Rhythmic and Strophic Abstract

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Reuven Tsur
Tel Aviv University

Yehosheva Bentov
Tel Aviv University and The State Teachers' College Seminar Hakibbutsim

Rhythmic and Strophic Organization in Mediaeval Hebrew Poetry
(a cognitive approach)


This paper explores the correlations and relative frequencies of certain prosodic structures in Mediaeval Hebrew Poetry, where metre is based on systematic manipulation of shorter and longer vowels (schwas versus full vowels). These correlations and frequencies cannot be accounted for by the explicit poetics of the period. It is assumed here that they reflect the tacit intuitions of the poets. The paper presents several cognitive mechanisms underlying the experiencing of poetic rhythm, on the assumption that while metrical conventions may change from time to time and from style to style, the cognitive mechanisms underlying them show remarkable consistencies over considerable periods of time, and perhaps even across cultural traditions. The cognitive assumptions of the paper include Gestalt theory, as well as the hypotheses concerning "limited channel capacity", and the nature of short-term memory.

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Original file name: Tsur Bentov abstract - converted on Thursday, 20 November 1997, 21:19

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