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Copyright 2013 by John Lamb

ISBN #: 978-1-304-12273-5

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About The Author

John Lamb has a B.S. in Music, Biology and Psychology and a Masters in

Education focused on teaching rhythm. He has also studied drumming with

Bernard Purdie (Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan) and Rodney Holmes (Santana,

Wayne Shorter). He is currently studying somatic education including the

Alexander Technique and Andover Education.

John teaches privately in Portland and online through Skype. John also

teaches at several local schools and sliding scale lessons at two local

nonprofits around Portland, OR. He has been performing the drums

professionally around the U.S. and Asia since he was 15 years old. John is also

a professional photographer.
Table of Contents
About The Author

Note From The Author

Introduction

What Is Rhythm?
A succession of thumps
Rhythm and language
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Resonance
Rhythm is resonance

Its About Time


Musak
Finding the pulse
Heart rate
Tensioning the time
Rubato or robato?

Meter
Contrast
Layers
The case against metronomes

Entrainment
Live Music vs Recorded Music
Mozart Effect

Groove
Feel
Emotions
Resonance in performance
Feel good practice
The rhythm plays you
Feeling it
Thinking vs. Non-Thinking

A Final Note
Appendix
Time Signature vs. Meter
Beat deaf
Look for upcoming books by John Lamb
Selected Bibliography
Note From The Author

Hello and thanks for reading! This book is designed to be read with internet

access. I have written the text to stand alone as much as possible, but a picture

is worth a thousand words, and sometimes a video is worth more than that. It

will help to follow the links in the book as I wrote them. They demonstrate the

ideas that I discuss here. That being said, if you are reading on a device that

does not allow internet access, you can always come back and look at them on

another device later if you like.

I would like to thank Don Lombardi from DrumChannel.com, the Schyen

Collection, at schoyencollection.com and Petr Janata for their gracious

permission to reprint videos, images and charts. I would also like to thank

everyone who helped edit and who put up with me think-talking my way

through the book.

And thank you for reading!


Introduction

Clarity is important. To demonstrate this to my students, I will sometimes ask them

to go pick up a fluzzlenuzzle. Of course, since the word is made up, they cant do it.

Because they don't understand what I'm asking them to do, they cannot succeed. If

there was a real fluzzlenuzzle, some may learn by experimentation, trying out

different things until they succeeded through trial and error. Others would give up,

assuming they are stupid or don't have talent.

Unfortunately, this happens a lot with music. Everyone has rhythm. This may come

as a surprise to some readers, but everyone can find the beat. While medical

conditions exist where people cannot recognize faces, remember the names of tools,

or understand what is spoken to them, nobody has found someone who cannot

synchronize to music. (With one possible, but unlikely exception. See Appendix)

There is a good reason that rhythm is ubiquitous. What we think of as rhythm is

really a side effect of physics, a consequence of natural laws that we couldnt avoid if

we wanted. The basic functioning of the brain depends on the same principles that

underlie rhythm. We exist because rhythm exists.

Still, many of us still feel we dont have rhythm, not because we dont, but because

we dont recognize it for what it is. Music is everywhere. Parents play it for babies

who are still in the womb, and mourners play it at funerals after we die. People in
every culture, on every continent and in every era play music. We love music because

we connect to it, because we relate to it. How could we relate to it if there wasnt

something inside us for it to relate to?

The importance of clarity is one of the biggest takeaways I got from my Masters in

Education. Success is tenuous if you don't understand the directions. Clarity in the

syllabus, the subject matter, the presentation and the expectations is one of the most

important factors to student's success.

Take me, for example. Many things in music came easily to me. In my first drum

lesson, I was able to play basic drum set patterns straight away. My teacher was

surprised that I had never played the drum set before. I remember being able to see

what my teacher was doing, and repeat it. However, understanding some of the most

important aspects of rhythm took me decades. These aspects are the concepts that

make the foundation of this book.

Misunderstanding these concepts led to big problems with inconsistency. I found

myself acing auditions, but losing the job later when my performance did not stay at

the same level. Sometimes music seemed to come out naturally while other times, I

felt that what I was only playing the drums, not making music. I didnt know why, or

how to find out what I was doing wrong.

