Main content

Swing, Rubato and Bounce

Tom Service investigates what happens when musical rhythm gets loosened. What is going on when a jazz band makes a tune swing, or a Viennese orchestra makes a waltz swirl?

Tom Service investigates what happens when musical rhythm gets stretched or loosened. What is going on when a jazz band makes a tune swing, or a Viennese orchestra makes a waltz swirl? Liberties are taken with strict musical time in order to add expression and excitement - but you have to have the knack.

He also consults pianist Stephen Hough about how to play Chopin and Rachmaninov with authentic flexibility. So whether it's Count Basie's Band or the Vienna Philharmonic, Tom unlocks the secrets of rubato.

Available now

31 minutes

Music Played

  • Duke Ellington

    It don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing)

    Performer: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra.
    • CD AJA.
    • 5057.
  • Jean‐Baptiste Lully

    Armide - Overture

    Performer: Christophe Rousset. Performer: Les Talens Lyriques.
    • Aparte.
    • AP135.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Ballade no. 4 in F minor Op.52 for piano

    Performer: Stephen Hough.
    • Hyperion.
    • CDA67456.
  • Johann Strauss II

    An der schonen, blauen Donau - waltz Op.314

    Conductor: Carlos Kleiber. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic.
    • Sony Classical.
    • SX2K45564.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Concerto no. 2 in C minor Op.18 for piano and orchestra, transc. Grainger for piano solo

    Performer: Stephen Hough. Orchestra: Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Litton.
    • Hyperion.
    • CDA675012.
  • Count Basie

    Easy does it

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • CBS.
    • 460828-2.
  • Victor Young

    Sweet Sue

    Performer: Sir Simon Rattle. Performer: London Sinfonietta.
    • EMI Classics.
    • CDC 747991.
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio

    How High the Moon

    Performer: The Oscar Peterson Trio.
    • Verve Records.
    • 513 752-2.
  • Victor Young

    Sweet Sue

    Performer: Sir Simon Rattle. Performer: London Sinfonietta.
    • EMI Classics.
    • CDC 747991.
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio

    How High the Moon

    Performer: The Oscar Peterson Trio.
    • Verve Records.
    • 513 752-2.
  • Henry's Bootblacks

    Big John's Special

    • Clifton Records.
    • CCDM101.
  • Fletcher Henderson

    Big John's Special

    Performer: Fletcher Henderson.
    • Hep Records.
    • HEP CD 1009.
  • Fletcher Henderson

    Big John's Special

    Performer: Fletcher Henderson.
    • Hep Records.
    • HEP CD 1009.
  • Fletcher Henderson

    Big John's Special

    Performer: Fletcher Henderson.
    • Hep Records.
    • HEP CD 1009.
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio

    How High the Moon

    Performer: The Oscar Peterson Trio.
    • Verve Records.
    • 513 752-2.
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio

    How High the Moon

    Performer: The Oscar Peterson Trio.
    • Verve Records.
    • 513 752-2.
  • Count Basie

    Easy does it

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • CBS.
    • 460828-2.
  • Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra

    T'aint what you do

    • CBS.
    • 467150-2.
  • Jean‐Baptiste Lully

    Armide - Overture

    Performer: Christophe Rousset. Performer: Les Talens Lyriques.
    • Aparte.
    • AP135.
  • Jean‐Baptiste Lully

    Armide - Overture

    Performer: Christophe Rousset. Performer: Les Talens Lyriques.
    • Aparte.
    • AP135.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Ballade no. 4 in F minor Op.52 for piano

    Performer: Stephen Hough.
    • Hyperion.
    • CDA67456.
  • Edward Elgar

    Violin Concerto in B minor Op.61 - 2nd mvt.

    Conductor: Vernon Handley. Performer: Nigel Kennedy. Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • Warner Classics.
    • 50999 4 33287 2 7.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Concerto no. 2 in C minor Op.18 for piano and orchestra

    Performer: Stephen Hough. Orchestra: Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Orchestra: Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Litton. Conductor: Andrew Litton. Conductor: Andrew Litton.
    • Hyperion.
    • CDA675012.
  • Johann Strauss II

    An der schonen, blauen Donau - waltz Op.314

    Conductor: Carlos Kleiber. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic.
    • Sony Classical.
    • SX2K45564.
  • Johann Strauss II

    An der schonen, blauen Donau - waltz Op.314

    Conductor: Carlos Kleiber. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic.
    • Sony Classical.
    • SX2K45564.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Coriolan - overture Op.62

    Conductor: Carlos Kleiber. Performer: Bavarian State Orchestra.
    • DG.
    • 0743080.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 4 in B flat major Op.60

    Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwängler. Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Concerto in D major Op.35 for violin and orchestra

    Conductor: Teodor Currentzis. Performer: Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Performer: Musica Aeterna Orchestra.
    • Sony Classical.
    • 88875165122.
  • Duke Ellington

    It don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing)

    Performer: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra.
    • CD AJA.
    • 5057.

Broadcasts

  • Sun 13 Dec 2020 17:00
  • Fri 18 Dec 2020 16:30

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Tom Service poses a very simple question (with a not-so-simple answer).

Six of the world's most extreme voices

Six of the world's most extreme voices

From babies to Mongolian throat singers: whose voice is the most extreme of all?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How Schoenberg opened a new cosmos for composers and listeners to explore.

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Bass is everywhere, but why do we enjoy it? Join Tom Service on a journey of discovery.

Watch the animations

Watch the animations

Join Tom Service on a musical journey through beginnings, repetition and bass lines.

When does noise become music?

When does noise become music?

We like to think we can separate “noise” from “music”, but is it that simple?

Podcast