July 2000

Rhythm in Baroque music

Menno Rubingh (c) 2000
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*   Introduction
*   General introduction to beats (or counts) and measures in music
*   General considerations concerning rhythm patterns in Baroque music
*   Phrase structure
*   Rhythm patterns in specific kinds of Baroque pieces

Die k�nstlerische Absicht, welche die neuere Musik in dem verfolgt, was jetzt, sehr stark aber undeutlich, als ``unendliche Melodie'' bezeichnet wird, kann man sich dadurch klar machen, dass man in's Meer geht, allm�hlich den sichern Schritt verliert und sich endlich dem wogenden Elemente auf Gnade und Ungnade �bergiebt: man soll s c h w i m m e n.  In der bisherige Musik musste man, in zierlichen oder feierlichen oder feurigen Hin und Wieder, Schneller und Langsamer, t a n z e n : wobei das hierzu n�thige Maass, das Einhalten bestimmter gleichwiegender Zeit- un Kraftgrade von der Seele des Zuh�rers eine fortw�hrende B e s o n n e n h e i t  erzwang: auf dem Wiederspiele dieses k�hleren Luftzuges, welcher von der Besonnenheit herkam, und des durchw�rmten Athems musikalischer Begeisterung ruhte der Zauber jener Musik. [...]
        -- F. Nietzsche, from ``Menschliches, Allzumenschliches: Ein Buch f�r freie Geister'', Zweiter Band, 1886.


Baroque music is the music of the Western European world around the year 1700 (say, between 1650 and 1750 or so) -- i.e., the music of J.S. Bach, Lully, Francois Couperin, Handel, and contemporary composers.  It is the music of one of the greatest periods of renewal, growth and expansion of European culture and science. 

Baroque music is often rather interesting rhythmically.  Especially in Baroque music with some French infuence in it -- such as in the so-called ``suites'' (also in those by non-French Baroque composers) --, there are very often remarkable and interesting rhythmical patterns incorporated into the structure of the music.  When present, this rhythmical ``play'' represents a significant part of what makes the music interesting.  When playing (or listening to) Baroque music in which these rhythmical things are present (such as ``suites''), it is in my opinion therefore a shame to overlook these rhythmical features. 

These rhythmical features in many Baroque pieces seem to have originated from French renaissance dances.  All of the interesting rhythmical patterns in Baroque music (which are discussed and examples of which are given further below) consist in the fact that the pieces do not use a regular beat as is the case as most ``classical'' music as well as in almost all modern pop music.  Instead, much Baroque music constantly alternates groups of two beats and groups of three beats.  These ``strange'' rhythmical patterns in Baroque music, consisting of such non-homogeneous groups of beats, are however in Baroque music always combined into larger patterns, which repeat over and over.  I.e., the ``strange'' rhythm is included inside a pattern of 8 to 16 beats or so, and all over a longer section of a piece this rhythmical pattern constantly repeats.  (However, of course sometimes the rhythmical pattern does change between two larger sections of a single piece).  For example, a piece may consist of phrases of 8 beats each of which is subdivided into 3 + 3 + 2; or it may consist for example of phrases of 12 beats each of which is subdivided into 3 + 2+2+2 + 3. 

General introduction to beats (or counts) and measures in music

To people who are not musicians, the last paragraph above might sound rather mystical.  Therefore I'll now explain first what all this stuff about ``beats'' and ``measures'' means.  (Musicians might skip to the next section.) 

Almost all music, when we look at the time aspect or rhythmical aspect of the music, naturally is thought of as having or being superposed on a regular ``beat'' or ``count'', like the ticks of a clock ticking, or like the beat of the human heart.  In fast music, the beats or counts are short and succeed each other quickly; in slow music, the beats are of longer duration and succeed each other slowly.  The rate of beats in music that is felt to have a comfortable, relaxed pace, is about equal to the rate of the beats of the human heart.  (Yes, it's clear that music, like most in human culture, exhibits rather many anthropocentric features.) 

