Musings of a Rhythm Monk
“Tell me, oh great musician, who is your teacher?” Tansen replied: “My teacher is a very great musician – but more than that. I cannot call him musician, I must call him music”. – Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Mysticism of Sound and Music One of the most challenging aspects of developing as a musician is acquiring vocabulary. It may be relatively easy at first to find some internal musicality and express it through an instrument but over time, many students find their development will slow down. Epiphanies come at first hard and fast – one after another. Over time they
In one of the examples from “‘Structure and Content” I reference rhythmic shapes and discuss different ways in which the underlying structure of a rhythmic phrase can affect the way in which it is played or perceived. To elaborate on this concept, I would like to address two ways in particular in which content can be organized – Shapes and Syncopation. These two approaches to thinking about rhythmic material can offer interesting perspectives on how rhythmic material functions. Shapes can be thought of as repetitions and variations of rhythmic structures inside of a phrase. Syncopation is simply the way in
Okay. Before we get started, it bears mentioning that if you haven’t been exposed to this material before, there is much to cover. You may want to return to this regularly to refresh your awareness. It also bears mentioning that the material here is a summary of years of study of different musics from around the world. Typically in the west, there is a certain understanding of what terms we use when talking about the rhythmic aspects of music. I have borrowed liberally from these terms, but I am not presenting the strictly western concept of rhythm. Instead, here you
…there was a focus on creating sacred space. Certainly, this means different things to different people. For some, sacred space is about connecting with symbols of Gods, Goddesses, Forces of Nature (Sun, Moon, Lightning, Water) – and so symbols are used in the space. For some sacred space is about ceremonial clothing (see Catholicism, pope), something that makes you physically concious of yourself in a different way. Others find that a sacred space is manifested through the incantation of words acknowledging divinity as it’s understood. All of these approaches have their place and are used all over the world and into the far reaches of history as a means of creating Sacred Space. While they differ from culture to culture and era to era, what makes them work is the same. Intention.
I live to be immersed in the deep silent waters of divine sound. Music has always been a companion for me. I grew up around music and musicians. Band rehearsals, studio sessions, gigs, and jam sessions were as much a part of my childhood as baseball practice and video games are for most children. Music has meant many things for me – intimacy, love, play, education, debate, passion, family, but also poverty, suffering, despair, disappointment, and discipline. Music is also where I first met God. So, music has also become my religion… It was in church – the kind of