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  • 1 Liszt Academy of Music Budapest H-1391 Hungary Pf. 206
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I attempt to demonstrate that a substantial aspect of the performing style of the two most important pianists of the Hungarian Liszt school, Bartók and Dohnányi, together with other performers of the era to a certain extent, is the mainly unintentional slowing down at structurally relatively important or surprising moments in terms of musical meaning and, respectively, the speeding up of relatively unimportant or highly predictable moments. Relatively important or surprising moments include the appearance of a new theme, structural boundaries, atypical modulations, and the like; relatively unimportant or highly predictable moments include sequences, transitional passages, and, to a certain extent, cadential formulae. Computer-assisted analysis of microtiming patterns of representative recording samples as well as their comparison with preliminary results of a listening experiment suggests a tight connection of Bartók’s and Dohnányi’s rubato patterns with structural importance and predictability.