger one. Due to the phrasing of the riff as well as the pitch pattern circling around the G-Bb dyad, I hear the first three attacks as an anacrusis to the beginning of  172  the next half note, and then hear this pattern repeated with another anacrustic group towards another half note beginning. However, the whole riff in the first bar of the second verse is also a single anacrustic gesture leading to the next whole note beginning in bar 2. The rate of repetition for the horn riff also leads to a new projection in the groove, the breve (T-T'). Interestingly, however, my interpretation of the metric quality of this projection (beginning-continuation) comes more from the other instruments of the groove than from the horns themselves. Were I to hear the horn part in isolation, I might hear the projection’s beginning on the final G-Bb dyad of the riff (at the downbeat of bar 2 of the second verse). The previous attacks lead towards it as the strongest beginning in the riff, with the long rest following and the stability of the pitches suggesting a sense of arrival. However, this interpretation conflicts with all of the other instruments in the groove. As a result the breve as a projective possibility is created by the horns, but its quality of beginning-continuation comes out of the other instruments that do not in fact change their patterns in bar 2. In the first bar of the groove state for the saxophone solo (Example 4.10d), the horns play a series of attacks that on its own could be considered a diatonic rhythm: the durations from attack point to attack point present a 3+3+2 rhythm. However, the relatively slow tempo makes such a grouping difficult. Instead, the horns’ pitch and articulation pattern suggests beginning-continuation-anacrusis, since the first two chords articulate the same pitches and the final chord is separated from the previous two through pitch and the staccato articulation. At the same time, the horns’ continuation falls at the same moment as the bass’s syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning, adding more emphasis to the forward push already present in the middle of each bar of the groove. Just before the end of the saxophone solo, the horns change their pattern once more, with two short gestures of anacrusis followed by beginning. These gestures reinforce the anacrustic backbeat at half note durations because of the rest after each gesture, and the strong emphasis placed on the backbeat itself with the opening of a quarter note beginning on the E major chord (note the key change). The pattern also works as an anacrustic group to the next whole note beginning. The ongoing process of leading towards E major finally concludes in the next bar, creating a whole note beginning that is lead to with the gestures prior.  173  Both the second verse and the saxophone solo demonstrate instances where shorter anacruses and anacrustic groups are nested inside larger ones. In the third verse (Example 4.10e), the horns create another nested gesture. Once more, anacruses direct attention forwards at short durations and a syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning reinforces the backbeats, but these gestures are also unified as a single anacrusis to the following whole note beginning. In fact, the longer anacrusis combines elements of earlier anacrustic and syncopated gestures: the oscillation around a stable pitch or chord comes from the second verse (or even originated with the bass riff in the introduction), and the sense of gestures separated by a rest that lead to a final arrival is similar to the end of the horn part in Example 4.10d. It is clear that “The Way You Do The Things You Do” develops both syncopation and anacrusis in the groove over the course of the song. James Jamerson’s anacrustic bass riff in the introduction, along with the anacrustic backbeat in snare drum and hand claps, offers the first suggestion of anacrusis. As the bass repeats and the horns provide more variety, the song explores different riff combinations and different articulations, and combines both syncopation and anacrustic gestures into longer groups, with patterns in later sections often derived from earlier ones. Indeed, these changes to the groove are tied to specific song sections, linking form to groove meter in a striking way that enlivens what is otherwise a relatively unvarying song structure. This section has shown that in Motown songs, due to the predominance of the backbeat in the mix and its duple articulation, syncopation is often be heard as anacrusisbecoming-beginning anticipations of expected beginnings, rather than as diatonic rhythms that divide a larger duration into almost-equal smaller durations. But this limitation by no means restricts the Motown groove’s forward motion. Syncopations, particularly in the bass, are a frequent source of added energy for the groove. Notably, anacrusis-becoming-beginning is often added in the middle of a groove to provide forward-pointing sensations at a moment where the backbeat is not operative. The nearubiquitous presence of this gesture (see Examples 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 4.9, and 4.10) suggests  174  that, like the backbeat, this syncopated gesture is equally a part of characteristic Motown meter.226 Others have commented on the playing techniques that James Jamerson used to enliven Motown’s grooves, but my methodology focuses more closely on how his techniques of syncopation and anacrusis augment those elements of meter in Motown grooves that contribute to forward drive, and how his patterns interact with other instruments in the Funk Brothers ensemble. I have also demonstrated how Jamerson’s bass lines are not the only source of syncopation in Motown: riffs in instruments ranging from piano to saxophones to brass may also play syncopated or anacrustic patterns that frequently add forward motion and drive to the groove, often at moments when the anacrustic backbeat is not sounding. By continuing to focus attention on the details of meter in grooves, the contributions of performers such as Jamerson and the entire Funk Brothers rhythm section will be further recognized as fundamental to the Motown sound.  