Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why Should American Musicians Study Indian Classical Music? Part 4: Rhythm

Certainly rhythm is learned effectively in western musical traditions. Additionally, the western system of musical notation, in terms of rhythm, is phenomenally useful. Western music, however; on the whole doesn't tend to stray too far from triple or duple meter. This means that whenever an odd meter is encountered, it tends to be something that makes performers nervous.

While I think that the above presenter could certainly work on his organizational skills (just look at that mess!), I appreciate very much the points he is making - FYI, this system for learning is from South India and is somewhat different than the system used in the north. 

On the other hand, Indian Classical Music, with its system of taal is very well suited for teaching (what westerners would call) “irregular” rhythms.  The most typical rhythm cycles (like Western music) fall into duple or triple meter, but it is not uncommon to hear rhythms that are seven beats long (3+2+2) or 14 beats (3+4+3+4). Furthermore, the system of teaching how to identify parts of the rhythmic phrase (such as strong and weak sections) is incredibly useful. Once students are able to tackle a few compositions in the more unusual cycles, a simple odd meter will never bother them again.

Here is a primer on rhythmic concepts from a wonderful musician - Also the owner of the lesson site World Music 

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