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György Kurtág selected fragments from Franz Kafka's Tagebücher, Octavhefte, Kafka's letters and other writings for his Kafka-Fragmente, op. 24. The 40 fragments in György Kurtág's, op. 24 use 38 texts. 12 are taken from the Tagebücher, 12 from the Octavhefte, 11 from other fragments and aphorisms, and 1 each from Kafka's letters to Oskar Pollock, Felice Bauer, and Milena Jesenská. The texts contain 1103 syllables, unequally distributed. The fragments selected by Kurtág cover a broad range of rhythmic situations, some of wich echo one another across the work. One of the major variables is the extent to which, in a given fragment, the sequence of accents approaches the predictability of conventional verse meters. A second major variable is the extent to which the singer's rhythmic figures are announced, supported, or echoed by the violin. A third is the presence, or absence of brief melismas or extended vocalises. A forth is the correlation, or lack of correlation between shifts in text rhythm and shifts from one group of tones to another.

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The central hypothesis of this paper is that rhythmic patterns in Bartók’s melodies correlate with intervallic structure. Recognition of a motif or phrase as a distinct musical idea depends on its rhythmic character as well as its ordering of pitches. Rhythmic asymmetry is also significant to the rhythm-pitch interrelation theory. In Bartók’s music, rhythm often varies while the melodic identity is retained. Equally, his use of chromaticism and inversion as forms of melodic variation often occur with the rhythmic identity intact. Many rhythmic patterns form phrases that undergo such extreme changes of pitch that the phrase is defined by rhythm. The analysis of the first movement’s exposition of the Concerto no. 1 for Piano and Orchestra (1926) examines the extent to which rhythm is organised according to melody.

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