Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





William Rothstein

Committee Members

Thomas Forrest Kelly

Ruth DeFord

Scott Burnham

Subject Categories

Music Theory


Rhythm, Plainchant, Gregorian Chant, Solesmes, History of Theory, Performance Practice


This dissertation examines the theory of rhythm developed by Dom André Mocquereau (1849–1930), a French Benedictine monk. Mocquereau’s theory was originally conceived as a method for performing Gregorian chant and has been the source for numerous publications and recordings since the beginning of the twentieth century. This dissertation places Mocquereau’s theory in the context of both the evolving performance practice of medieval monophony and the history of music theory in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Chapter 1 surveys the history of the notation of Gregorian chant, introducing the problem of constructing a rhythmic practice from historical sources. Chapter 2 examines the history of the rhythmic approach developed at the abbey of Solesmes from 1833 to the present in relation to competing historical approaches. Chapter 3 describes Mocquereau’s theory of accent as it relates to monophonic chant and to Renaissance polyphony. Chapter 4 considers Mocquereau’s relationship to other nineteenth- and twentieth-century theories of music developed by Jérôme-Joseph de Momigny, Rudolf Westphal, Mathis Lussy, Vincent d’Indy, and Hugo Riemann. Appended to the dissertation are several previously unpublished letters exchanged by Mocquereau and Riemann.

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Music Theory Commons