To demonstrate the metronomical effect of both the 3/4 time-signature and my own edition, I have supplied two audio files:


  1. The first (Audio Example 1a) with a 64bpm to the quarter-note metronome overlaying the Bethany Beardsley recording of Philomel,

  2. The second (Audio Example 2a) with an irregular metronomic beat (still with 64bpm to the quarter-note) according to my own edition with groupings of two and three SN’s.


You might find, as I do, that the 3/4 metronome sounds somewhat meaningless to its surrounding music; this may be because most of the musical events in Philomel do not occur on a strong 3/4 beat, and even less commonly on the down beat of a measure. Under my own edition, far more events occur on beats, and almost every complex rhythmic event occurs on a downbeat. The metronome on the Audio Example 2a seems to be more meaningfully tied to the surrounding music (albeit some understandable minute imprecision from the performer).


To further demonstrate Babbitt’s notation’s metronomic qualities versus my own edition’s, I have provided a third and fourth audio example (Audio Examples 1b and 2b respectively) which are a totally synthesized versions of Philomel, such that all parts, including the acoustic voice part, are as precise as they can be (obviously, the sounds in this example are rhythmically representative of Babbitt’s intent, but not timbrally).


  1. Audio Example 1b uses the 3/4 metronome

  2. Audio Example 2b uses my irregular metronome.

- Jordan Alexander Key -

Composer, Musicologist, Organist, Bagpiper




Copyright © 2020 by Jordan Alexander Key