CHAPTER 9

Tempo, Rhythm, and Mood

The words tempo, rhythm, and mood are used here to describe a feature Aristotle called music or song. Greek tragedies were written in verse that was sung accompanied by music, and critics believe that Aristotle’s term referred to the music and/or the musical rhythms of the poetry. He observed that such rhythms were capable of inciting emotions directly, and he concluded that these emotions enhanced the dramatic impact of plays. From this idea, he deduced that “the music of the language” should be considered one of the six basic elements of drama.

Although not many plays use verse today, they do employ tempos, rhythms, and moods to express feelings just as verse and music do. Rhythmical cadences can stimulate ...

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