In most music, such as European ``classical'' music and also modern pop music, these counts are naturally grouped into groups of two, three, four, (seldom) five, six or more beats -- these groups are called ``bars'' or ``measures''.  (The word ``bar'' seems to be related from the practice of separating measures in printed musical notation with vertical bar-lines between them to make the printed musical notation more easily interpretable visually.)  The first beat in each measure is always sounded somewhat more loudly or more intensely as the other beats in the measure.  Or, looked at from the other side of things, the strong beat is always thought of as being the first beat in the measure.  It is said that this first beat gets the ``accent'', or that this is the one that ``gets the beat''.  This is fully similar to the accent of intensity (or ``stress'') in human speech, i.e., the phenomenon that in words of more than one syllable only one syllable gets the (strongest) accent.  In music using sung text, the music is composed in such a way that the accents in the words exactly line up with the strong beats in the music.  In the vast majority of music, each piece of music, or each longer section of a piece of music, uses the same length of measures throughout: i.e., the rhythm of the piece consists of rhythmically identical measures which constantly repeat -- in other words, the beats or counts that are accented constantly fall in regular, periodical, places; i.e., every 2nd beat is accented in a piece with a 2-beat measure, every 3rd beat is accented in a piece with a 3-beat measure, and so on. 

In measures of more than 2 or 3 beats in length, there is often a ``secondary'' accent.  This is like very long words in human speech often getting, apart from a main accent of stress, also a secondary accent; for example in the word ``incomprehensible'' where the main accent is on ``-hen-'', but where there is also a second accent of intensity, but a weaker one, on ``in-''.  Most modern pop music has measures of 4 beats length, where there is a secondary accent on every 3rd beat in every measure.  Many classical music has measures of 6 beats -- these can either be measures with a secondary accent on the 4th beat which therefore exhibit an internal sub-structure in each measure consisting of two ``sub-measures'' of each 3 beats, like this:

      |  o  o  o     o  o  o   |     o  o  o      o  o  o   |   ...
         >>          >               >>           > 
                                      ----> time
                         o  =  count/beat (or musical note)
                         |  =  bar-line
                         >> =  main accent
                         >  =  secondary accent

or they can be measures showing a sub-structure consisting of ``sub-measures'' of two beats in length which therefore have the secondary accents on the 3rd and 5th beat of the 6-beat measure:

      |  o  o    o  o     o  o   |     o  o     o  o     o  o   |   ...
         >>      >        >            >>       >        >

The fist kind of 6-beat measure is often schematically represented as ``3+3'', the second one as ``2+2+2''. 

The kind or type of measure a piece of music has is termed the ``meter'' of the piece.  When the measures of a piece each contain two beats or when the measures are composed of two (equally large) parts like the first kind of 6-beat measure above (the 3+3 one), then we say that the meter of the piece is a ``duple meter''.  When the measures of a piece each contain three beats or when the measures are composed of 3 (equally large) parts like the second kind of 6-beat measure above (the 2+2+2 one), then we say that the meter of the piece is a ``triple meter''.  Most pieces of have a kind of meter that allows it to be classified as either duple- or triple-meter pieces.  However, meters with for example 5 or 7 beats per measure (which are anyway rather rare), cannot be classified as either duple- or triple-meter pieces (... well, at least not in a straightforward way :-)). 

