A Computer-Assisted Analysis of Rhythmic Periodicity Applied to Two Metric Versions of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VII

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


SMC Conference 2006 (2006)




In a computer-assisted analysis, a comparison is made between two metered versions of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VII: the “supplementary edition” drafted by the oboist Jacqueline Leclair (published in 2001 in combination with the original version); and the oboe part of Berio’s chemins IV. Algorithmic processes, employed in the environment of the IRCAM program Open Music, search for patterns on two levels: on the level of rhythmic detail, by finding the smallest rhythmic unit able to divide the all of the note durations of a given rhythmic sequence; and on a larger scale, in terms of periodicity, or repeated patterns suggesting beats and measures. At the end of the process, temporal grids are constructed at different hierarchical levels of periodicity and compared to the original rhythmic sequences in order to seek instances of correspondence between the grids and the sequences. As the original notation of consists of a combination of rhythmic and spatial notation, and the section analyzed in this study consists entirely of spatial notation, this analysis of the metric versions of Sequenza VII investigates to what extent the rhythms and meters put into place are perceptible in terms of periodicity, or are rather made ambiguous by avoiding periodicity.