Over time, I began to discover, bit by bit, what I should have known all along. At one

point, I remember telling my brother about one of my new insights. I told him how I
was approaching the metronome differently. I found that I had much better success

feeling for the click of the metronome instead of listening to it - a tip I read in

Victor Wootens book The Music Lesson. My brother, a fantastic musician with a

flourishing career, said, "Huh! I've always done that! I didn't even realize there was

another way to do it!"

How to deal with time was clear to my brother, but not to me. And I wasnt alone.

Rhythm is widely misunderstood. For the most part, music texts say very little about

how and why rhythm works, and next to nothing about how to go about producing

effective rhythms. Instead, most music texts promote the idea that rhythm is the

result of playing the right notes at the right time. This isnt really true. Rhythm is a

process, the result of the connection between the music and the listener. This

connection is both the how and the why rhythm has the power it has. This is what I

failed to understand. Connection is the currency of music. The specific notes are a

tool in establishing this connection, but are not themselves the connection.

I felt the connection, but did not value it. When I sat down to play, I focused on which

notes I should play, and how quickly I should play them. This is why my

performance was inconsistent. When I let myself go with the flow I was fine, but

when I tried to play the right notes in the right order things began to fall apart.

All of this is just a set up for how and why I present what I do in this book. Explaining

what rhythm is, literally, is a way to explore personally what rhythm is, what it feels

like and what it means. If musicians have an accurate and adequate understanding
of themselves and the music, then they will be able to achieve the results they want.

If, on the other hand, there is misunderstanding, then the choices they make to

achieve their goals are less effective.

Clear, accurate understanding of how things work is even more important than

motivation. Highly motivated students will likely refine their understanding through

time in order to achieve an accurate understanding of what they need to do to meet

their goals. An unmotivated student won't bother. Motivation is the motor, but

accurate understanding is the destination.

That is where this book comes in. This is an introduction to how rhythm works and

what that means for understanding and performing rhythm.


What Is Rhythm?

In broad terms, rhythm is repetition is space and or time. The term is used to

describe everything from how planets orbit stars to ocean waves to chemical

reactions. Rhythm in photography and design refers to how shapes get repeated in

space.

In photography, rhythm refers to repeated shapes in space. Each image shows different ways
photographs can have rhythm.

A succession of thumps
Musical rhythm refers to notes repeated in time. These notes form a pattern and the

pattern gets repeated. According to the current, most commonly accepted theories of

rhythm, the pattern of repeated notes is the rhythm.

In the words of one music theorist rhythm is unfortunately thought to be merely a

succession of thumps. Other, less tongue-in-cheek definitions define rhythm as

the pattern of organized sounds and silences or the specific pattern of events
nested in meter.

Meter, it turns out, is a lot harder to define than rhythm. Music theory scholars say
that meter is:

Organized patterns of beats

A group of beats

The calibration of the beat into smaller time intervals

The systematic grouping of beats and their divisions in regularly


occurring patterns of pulsations

Structured patterns of accentuation among pulses

The presence of a regular pattern of beats

A hierarchy of strong and weak beats

While these definitions are not entirely consistent, the general consensus is that

meter, like rhythm, reflects patterns. While rhythm is a pattern of thumps, meter is

what the patterns have in common. Meter is also sometimes defined by the time

signature. However, in terms of rhythm, while time signature and meter are often

related, they are not the same thing. (See appendix)

Rhythm and language


This view of rhythm derives from the assumption that the rhythm of music comes

from the rhythm of language. Many of the words we use to describe rhythm, such as

meter, are borrowed from poetry. Some of the most influential rhythm theories, such

as Lerdahl and Jackendoffs A Generative Theory Of Tonal Music, derive from existing

linguistic theory. In this case, Lerdahl and Jackendoff mined Noam Chomskys theory

of a Deep Structure in grammar.

As it turns out, however, research no longer supports Chomskys own hypothesis.

Nevertheless, the idea that music is a result of language is still popular. Famed

linguist Stephen Pinker even went so far as to write that music is linguistic
cheesecake. By this he meant that music is just something we happen to enjoy

because language exists, but serves no function, no purpose on its own.