General considerations concerning rhythm patterns in Baroque music

It seems that much Baroque music is loaded with all sorts of such rhythmical ``jokes'' and inventivity.  Those 17th and 18th century people seem to have had an urge to insert lots of ``mathematical'' ingenuities into the music...   It seems that these people may have had a in some way a distaste for things that were too simple, too un-artificial, and too intuitively or too blatantly obvious; and that in those times people rather enjoyed all kinds of artificial ``constructions''.  Looking at other aspects of 17th and 18th century culture, to my mind the love for and pleasure in mechanical constructions is obvious.  I do imagine that I perceive a kind of ``carry over'' from this love for mechanical constructions into features of Baroque music -- but, well, all this interpretation stuff and all this association between music and other items of culture is maybe only my own guess, and is perhaps not very solidly funded.  But it remains a fact that -- whatever the cultural significance or background of these rhythmical oddities is -- that very much Baroque music does exhibit rather interesting and remarkable rhythmical patterns. 

These rhythmical features or counter-rhythms in much Baroque music give the music a kind of dynamic, energetic flavour.  It is as if, instead of being content with lazily trudging on in always the same dull rhythm, the musicians have too much energy which they cannot refrain from letting burst out on regular intervals by throwing in a rhythmical somersault, after each of which they simply fall back with a straight face into the old rhythm as if nothing strange had happened. 

Note that despite these rhythmical tricks, the beats themselves always keep having the same length (duration) and rate.  The basic clock-tick or heart-beat of the music simply keeps on going evenly.  It is only the grouping of the beats into groups of two/three/four beats where each 1st beat of such a group gets the strong accent, that is changed in the course of the music.  Alternatively expressed, the places where some of the accents fall are changed from their normal positions where we would have expected them regarding the periodicity suggested by the barlines in the printed music. 

For all Baroque music, when written down in musical notation, a regular barring is always used, i.e. with a bar-line e.g. every three or four beats, precisely as in ``classical'' music or modern pop music.  The rhythmical ``play'' in Baroque music is therefore unfortunately not immediately visually apparent from the way in which the music is written down in musical notation.  The placement of the barlines in the printed music is regular, the places where the actual accents fal in the music is somewhat less regular.  Nevertheless, the barlines in the printed music do show the larger lines of the music; the interesting rhythmical patterns with which the is text is concerned have to be thought of as small local variations on the larger, steady, beat of the piece.  Normally, when playing a piece of Baroque music in which interesting rhythmical things happen, one just keeps counting mostly in the way indicated by the printed barlines.  The barlines occurring at regular intervals are simply more convenient to keep track of the overall timing and are less confusing to work with than barlines at irregular intervals would be. 

All of the ``interesting'' rhythmical patterns in Baroque music consist in placing accents that introduce grouping in 2-beat-sized groups in tiple meters and in 3-beat-sized groups in duple meters.  Expressed in another way: rhythms using groups of two beats (in each of which the 1st beat is accented and the other is not accented) are often present in triple-meter music; and rhythms using groups of 3 beats (in each of which the 1st beat is accented and the other two are not) are often present in duple-meter music.  These things therefore intruduce a temporary or ``local'' deviation from the normal rhythm -- temporarily, a ``counter-rhythm'' is used. 

Most often, these temporary ``counter-rhythms'' occur periodically and regularly themselves, throughout the piece of Baroque music.  That is, the changes in rhythm periodically repeat, and therefore there is incorporated in the music a pattern of rhythm which repeats over and over throughout the piece. 

The pattern of 2-beat subgroupings in triple-meter Baroque pieces is often like this:

  ... | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o |  ...
        >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >       >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >
                >   >     >                     >   >     >
                            o =  beat (or musical note)
                            | =  bar-line
                            > =  accent or ``strong beat''
                        \___/ =  a bracket highlighting the group of beats
                                 that forms the local ``counter-rhythm''

and the pattern of 3-beat subgroups in duple-meter pieces is often like this:

     ... | o o  o o | o o  o o | o o  o o | o o  o o |  ...
           \____/ \_____/  >     \____/ \_____/  > 
           >      >              >      >        

In the last diagram above, I've just arbitrarily thrown in barlines every 4 beats -- I could have also put in the barlines every two or 8 beats instead.  This would not have made any difference for the position of beats, accents and \____/ brackets in the diagram -- the same diagram would still show the correct accents also with those (partly) different other bar-lines. 