Metrical Development in Motown In many of the songs discussed thus far, metrical interpretations of the backbeat and syncopations change as different instruments, or different rhythmic patterns, are added to or removed from the groove. Marvin Gaye’s version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” (transcribed in part in Example 4.11) will provide a final example to summarize how features of the groove, including the anacrustic backbeat and the use of syncopation and anacrustic gestures, lead to a sense of metrical development over time. This song also challenges my definition of the groove as a collection of repeating riffs engaged in a process over time, a definition that excludes more linear, non-repeating elements. In “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” many instruments that usually repeat riffs in the groove instead vary their parts, following the rhythmic motives and harmonic progressions of the melody, sometimes repeating, sometimes playing something completely new in each bar. Rather than hold to a strict definition and miss out on fascinating metrical processes, the following analysis will consider the entire musical Of course, meter in the Motown groove is not exclusively forward-driving; my metric characterization has focused on particular elements of the groove that imbue such qualities, rather than on other equally-important elements that create different sensations deserving of more detailed exploration than there is space for here. 226  175  texture, with the exception of Marvin Gaye’s lead vocal, taking groove more flexibly to mean accompaniment, or rather, a process that happens amongst the players of the entire ensemble rather than being restricted to select instruments.  Example 4.11. Marvin Gaye, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” introduction, verse, prechorus, and chorus.227 a) Introduction (0:00)  (decaying)  P Q  P'  R S  Q' R'  S'  Marvin Gaye, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” composed by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, produced by Norman Whitfield (In the Groove: Tamla TS285, 1968). 227  176  Example 4.11 continued.  ( )  ( )  b) First verse (0:21)  ( )  ( )  ( )  T  177  Example 4.11 continued. ( )  T'  c) Prechorus (0:38)  U  178  Example 4.11 continued. d) Chorus (0:45)  V  V'  179  The introduction begins with a hit on tambourine and snare that provides immediate metric interest. Since this sound is the start of the piece, I hear its strong attack as a beginning. However, with the subsequent entry of the Wurlitzer electric piano parts, and the lack of percussion immediately following this initial attack, the hit sounds separated from the groove that follows, in both timbre and dynamic. For this reason, rather than interpreting the sound as an anacrusis connected to a subsequent beginning, I hear it on its own, an announcement or call to attention that begins the song but that is unconnected to the groove itself. Like other examples discussed in this and the previous chapter, the introduction for “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” uses the buildup process, where instruments gradually enter the texture over the course of the introduction. Once more my analysis will leave aside the effects of this process and instead focus on the two features of meter that are most characteristic of the Motown sound: anacrusis and syncopation. The two Wurlitzer parts that open the introduction establish an interesting metric relationship.228 Wurlitzer 1 plays a steady stream of quarter notes that establish both the quarter note (P-P') and half note (Q-Q') projections with typical beginning-continuation alternations. Against this clear projective field, Wurlitzer 2 plays a rhythm (what I will refer to as the “Grapevine” motive) that features several moments that direct attention forwards. Its second duration is separated from the first because of the first’s extended length; the second thus points attention forwards as an anacrusis. Anacrustic separation is created in the second bar with the quarter note rest, ensuring that the next two Eb-Bb dyads point forwards. From the second bar to the third, the Wurlitzer plays a syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning. In the middle of the second bar, Wurlitzer 2 plays a duration that I have interpreted as continuation, but that falls earlier than expected because of its syncopated rhythm. I hear this duration as an early continuation rather than as an anacrusisbecoming-beginning because it is clearly connected to the preceding beginning through proximity, making an anacrusis hearing unlikely. Rather than pushing forwards as would In the transcription I divide the Wurlitzer lines into three parts, based on how I hear them as a listener. Without detailed information about the recording session, it is difficult to know whether the parts I transcribe were actually played on a single instrument, or if the parts were recorded separately and combined onto the final recording. 