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Rhythm and Meter in the Music of Dream Theater

Title: Rhythm and Meter in the Music of Dream Theater.
Name(s): McCandless, Gregory Richard, author
Clendinning, Jane Piper, professor directing dissertation
Bakan, Michael B., university representative
Jones, Evan Allan, committee member
Buchler, Michael, committee member
College of Music, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2010
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation examines the compositions of the American progressive metal band Dream Theater from a music-theoretical perspective. Specifically, this project identifies the primary stylistic elements the band employs in its compositions, focusing on the complex rhythmic and metrical patterns that characterize its music in particular and the subgenre of progressive metal in general. In doing so, it isolates the musical elements that have helped differentiate Dream Theater from other progressive rock and heavy metal bands, and have provided me with complex—and often surprising—experiences of temporality. Additionally, this dissertation analyzes the ways in which rhythmic and metrical phenomena contribute to formal delineation in the band's music. The research in this dissertation proceeds from a brief history of Dream Theater into a two-part analytical discussion. First, I identify the band's most salient musical traits, making connections between each trait and progressive metal's parent styles of progressive rock and heavy metal. I argue within this part of the discussion for the band's sound to be metaphorically conceptualized as possessing a structural core of progressive rock and a stylistic periphery of heavy metal. Second, I proceed to an in-depth examination of the most commonly-encountered rhythmic and metrical complexities in the band's music. In order to describe how these phenomena typically function within an overall work, I examine two compositions in their entirety, including "Sacrificed Sons," which is one of the most metrically-complex songs in the progressive metal style. This project's secondary aim is to more aptly describe the nature of meter in contemporary music. As such, my analytical techniques—many of which are adapted from the contributions of Justin London, John Roeder, Gretchen Horlacher, and Christopher Hasty—are often non-standard, as I endeavor to reconsider—and in some cases, redefine—some terminology that I consider to be problematic. This dissertation also introduces new terms and concepts, in order to explain rhythmic and metrical phenomena that either haven't been addressed at all in the scholarly literature or have been discussed only in passing.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-2608 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2010.
Date of Defense: November 23, 2009.
Keywords: Liquidation, Music Theory, Dream Theater, Meter, Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal, Popular Music Analysis
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Jane Piper Clendinning, Professor Directing Dissertation; Michael B. Bakan, University Representative; Evan Allan Jones, Committee Member; Michael Buchler, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Music
Persistent Link to This Record:
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Host Institution: FSU

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McCandless, G. R. (2010). Rhythm and Meter in the Music of Dream Theater. Retrieved from