Tempo and Rhythmic Gesture 1750-1900 Conference


Tempo and Rhythmic Gesture 1750-1900 Conference

Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall, School of Music, University of Leeds

June 29-30, 2009

This conference aims to bring together a number of scholars and performers across a wide range of disciplines and musical epochs to consider the issues inherent in musical tempo and rhythm. What are the indications in scores and accounts of appropriate performing speeds? What intelligence can be found for tempo in music before the use of the metronome, or where metronome markings are not given? What light can performance timings shed on this subject? Where metronome markings are used, to what extent are they a reliable indication of composers’ intentions and expectations and what degree of flexibility, if any, do they anticipate?

This will open into a discussion of the realisation of rhythms in performance – an equally if not more complex matter. In so doing, the role and nature of music notation in a wide variety of epochs and contexts will be considered. This will include expositions on fundamental areas of enquiry including issues of tempo rubato, contrametric tempo rubato, agogic accentuation, its location, extent and purpose and the issues inherent in composers’ performances of their own music (and by extension, the intelligence of recordings in terms of determining the nature and scope of appropriate historically-aware performing practices in a wide variety of music of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries).

The scholarly importance of the conference is based around its specific yet wide-ranging topic, and its location at the School of Music, University of Leeds, where much research-driven performance and performance-related research is undertaken by a variety of scholars under the umbrella of LUCHIP. Contributors include Clive Brown, Peter Holman and Daniel Leech-Wilkinson.

A ‘call for papers’ is open until May 8, for 20-minute papers on rhythm and tempo in performance of music of the Western ‘classical’ tradition across a broad chronological perspective. To submit abstracts and titles, please contact

Dr David Milsom,

School of Music,

University of Leeds,

Leeds, Ls2 9JT