Metric Manipulations in Haydn and Mozart: Chamber Music for Strings, 1787-1791. by Danuta Mirka. (Oxford Studies in Music Theory.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009
from NOTES (2010): Danuta Mirka has produced an ambitious book that seeks to combine disciplines whose triple union would have seemed improbable some decades ago. Admittedly, music theory and cognitive psychology will not seem unlikely bedfellows today, but the author's scrupulous account of late-eighteenth-century metric theory provides her discussion with a "historically informed" air that should appeal to readers otherwise but moderately invested in bar-by-bar analysis of individual works. While the resulting discussion, may at points seem eclectic, the author argues that the tools for metric analysis developed by American theorists in the past decades are eminently compatible with the approach of eighteenth-century writers, and so the combination of these fields is no arbitrary act but rather the realization of an inherent kinship, indeed, most of Mirka's theoretical sections could be described as "sorting out" the analytical toolbox developed primarily after Fred Lerdahl's and Ray Jackendoff's A Generative Theory of Tonal Music (Cam-bridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983) with an eye at historical music theory. In this regard, Metric Manipulations in Haydn and Mozart exemplifies--if not pioneers--a sort of "synthetic analysis" that should hopefully prove an inspiration for theorists in other areas as well.