Speed and slowness in the music of Gerald Barry

Daniel March*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How music engenders a sense of speed remains notoriously elusive, with theories of musical time sometimes putting forward the idea of an ongoing motion which underlies perceived processes of change. Drawing upon the suggestion that a number of such processes can be understood without reference to this sense of movement, the current discussion proposes that the concept of quickness, as formulated by Italo Calvino, forms a useful interpretative lever through which to approach a number of compositions by Irish composer, Gerald Barry. Examinations of Bob, 1998 and In the Asylum suggest ways in which Barry's approach to musical material plays with perceptions of speed and slowness, and how his work represents a number of different solutions to the problem of creating convincing musical forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-389
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Music Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2014


  • Barry
  • Form
  • Motion
  • Quickness
  • Slowness
  • Speed

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