Sunday, July 6, 2014

What ARE we Going to do About Barlines?

Looking back at all the trouble barlines cause I long ago decided not to teach my young students to count rhythm.  Counting is a total waste of time, unless money is involved.

The real trouble is that mindless downbeat.

Here is where I differ from a prevailing view of rhythm as a function of bodily balance.  Sure, that is one manifestation of rhythm, but certainly not the only one.  The rhythms of speech so often run contrary to the beats of dance, just listen to any good jazz singer.  And the rhythms of a mind at play are subject only to the limits of the imagination.

The other problem, besides the mindless downbeat, is the division of the bar into discrete, countable beats and, by implication, the division of those beats into subdivisions corresponding to some degree to the bar itself.

But what about quarter-note beats that do not behave as beats?  What about sixteenth-note beats?  Just because the printed meter is 4/4 does not mean that the beat is the quarter note!  When you figure that out I guarantee that, though this may not be so easy to pull off, you will have much more fun in the process.