Rhythm Theory

In the flow

In “Anatomy of Rhythm” I lay out a means by which the student of rhythm can map out various rhythmic patterns to a significant degree of complexity. This model serves as a way to understand the theoretical structure of most global rhythmic systems. The next step is to learn how to apply this theoretical knowledge to your instrument(s) of choice.  “Flow technique” is a strategy that is especially useful . There are hundreds or possibly thousands of types of drums which may require many different approaches to technique.  As such it is beyond the scope of this post to apply

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Structure and Content

In Rhythm As Motion I discuss the value of learning rhythm by learning the underlying components that are common to all metronomic rhythmic systems. As an aspect of that I would like to discuss the difference between structure and content. In “Exploring music Deconstructively” I explore different methods for identifying pulse and meter and acknowledge that there are occasionally multiple “right answers”. The reason for this is that when you only have the content (what you hear), you are reliant only on the music as you hear it to make sense of  what is happening. As a participant in the

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Interior and exterior experience of music

If I ask you to thoroughly describe Shakespeare’s Hamlet – could you do it (assuming you have read/seen it)?  Your could tell me it’s in English, that it’s believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601.  You could count the words in the play, the nouns and verbs – or the sentences,  or the number of acts. You would probably also tell me about the setting, characters, and the plot.  You might describe the struggle from the famous soliloquy, Hamlet’s madness – feigned or real, or Ophelia’s death. You might describe the sense of betrayal Hamlet feels about his

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Exploring Music Deconstructively

“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

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Shapes of Time, Syncopation, and Clusters

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

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Anatomy of Rhythm

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

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