What are the tiny pauses in the song Moonlight Sonata (1st mov)? Why does it sound like the beat is irregular yet it’s still pleasing to hear?

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First of all, this is an example of what I’m talking about: https://youtu.be/sbTVZMJ9Z2I

In that song, at least to my ears, there are very tiny pauses in the song. It feels like the tempo isn’t linear, it stretches a bit in places.

1. Are my ears playing tricks on me, or are they real?
2. If they’re real, why aren’t they in all renditions of the song? I notice some don’t have those pauses (and some stretch the beat slightly in other places?)
3. If they’re not real, what is happening with my ears?
4. What’s special about this song that it has such irregular beats? Why is it not used more in music? (regardless of whether it’s real or a ‘trick’)

Please tell me everything there is to know about this phenomenon (or what it’s called at least so I can look it up) because I’m obsessed with it. Thanks!

In: 73

12 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Your ears aren’t playing tricks on you. What you’re hearing is called [rubato](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempo_rubato), an expressive speeding and/or slowing of the beat. It’s extremely common in many of styles music, and extremely uncommon in others. You probably aren’t used to hearing it because most popular music today doesn’t use a lot of rubato, but rather uses on a consistent, driving beat. Rubato is one reason you need conductors leading orchestras — because the beat is not necessarily consistent, but rather *elastic*, and the conductor chooses when to stretch or compress the beat to keep the whole orchestra in sync.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Your ears aren’t playing tricks on you. What you’re hearing is called [rubato](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempo_rubato), an expressive speeding and/or slowing of the beat. It’s extremely common in many of styles music, and extremely uncommon in others. You probably aren’t used to hearing it because most popular music today doesn’t use a lot of rubato, but rather uses on a consistent, driving beat. Rubato is one reason you need conductors leading orchestras — because the beat is not necessarily consistent, but rather *elastic*, and the conductor chooses when to stretch or compress the beat to keep the whole orchestra in sync.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s called rubato, literally stealing the tempo. The legendary pianists of last century would play with way more rubato than today. Listen for’example to this chopin Mazurka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v30m6gpAhqU

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s called rubato, literally stealing the tempo. The legendary pianists of last century would play with way more rubato than today. Listen for’example to this chopin Mazurka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v30m6gpAhqU

Anonymous 0 Comments

So, I’ve heard both piano music linked here and I have absolutely no idea what y’all are talking about. Since this is ELI5, anyone has a video comparing “regular beat” with rubato?

Anonymous 0 Comments

So, I’ve heard both piano music linked here and I have absolutely no idea what y’all are talking about. Since this is ELI5, anyone has a video comparing “regular beat” with rubato?