Rhythm & Singing (KEVIN AUSTIN )

Subject: Rhythm & Singing
Date:    Sat, 22 Nov 1997 06:45:01 +0000

Fascinating thread on 'rhythm', or rather perception and discrimination in the subdivision of the 'beat'. Thanks for the references. A related (?) real-world application at a higher level is that found by ear-trainging (aural perception) instructors. Some 15 - 20% of our 'liberal-arts-style' music school students seem to have as a central problem, 'keeping the beat'. This is not to be confused with 'sub-dividing', but is rather the (unknowing?) introduction of pauses when certain kinds of difficulties are encountered. The corollary of 'jumping ahead', is also found when there are (very) long notes. Such that a pattern (compound duple) of six: (view in a monospace font) 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + is performed (or counted) as, (eg) 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + With very long notes the 'jumping ahead' example looks like (eg) 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + In my experience teaching sight-reading (which includes rhythm alone as well as sight-singing melody), a large number of this 10 - 15% profess successful (semi-)professional activities as singers. There seem to be a number of circumstances which make this apparent contradiction possible: (1) they sing alone, accompanying themself on guitar (or piano); sometimes with a bass or guitar, who 'goes with the flow' (2) they sing as soloist with choirs (where a strong metric basis is provided), and the choirs' level of performance may be significantly below that of the soloist (big fish / small pond) (3) they perform in musics in which rhythmic liberty is a positive aspect of creativity (some jazz stylings, 'free' blues and gospel) (4) they work in areas where the music is extensively rehearsed and the metric problems are solved by rote/memory performance (5) they sing only highly language specific material (only baroque, classical period, light rock, folk etc), and they have absorbed enough of the language-specific metric elements that they do not have to 'count', and are habituated to metric and rhythmic parameters (6) and a few more related to the above In my own listening, I am well aware of my ability to 'stop time' (and loop) in my head to listen to one chord and do an aural analysis (pitch / orchestration etc), and also the ability to 'fast-forward' through a piece or section to check some feature or other. These skills are essential to doing musical dictation, where the music often needs to be 'stopped' (in the inner-ear -- no not _that_ one, sorry), to determine some particular feature, or listened to (internally) at high speed to check for errors. Any references or comments would be most welcomed. Kevin Kevin Austin kaustin(at)vax2.concordia.ca (Currently teaching basic ear-training and writing an integrated method.) -------------------------------------------------------------- Assoc Professor K Austin Department of Music / Departement de musique universite Concordia University 7141, rue Sherbrooke o Montreal, QC H4B 1R6 CANADA -------------------------------------------------------------- tel: (1) 514 - 848 - 4709 FAX: (1) 514 - 848 - 2808 Vous pouvez ecrire en francais ou en anglais. Montreal under grey and wet, where some dessicated brown leaves do not know enough to leave the trees.

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University