Brahms, Rhythm, and the Renaissance

Eleanor Heisey


Johannes Brahms’s deep engagement with the past contributed to his compositional style in many ways. This article considers Brahms techniques that look back to and expand on those of Renaissance composers, in particular metric conflict and cadences, voice displacement, changes in proportion, rhythmic augmentation and diminution, and the hocket. Examples are taken from Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture, Variations On A Theme By Haydn, Piano Quartet in A Major, and Symphony No. 3 in F Major.

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