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The Philosophy of RhythmAesthetics, Music, Poetics$
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Peter Cheyne, Andy Hamilton, and Max Paddison

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199347773.001.0001

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Entrainment and the Social Origin of Musical Rhythm

Entrainment and the Social Origin of Musical Rhythm

(p.183) 12 Entrainment and the Social Origin of Musical Rhythm
The Philosophy of Rhythm

Martin Clayton

Oxford University Press

Chapter 12 develops Maurice Halbwachs’ concern with social interaction in theorizing rhythm. Taking inspiration from Halbwachs’ view of rhythm as social not natural, the chapter outlines a new approach to the question that Halbwachs leaves unanswered: If musical rhythm is social in origin, how does it come into being—how is his “prior collective agreement” reached? Alfred Schütz, although casting Halbwachs as the straw man in his famous essay “Making Music Together,” did not contest the latter’s point about the social origin of rhythm. Schütz’s argument—that all communication is made possible by what he called the “mutual tuning-in relationship” in which individuals come to share their experience of inner time—does contradict Halbwachs: for Schütz, rhythmic coordination is prior to any collective agreement. The author argues that rhythm in fact emerges spontaneously both in individuals and, crucially, in interactions between them, and that it is therefore both natural (physiological) and social in origin.

Keywords:   rhythm, music, Maurice Halbwachs, Alfred Schütz, rhythmic coordination, social

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