Writing the Flow

Time, Rhythm and Western Music Notation

Tiziano Manca

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Tiziano Manca
artistic experimentation, notation, composition
Research focus:
Research Focus 2014 and onwards


The research topic is the notation of rhythm in Western music theory and practice. The research aims to investigate the role music notation held in shaping time, i.e. how musical notation not only preserves, but also structures time, in order that it becomes writable.

The project develops in two distinct but closely related parts: historical research and artistic experimentation. The historical research focuses mainly on the theory and practice of music from the thirteenth century until about 1600. Prior consideration will be given to the Greco-Roman legacy, particularly Aristoxenus’ of Tarentum Elementa rhythmica.

Although the supremacy of “material” over rhythm is still noticeable in the New Music, it is mostly in contemporary music that composers, albeit contradictorily, feel the need to reconsider musical rhythm and time. Artistic experimentation will seek creative practices that free rhythm from its subordination to “material” and the restrictions of graphic signs.


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