July 2011

July 2011

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Basic Rhythm

Basic Rhythm
'Music is organization of time' was the mantra of our performance teacher at University. There is a good deal of truth in it, I only wondered how he perceived time. Because in the end how we perceive time has an enormous impact on our performance of music. 

The left side of our brain perceives time as spacious and circular, basically without past en future, everything is here and now. The right side of our brain to the contrary perceives time as linear and probably it is this where he was referring to. 

 Music has this tremendous power of combining the two perceptions of time and create a wholesome experience. That's what 'Art' does. 

Now, if we talk about organization of time, basically we talk about having control over it and to have control over it means to understand it and use it to our advantage. Because when we are in linear time, we are constantly worried about what is to come. 

Basic Rhythm is a concept in Music which can come to our assistance here and solve many a problem for us, because of its capacity to combine both perceptions of time in the performance of music. 

Basic Rhythm is the basic pulse in music, sort of the heartbeat of the intentions of the composer. The time signature tells us a lot about the basic rhythm, whether it is 6/8 or 4/4 or 2/2. Especially with the last it is very important to find out when the music writes 4/4 whether not really 2/2 is assumed. 

When you practice or when you perform a pianist is his/her own conductor. Together with phrase structure the basic rhythm brings the performer straight into the circular spacious experience of time. And there is only the beauty and the meaning of the music. The past and future does not exist and hence neither do its worries. 

When we are performing we know that in fact what we are playing at this very moment we probably can master quite well. But it is the difficulties in the part of the music to come in the future, which make us feel insecure and threaten to take our performance down. Thinking in terms of Basic Rhythm and phrasing helps us to keep our performing in the 'here and now'.

Also closely related to basic rhythm is the way we co-ordinate our movements. Look at how a horse walks. Does it walk always the same way, but at different speeds? No! The horse changes its behavior if it wants to go faster. 

Then why do we practice as if we have to do the same thing, but only faster?

The horse walks and has a basic pulse and puts its weight on every step. The horse trots and has another basic pulse and puts its weight on every other step. The horse gallops and has again another basic pulse and puts its weight on one action with all its four legs. 

The basic pulse has to do with your (and your audiences) heart beat. When you embed your basic rhythm in there, you are well on your way in mastering your music and combining both time experiences into one wholesome experience.

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