Note that in the the above examples it is indeed plausible in some respects to speak of a regular alternation between a duple and a triple meter.  However, it nevertheless remains the case that only one of the meters is ``felt'' to be the ``normal'' meter of the piece -- this is the meter the piece is notated in as regards bar-lines and as regards the ``time signature'' (= meter indication (e.g. 3/4 for triple meter with each beat being ``1/4 note'')) written at the start of the piece.  This ``normal'' meter is felt to be the ``background'' into which the ``counter-rhythm'' occasionally intrudes.  The ``counter-rhythm'' is felt as as temporary deviation that is set off against or superposed on the ``normal'' meter.  While listening to the piece, it is as if even during the rhythmical anomalies, one hears the normal rhythm ticking on even when it is temporarily not overly expressed.  Therefore, despite the fact that in some ways it is possible to speak of an alternation of two types of meters, nevertheless those two measures do not enjoy equal ``status'', or ``weight'', or ``function''. 

Such ``counter-rhythms'' set off against the main or ``background'' rhythm of the piece are commonly called ``hemiolas''.  This is an old-fashioned musical term originating from the Greek hemi = half, and holos = whole.  Any kind of local ``counter-rhythm'' in music is called a ``hemiola'', whether the counter-rhythm consists of groups of 2 beats in triple meters, or groups of 3 beats in duple meters, or any other kind of ``counter-rhythm''.

Phrase structure

All the types of baroque music in which interesting rhythmical patterns are present which repeat periodically, are always pieces which consist of a regular structure in terms of ``phrases''. 

A ``phrase'' is a small portion of the piece, mostly a few bars long, which is like a single line (or ``verse'') in an old-fashioned poem (not a free verse poem).  In the poem, all the verse-lines often have a similar structure (e.g. same number of syllables, same pattern of accents on those syllables).  The same pattern is repeated in each line, but the actual words through which the pattern is realized are different in each line.  The poem as a whole can be thought of as a collection of verse lines put together in such a way that the total exhibits satisfying, interesting and/or pleasing proportions. 

It is the same in the Baroque pieces which show a regular phrasing structure.  Many aspects of the harmonic and rhythmical pattern in all phrases of the piece are similar, and the phrases can be throught of as repeats of this same underlying pattern, which is however mostly realized in each succeeding phrase in a partly different way, e.g. by slight variations in rhythm, by playing the same harmonic theme in a different pitch, by filling in or embellishing the tune with small short notes, by conversely leaving out some notes, by putting in extra contrapuntal voices, and so on. 

Most often, all verses in poetry and also all phrases in music are of the same length throughout the poem or piece of music.  A menuet, for example, consists of phrases of 8 bars of 3 beats each.  The menuet as a whole consists simply of a sequence of such phrases of 8 bars each.  The basic harmonic and rhythmical pattern in this phrase is repeated in all the phrases. 

However, in some forms of poems as well as (Baroque and other) music, the phrases are not all of the same lenght or internal structure.  A limerick, for example, consists of 3 long phrases and 2 short ones.  There are similar examples in music.  In these cases, nevertheless, there still is a pattern that is present in the phrase (or verse) structure of the piece (or poem). 

Apart from the possibility of having different types of phrase in the piece of musici, which are played in an order of sequence which forms a definite pattern, there is also the possibility of sub-phrases being present inside phrases: i.e., phrases can also be nested hierarchically inside other phrases.  The phrasing aspect of a piece of music is definitely a part of what makes a piece of (Baroque) music interesting.  A significant part of the aethetic and intellectual pleasure of hearing and playing such a piece resides in the play with these phrasing patterns -- similar as the tune, instrumental or vocal sound, harmony, and so on are aspects of what make a piece of music interesting. 

