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cross-rhythm

the simultaneous combination of contrasting rhythms in a musical composition. Rhythmic conflicts, or cross-rhythms, may occur within a single metre (e.g., two eighth notes against triplet eighths) or may be reinforced by simultaneous combinations of conflicting metres. The latter effect is characteristic of numerous non-Western musical forms (e.g., Indonesian gamelan) and of certain Western, especially American, compositions

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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