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Music Term: Hemiola

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1-9

Hemiola


Definition and background:

In early music, this term meant the ratio of 3:2, employed musically in two senses: the ratio of the perfect fifth, whose musical value is 3:2, and the rhythmic relation of three notes in the time of two, i.e., the triplet. In the Baroque era hemiola was used in dance music in the sense that it denoted the articulation of two measures of triple meter as if they were three measures of duple meter. In later music, especially Viennese waltzes the use of hemiola was common, in the sense of playing duplets in one part of the music, over which another part of the music is playing triplets. (English, from Greek) the imposition of a pattern of rhythm or articulation other than that implied by the time signature; specifically, in triple time (for example in 3/4) the imposition of a duple pattern (as if the time signature were, for example, 2/4). See Syncopation.when the rhythmic structure in a piece gives the impression that the meter is different from the actual time signature, this is a hemiola. for example, a piece in 4/4 time could have an eighth note run where every third eighth note is accented, giving the run a triplet feel, this is a hemiola


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