228  180  a standard anacrusis-becoming-beginning, this duration still continues a prior beginning, but its early attack does lend a sense of energy to that continuation that is not wellexpressed by the notation. Wurlitzer 2 establishes whole note (R-R') and breve (S-S') projections with its rate of repetition. Both these durations and the shorter projection articulated by Wurlitzer 1 will continue to be articulated by the electric pianos and by other instruments as the song unfolds. The entry of the bass drum at the end of bar 2 enriches the texture with additional anacruses, while the hi-hat articulates the backbeats. Even though the hi-hat’s volume is relatively soft, I still hear the backbeats as anacrustic, since the groove is sparsely orchestrated at this point and there is still quite a bit of distinction between the metallic hi-hat and the muffled grumble of the bass drum.229 The tambourine entry just before bar 5 enlivens the meter in a way that has not yet been discussed. The tambourine’s shaking entry initially suggests anacrusis. But as the sound persists with no definite end to the duration, it becomes more and more difficult to hear the tambourine as defining a particular duration; that is, of contributing to the meter. The tambourine thus shifts in function from a clear metric anacrusis to a nonmetric sound effect that adds a general sense of anticipation to the groove. The next instrumental entries, a third Wurlitzer part and electric guitar backbeats, pull listener attention in a new direction. Wurlitzer 3 reinforces Wurlitzer 2’s part, while the guitar’s backbeats reinforce the hi-hat anacruses. Although one might hear a harmonic connection between the guitar chords and the Wurlitzers that would result in hearing the guitar backbeats as continuative, I still hear them as anacrustic. The harmonies change fairly infrequently, suggesting that harmonic rhythm is less important in determining the groove’s meter, and weakening the sense of connection between the two instruments. Further, the guitar’s staccato attacks and striking timbral contrast in the groove create a clear separation from the electric piano parts, resulting in hearing the guitar as a separate stream with implied beginnings and anacruses that draw attention away from the continuative quarter notes in Wurlitzer 1.  The hi-hat is notated below the staff because it is played using a foot pedal rather than struck with a drum stick; see Appendix 1. 229  181  The final two bars of the introduction present several anacrustic gestures that help propel the song into a new formal section. In bar 9, a brass instrument entry that to me sounds like a French horn anticipates the following whole note beginning with its second attack, creating a syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning that virtually realizes a longer projection than previous syncopations in the groove. A sense of anticipation and excitement is also created with pitch (the shift from a low note to a high note through a glissando) and with the crescendo once the high E5 is reached. Percussion instruments also work together to create anacrusis at the end of the introduction, with a snare drum fill and tom tom hits interlocking timbrally and rhythmically to create a single anacrustic gesture. The bass guitar entry also creates anacrusis through both pitch and rhythm. Its chromatic ascent towards the tonic creates a melodic contour directed towards a new beginning at the start of bar 11, and its rhythm mixes an anacrustic gesture with a syncopated anacrusis-becoming-beginning that also pushes attention forwards. Even Marvin Gaye’s lead vocal joins in, creating anticipation for the first verse with an “ooo” (not shown) that descends towards a stable scale degree. In the first verse, the musical texture divides into three main groupings, and depending on which group is the focus of listener attention, the meter of the groove will be heard in different ways. Guitar, bongos,230 tom tom, and drum kit maintain a consistent pattern that emphasizes eighth, quarter, half, and whole note projections, employing a high degree of repetition that is closer to the definition of groove used for earlier examples. Most of their parts are the same as in the introduction: the backbeats are anacrustic because of the hi-hat and guitar, with new reinforcement from the tom tom, and the bass drum plays an eighth note anacrusis into every second quarter note beginning. The bongos play a steady stream of eighth notes with varying pitches that are not clear enough to be transcribed, but there is a general perception of unpredictable higher pitches that encourage listeners to feel a general sense of anticipation in the groove. The second instrumental grouping consists of the Wurlitzer part alone (now reduced to a single line rather than three). This instrument serves as an important bridge What I call bongos may actually be congas or another sort of hand drum; the drum timbre is difficult to distinguish on the recording, and I have been unable to find reliable and accurate instrumentation listings for the song. 230  182  between the other two instrumental groups. It repeats its rhythm every four whole notes, matching the longer durations articulated in the vocal phrases and in the harmonic progression played primarily by the guitar.231 Further, by reiterating the rhythmic “Grapevine” motive from bar 1 of the introduction, the Wurlitzer creates forward drive in two ways. One is the increase in anacrusis and syncopation that results, for example with the anticipations at the end of bar 12, and the syncopated anacrusis-becomingbeginnings across bars 12 and 13, and bars 13 and 14. At the same time as the Wurlitzer connects to the percussion and guitar instrumental group because of its somewhat repetitive pattern, it also connects to the instrumental grouping formed by strings and bass guitar, because of its pitches and rhythms that vary according to changes in the lead vocal line. This is most evident in the chorus, where the electric piano responds to the rests in Gaye’s phrases (for example in bars 25 and 26) but even in the verse harmonies are adjusted depending on the pitch content of Gaye’s melody. Even more variable than the Wurlitzer part, however, is James Jamerson’s bass line, which creates a sense of a duet or counterpoint between bass and lead vocal. Although at times the two parts are in rhythmic unison (bars 12-13, for example), the bass line frequently deviates from the melody to create anacrustic groups, often nested inside one another. For example, in bar 14 the bass line’s chromatic ascent creates two smaller anacrustic groups because of the weak sense of arrival on the B natural, but in the context of the whole note the entire ascending gesture is anacrustic. The strings are similar to the bass in their connection to the vocal line, allowing for a loo