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Quantity or Duration. Hence Rhythm was accustomed to be defined as the order of movement.
Rhythm, therefore, does not essentially consist in the alternation of strong and weak beats, of high and low sounds, but is the sense of motion imparted to certain notes and the sense of rest attached to others. The sense of motion is called Arsis, and the sense of rest, Thesis.
In other words, Rhythm chiefly consists in the alternation of relatively long and short notes, of quick and slow passages. Not, of, course, in the modern music sense namely, that some notes of themselves are longand others short, for in modern music the rhythmic movement is strictly measured, whereas in Plain Chant this is not so. (called accent or
ictus), however, occurs, in the latter, at every second or third note. Thus every Plain Chant melody is composed of rythmical bars (so to speak) of two or three notes, and its movement is therefore said to be both binary and ternary.