The purpose of this paper is to present a new approach to analyse and understand music which is suitable for inclusion in school and university textbooks wherever musical meter and rhythm is taught. This approach, which is derived from Richard Cohn’s work on and pedagogical approaches to meter theory, demonstrates that it is only through accurate representations of the individual listener’s embodied psychoacoustic experience of music, that the deepest structural complexities of music can be revealed and explained. In this paper, the ski-hill graph and cyclic graph, are introduced as suitable instruments of mathematical music theory to teach school-age students meter and rhythm through visualizations and sonifications of beat-class theory. This paper sheds light on the importance of understanding meter as a measurable psychoacoustic experience rather than as notation and throughout the paper a suitable approach is demonstrated to analyse all music where meter is detected. The paper demonstrates how Cohn’s theory is a pivotal development in the evolution of Western music theory because music theory now has the capacity for both meter and tonality to be studied equally, which, critically, enables the inclusion of music which is not notated to be included in all levels of the music curricula.

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