INTRA - Interactive Tutorial On Rhythm Analysis

by Ellen Stauder

Welcome to INTRA: an Interactive Tutorial on Rhythm Analysis. The aim of this tutorial is to be able to offer students the opportunity to learn how to understand rhythm more systematically and in more detail than is possible in class and in a way that allows the student to practice and check his or her work independently through a graduated series of exercises. The tutorial is meant to reduce frustration with learning the techniques while at the same time leading a student to think about the larger conceptual issues of rhythm more quickly and with greater sophistication.

If you would like to comment on Intra, report problems, or make suggestions about how this online tutorial can be improved, please send e-mail to Ellen Stauder ( or Nicholas Anderson (

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Table of Contents


Using Intra

1 - The Purposes of this Tutorial

2 - Some Introductory Concepts and Terms

3 - Prosody

3.1 - Some Words of Caution and Encouragement
3.2.1 - Words
3.2.2 - Using Tree Structures to Understand Stress
3.2.3 - More Complex Polysyllabic Words
3.2.4 - Stress in Phrases
3.2.5 - Monosyllables and What to Do About Them, or The Case of the Underlined W

4 - Versification

4.1 - What is meter?
4.2 - Two Roads Diverged in a Rhythmic Wood: A Note on Methods and a Plea for Choosing Both Roads
4.3 - Attridge's Beat-Offbeat Method
4.3.1 - The Base Rules
4.3.2 - Promotion Rule
4.3.3 - Demotion Rule
4.3.4 - Implied Offbeat Rule
4.3.5 - Complexity and Tension
4.4 - Elision, Caesura and Enjambment
4.5 - Generative Metrics
4.6 - Some Thoughts on the Relative Merits of Attridge and Generative Metrics

5 - Understanding Phrasal Rhythm: A Beginning




List of Exercises