Focal Impulse Theory

Focal Impulse Theory

Musical Expression, Meter, and the Body
John Paul Ito
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Format: Paperback 6 b&w illus., 157 music exx., 6 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-04995-7
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Music is surrounded by movement, from the blues guitarist tapping his foot to the violinist swaying with each bow stroke. To John Paul Ito, these actions are more than just a performance gimmick; rather, they are directly linked to the generation of sound and, importantly, the feeling that sound produces. By developing "focal impulse theory," Ito shows how the expressive shaping of sound informs meaning within each individual musical piece. Ito reveals that music not only begins in motion with the performer, but it also returns to motion, since the universal response to music is to move. As Focal Impulse Theory deftly illustrates, these movements are not merely physical reactions; they carry meaning and, in a very real sense, are meaning.

Author Bio

John Paul Ito is Associate Professor of Music Theory in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Table of Contents

Accessing Audiovisual Materials
Copyright Acknowledgments
Part I: Introduction
1. Introducing the Focal Impulse and its Theory
2. Foundations in Music Theory and Cognitive Science
Part II: Basic Focal Impulse Theory
3. The Basic Concept of the Focal Impulse
4. Focal Impulses and Meter: The Simplest Cases
5. The Sound of Focal Impulses
6. More on Focal Impulses and Meter
7. A Taxonomy of Syncopations
Part III: Expanding Focal Impulse Theory
8. Special Cases of Focal Impulse Placement
9. Anticipations and Secondary Focal Impulses
10. Inflecting Focal Impulses Downward and Upward
11. More Advanced Uses of Inflected Impulse Cycles
12. Performing Metrical Dissonance
Part IV: Connecting Focal Impulse Theory
13. Connections with Psychology
14. Connections with Other Music Scholarship
Part V: Applying Focal Impulse Theory
15. Metrical Dissonance in Brahms
16. The First Movements of the Brahms Sonatas op. 120
Conclusions: Placing Focal Impulse Theory in Larger Contexts
Glossary: Focal Impulse Symbols and Their Definitions