The phrases of a piece of music can be regarded as the sentences in a text of natural language.  Longer compound sentences can be made up of smaller subordinate sentences.  Between sentences of text, at the full stops, there is felt to be a pause -- it is the same in music, where between phrases there is felt to be a kind of ``breathing space'' between the end of the first phrase and the start of the second.  .  In vocal music, the words of the music are most often placed in such a way into the music by the composer that the sentences of the text coincide with the phrases of the music; and in vocal music, singers inhale breath between phrases of the music.  Between smaller sub-phrases in the music, there are felt to be smaller ``breathing spaces'' similar to commas in a sentence of text.  The phrasing of a piece of music is similar to the interpunction of a text of natural language. 

The phrasing structure of a piece of music is another part of the rhythmical side of the piece, hence it is logical that the phrasing of a piece and its rhythmical patterns are important to each other.  Apart from forming a ``substrate'' for play that is interesting and easthetic in its own right, the rhythmical patterns in Baroque music also serve to make the phrase structure of the piece more clear.  Each phrase (or type of phrase) most often has its disctinctive rhythmical pattern. 

Rhythm patterns in specific kinds of Baroque pieces

Most of the Baroque pieces in which interesting ``counter-rhythms'' are present are pieces which also have a fairly rigid phrase structure.  The rhythmical pattern imposed or added on to the basic beat of the piece, repeats in each successive phrase.  To figure out the rhytmical aspects of a piece, it is necessary to have a clear picture about how the phrase structure of the piece fits together.  But conversely, hearing some familiar rhythmical pattern happen in a piece, is also a help towards uncovering the piece's phrase structure. 

Most Baroque pieces in which interesing rhythmical things are happening are the so-called ``dance-forms'' in ``suites'', such as menuets, allemandes, gavottes, and so on.  However, many Baroque pieces which are not labelled as any of the ``dance forms'', do nevertheless exhibit the phrasing and rhythmical characteristics of one of the ``dance forms''.  In pieces often called ``fantasies'', it also occurs that some newly invented variant or amalgam of the ``dance-form'' rhythms and phrase structures is used. 

Some of the dance forms which use triple meters are:

Menuets.  Each phrase is 8 bars long, each bar consists of 3 beats.  The sequence of 8 bars forming a phrase always is made up out of two sub-phrases of 4 bars each.  In most menuets, the first of these two sub-phrases is further divided into two small phases of 2 bars each, but the second of two sub-phrases of 4 bars is a unit as a whole and has a ``counter-rhythm'' pattern precisely in the middle of it.  The first two sub-phrases of 2 bars are often much alike, and are e.g. repeats of the same harmonic ``theme''; and the phrase of 4 bars at the end forms a kind of ``finale'' to the whole 8-bar phrase.  Like this:

  '                               '                               '
  | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | 
    >       >>      >       >>      >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >>
                                            >   >     >
    \............/  \.........../   \.........................../
             '  = Mark showing the start/end of larger (sub-)phrases
         \.../  = Bracket encompassing a small phrase
             >  = Accent within a (sub-)phrase
            >>  = Final strong beat of a (sub-)phrase
          \___/ = Bracket highlighting the group of beats that forms the 
                  local ``counter-rhythm''

Sometimes, however, the ``counter-rhythm'' pattern is present in both of the two 4-bar sub-phrases of the 8-bar phrases, like this:

  '                               '                               '
  | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | 
    >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >>      >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >>
            >   >     >                      >   >     >
    \.........................../   \.........................../

Endings.  At this point, it is expedient to insert a small diversion into this section on ``dance forms''.  The above pattern of 4 bars of 3 beats each, the middle two bars of which form a hemiola of 2+2+2 beats, is a kind of ``standard pattern'' in triple meter Baroque music.  Very, very often, endings of triple meter pieces which are not ``dance forms'' and which otherwise do not show remarkable rhythmical features, are made up of precisely this 4-bar rhythmical pattern:

             '                               '
      ...    | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o || (end)
               >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >>      
                       >   >     >

This happens often even in post-Baroque pieces in Western ``classical'' music.  In Handel (who is a late-Baroque composer), this ending occurs in nearly all triple-meter pieces.  This rhythmical pattern could be said in some ways to serve as a kind of ``signal'' with the meaning ``this is the end of the piece''; in this way it is similar to the very familiar and pervasive variants dominant-septime chord sequences in endings of music.  These harmonic and rhythmical patterns seem to help to give the listener the necessary idea of ``satisfaction'' and ``conclusiveness'' at the end of a piece. 

