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Music Theory Online
This article studies the empirical structures and theoretical status of rhythmic feels in jembe music, which is a popular style of drum ensemble music from West Africa. The focus is on systematic variations of durations (Bengtsson 1975)—that is, cyclic patterns of non-isochronous pulse streaming at the metric level of beat subdivision. Taking for example a standard piece of jembe repertoire that is set in a 4-beat/12-subpulse metric cycle (often notated as 12/8), I show that the ternary beatdoi:10.30535/mto.16.4.4 fatcat:6nkw7zofjrevbhy5v2ah67bwky