Metre is music: a reply to Fabb and Halle
This chapter makes additional comments on the discussion in Chapter 2. The theory of metrification presented by Fabb and Halle (F&H) seems to be flawed in a number of respects. At the root of the problem is F&H's assumption that metrical structure is projected from the surface syllables of a linguistic text. It is argued that an alternative view not discussed by F&H is superior. This view — shared in its essentials by Kiparsky (1991), Lerdahl (2001), Hanson (2006), J. Halle (2008), and Deo (2007) among others — holds that metrification proceeds via the mapping of linguistic structures onto a pre-determined metrical template. It is shown that this view leads to more natural accounts of many of the relevant phenomena, especially with regard to mismatches between text and metrical structure, such as catalexis, anacrusis, anceps, and syncopation. This alternative has the advantage of allowing for poetic and musical metre and performance to be accounted for with a unified set of straightforward mechanisms. It is argued, contra the fourth section of F&H, that this is a desirable and feasible move.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.