November 29, 2019 music

Everyone can sing this tune off the top of their heads! Listen to “Frosty the Snowman,” and focus on when the lyrical syllables move from “fros” to “ty” at around 0:12. But perhaps the most commonly popularized use of the horizontal hemiola pattern is found in Leonard Bernstein’s “America” from his brilliant West Side Story musical. The following Latin-music-inspired motif is so clearly supplanted as the foundation of this song’s structure, it’s almost impossible to hear the horizontal hemiola without thinking of it. Here, the effect of modulating between duple and triple meter feels particularly strong. (more…)