Text and Temporality: Toward an Understanding of Rhythmic Irregularities in the Music of Tom Waits
This article considers phrase structure, hypermeter, and lyrics in three songs by Tom Waits, examining the particular ways that temporal regularity and irregularity interact with poetic structure, musical style, and vocal performance in Waits’s music. Subtle and ambiguous hypermetrical shifts are uncovered in “Green Grass,” whereas “Black Wings” utilizes conspicuously conflicting phrase lengths to enhance its textural meaning. In “Dead and Lovely” Waits creates temporal disturbances by shifting the placement of four-measure phrases relative to hypermetrical downbeats and upbeats.
Thomas, Margaret E., "Text and Temporality: Toward an Understanding of Rhythmic Irregularities in the Music of Tom Waits" (2016). Music Faculty Publications. 1.
The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.