We now go on with some other examples of triple-meter ``dance-forms''.

Gigues.  Gigues are triple-meter pieces in which the phrases are 4 bars long, each bar having 3 beats.  Our familiar ``standard pattern'' occurs in each of these 4-bar phrases, in its familiar position right in the middle of the phrase, like this:

       '                               '                               '
 ...   | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o | o o o |  ...
         >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >       >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >
                 >   >     >                      >   >     >
         \.........................../   \.........................../

This is the same diagram as the 2nd one in the section above on menuets, but note that in the gigue, the ``counter-rhythm'' is present in each phrase of 4 bars.  As we see from the above diagram, this has as a result that actually half of the bars of the piece have this ``counter-rhythm'' imposed on them, and also that there is a constant and regular alternation between sections of 6 beats of triple-meter and sections of 6 beats of duple-meter.  In gigues, however, the triple meter is always still everywhere firmly the most promiment rhythm -- the duple-meter sections are felt to be slight local features added on top of the on-going triple-meter beat which always stays firmly in charge; it is not felt that the duple meter actually temporarily sometimes takes over from the triple meter. 

Courantes.  This same regular alternation between 6 beats of triple meter and 6 beats of duple meter is present in courantes.  Courantes are among the most rhythmically interesting kinds of Baroque pieces.  Basically, the rhythmical pattern of most courantes is the same as that of the gigue as shown above, and the length of the phrases in courantes is also 12 beats as in gigues.  However, courantes are written down most often in 6-beat meters (which makes each phrase therefore 2 bars long); and the start and end of the phrases relative to the basic beat of the piece, and the position of the ``counter-rhythm'' within the phrases, is often different in courantes than in menuets and gigues.  Courantes, when written in 6-beat meters, always basically have one 6-beat bar of triple meter (i.e., 3+3), alternating with one 6-beat bar of duple meter (i.e., 2+2+2).  The duple-meter sections always entirely fill the 6-beat measure, and are present only within these bars.  Thus:

   o | o o o  o o o | o o o   o o o | o  o o  o o o | o o o  o o o  | o  ...
       >      >       \_/ \___/ \_/   >       >       \_/ \__/ \_/    >
                      >   >     >                     >   >    > 

The alternation between a bar of 2+2+2 and a bar of 3+3 is the hallmark of a courante.  In the courante, in the duple meter bars, the duple meter does entirely take over from the triple meter.  The courante seems to be the kind of piece in which two competing rhythms are treated with the most equality.  Listening to a courante, it is in fact often very hard to decide whether the piece predominantly has a duple or a triple meter !  The listener very often experiences a kind of interesting indeterminacy as to what bar is intended to be in duple meter and what bar in triple meter.  In my opinion, this is an aspect of the courante form that is often used by composers to make their courante pieces more interesting.  The courante in a way could perhaps be said to be a piece that maximizes the ``play'' with competing triple and duple meters in the same piece. 

The actual position of the phrases (which are always 12 beats long) within this rhythmical pattern, i.e., the position of the ``full stops'' between the phrases within the above rhythmical pattern, is often different between different courantes.  The phrases can begin with a duple-meter section, but in other courantes the phrases can begin with a triple-meter section.  Therefore, the piece as a whole can either begin with a duple-meter section or with a triple-meter section.  When studying a new piece from printed music, some experimentation may be necessary to determine what seems to ``fit'' or ``sound'' best.  However, it is always the case that within the same piece, the basic phrase structure, is fixed and is basically repeated over and over. 

