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There are a few things going on here. First is hypermeter: composers very frequently organize bars into two-bar groups and those two-bar groupings into four-bar groupings, and sometimes four-bar groupings into 8-bar or even 16-bar groupings. Now, you often don't tap your foot at those long intervals, but if you tried conducting them with a sort of "strong-...


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As noted in a Lars Peter Schultz comment, there are "Ritmo di quattro battute" and "Ritmo di tre battute" indications in the score of the scherzo of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, so yes, Beethoven did intend for the measure to be the beat. "Ritmo di quattro battute" signifies that the measures are grouped in 4-measure phrases, while "Ritmo di tre battute" ...


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You can compare the meter in the Beethoven Scherzo with compound meters like 6/4 and 6/8 which have two beats when the tempo is fast and six beats when the tempo is slow. In a similar way Beethoven's Scherzo in 3/4 has one beat instead of three each bar because of the fast tempo. The conductor will only conduct one beat per bar. The Trio is actually ...


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As this is an old question, I don't know if OP is still looking for this information. But there is significant literature (both theoretical and empirical) on metric grouping and perception. Perhaps the first to create a detailed theoretical model based on Gestalt principles was Lerdahl and Jackendoff's A Generative Theory of Tonal Music (1983), which ...


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