There do however often occur variations on the rhythmical structure within a courante, often in the middle of the piece, such as insertion of 12-beat long sections with either a duple or triple meter throughout, or a repeat of the final 6-beat half of a preceding phrase.  After such a rhythmical ``excursion'' however, the initial rhythmical and phrasing pattern is always resumed again to finish the piece. 

Some of the dance forms which use duple meters are:

Gavottes.  Gavottes have phrases of 8 beats long each.  Regarding the quick pace of gavottes, these phrases are rather short in duration; most often these 8-beat phrases occur in pairs which together form longer phrases of 16 beats.  Gavottes are written in bars with 4 beats each.  The ``full stops'' between 8-beat phrases occur exactly in the middle of a bar.  The phrasing and rhythmical struture is like this:

    '                           '                          '
      o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o    o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o  
      \_______/ \____/     >>     \_______/ \____/     >>
      >         >                 >         >
      \......................./   \....................../
                       >  = heavy beat inside a (sub-)phrase
                      >>  = final beat of a (sub-)phrase

Schematically, the rhythm and phrasing of the first 8 beats of the gavotte of J.S. Bach's French Suite nr. 5 is:

    sopr.  b   g  |  d    e fis g   e  |  b      '
    bass   g   g  |  fis  fis   e   e  |  d   d  '
           \___________/  \_________/ 
           >              >               >>
           1   2     1    2     1   2     1   2  (conting acc. to the meter)
           1   2     3    1     2   3     1   2  (counting acc. to the 
           \................................../           counter-rhytms)

Often, the ``counter-rhythm'' in the second 8-beat sub-phrase of a 16-beat section seems to be more marked than in the first 8-beat sub-phrase, in which case the first 8-beat sub-phrase also often is built up out of two successive 4-beat sub-phrases; in that case, we therefore have the following pattern in the 16-beat phrase:

     '                          '                          '
      o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o    o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o  
      >       >>   >       >>     \_______/ \____/     >>
                                  >         >
      \........./  \........../   \....................../

Note that, interestingly, this last pattern effectively forms an entirely complementary version of the menuet rhythmical pattern: duple and triple metric patterns are exchanged troughout and play complementary roles. 

Allemandes.  These have phrases of 16 beats long.  In most pieces, they are notated in bars of 4 beats long.  The rhythmical and phrasing pattern in allemandes is like this:

      o  |  o o  o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o  o  
            >>           >>   \_______/ \____/     >>
      \......./    \......./  >         >
                       >  = heavy beat inside a (sub-)phrase
                      >>  = final beat of a (sub-)phrase

After this, the 16-beat rhythmical pattern repeats.  Note how the 6-beat hemiola pattern sits right in front of the final beat of the phrase (= the beat that gets a final chord), as it always does. 

In the middle of a piece, however, it often occurs that phrases of half the above length, i.e., of 8 beats instead of 16 beats, are used.  Potentially, each of those can get the hemiola rhytm pattern, either strongly or weakly expressed.  It is therefore possible that two of such 8-beat phrases that each show the hemiola rhythm succeed each other directly, like this: 

       '                         '                         '
   ...  o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o  o o  |  o o    ...
        \_______/ \____/     >>   \_______/ \____/     >>
        >         >               >         >
        \....................../  \....................../

J.S. Bach writes Allemandes in bars of 8 beats instead of 4 beats long, like this:

          o  |  o o  o o   o o  o o  |  o o  o o   o o  o   ...
                >>         >>   \_______/ \____/   >>
          \......./    \...../  >         >

Note carefully that in Bach's allemande notation, the heavy final beat of the phrase , remarkably enough, falls right in the middle of an 8-beat bar, and that the 6-beat hemiola patterns always straddle barlines. 

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