But music researchers are finding the same troubles with rhythm theory that they

are finding for language theory. The idea that the pattern defines rhythm holds up

very well on the printed page, and only the printed page. When you look at actual

music the idea stops making sense. For example, real music speeds up and slows

down. Any timing changes are explicitly ignored. A slow down or speed up changes

the pattern. According to the theory, this new pattern ought to be different, but we

hear them in the same way. Or sometimes we can hear the same pattern of notes in

different ways. This does not make sense if rhythm is the pattern itself.

There is a new theory arriving in its place, however. Fueled by research on how

music affects the brain, rhythm can be more directly defined.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


There is an old question: If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is there to hear it, does

it make a sound? It may make sound, but not rhythm. Rhythm is only made to be

rhythm by the listener.

Music plays the body like an instrument,


and the brain makes music.
Elena Manns

A painting by itself is not art just because it is a painting. The painting is art because

the viewer sees something special in it. In the same way, rhythm is art because it

affects the listener. Thanks to modern research, we can begin to define rhythm based

directly on how it affects listeners. When scientists look at how rhythm affects the

brain, they find that rhythm causes the brain to resonate.

Rhythm acts like a drill sergeant, causing the brain to work at its speed. One way this

is measured is with brain waves. Brain waves are essentially the sum total of all the
electrical activity under the sensor. Each EEG electrode measures all the electrical

activity under it. This electrical activity reflects the activity of the brain.

Brain waves are said to have rhythm. The electricity measured by the EEG oscillates,

rising and falling as neurons fire together and rest together. When we listen to

music, the rhythm of the brain synchronizes with the rhythm of the song. Alpha,

beta and gamma waves in particular synchronize to rhythm so that the waves are

moving in time with the music.

There are always two people in


every picture:the photographer
and the viewer.
Ansel Adams

This new definition of rhythm is that a rhythm is a rhythm only if it causes the

brain to resonate. If the brain does not resonate to the rhythm, then the rhythm

doesnt hold any meaning and is therefore not a rhythm. The pattern of thumps is

not what matters. What matters is how that pattern affects the listener.
Resonance
Resonance is an interaction between two (or more) systems where one system

pushes on the other at regular intervals, and the other reacts with the same

frequency. Resonance depends on both the pushing system and the pushed system

to work. The time between the pushes define the frequency.

You can think of a swing set. If you pump your legs at the right frequency, you will

swing (oscillate) back and forth. If they push too fast or too slow then you pretty

much just stay where you are. Watch this video as a demonstration of resonance.

Resonance in a Swing Set


Video: This video demonstrates how resonance does and does not work on a swing set.

Another example of resonance is the nose. When we speak, our vocal chords stretch.

This stretch causes the air rushing past them out of the lungs to vibrate at the desired

frequency, creating pitch. The air resonates in the mouth and sinuses, making the

sound louder. This is why people sound muffled with a stuffy nose - the sinuses get

blocked up, preventing resonance.

Wine Glass Resonating


Video: This video shows a wine glass resonating with sound from a speaker. As the air pushes
on the wine glass, the wineglass vibrates back and forth. When the volume is turned up high
enough, the glass breaks.

The box part of a violin or guitar is called a resonator because the vibration caused

by the strings causes the box to resonate, increasing the volume. Resonance is also

why wine glasses break when a certain pitch is played with enough volume.

Radios work with electrical resonance. The radio signals from radio stations are

broadcast at a specific frequency. To change the station, we turn a dial that changes
the size of the antennae. Larger antennae resonate with slower frequencies, so by

changing the size of the antennae, we change what radio station resonates on the

antennae. This allows us to pick up one station instead of others.

Nicolai Tesla spent much of his life studying resonance. Legend has it, he was toying

with a machine he invented that struck the floor at regular intervals when he

accidentally hit upon the resonant frequency of his own building. His building began

to resonate with the machine, acting as if there was an earthquake going on. It was

shaking so violently that Tesla had to destroy his invention with a sledgehammer to

prevent the building from coming down.

Rhythm is resonance
Rhythms are patterns, and those patterns cause the brain to resonate. To simplify a

little, sound is vibrating air. The sound pushes on the ear, and the ear transforms the

pulses of the moving air into pulses of electricity. These electrical pulses cause the

brain to resonate. What we think of as rhythm is an expression of this resonance.

The idea that rhythm is resonance is not new. Most musicians I talk to find it so

obvious that it goes without saying. While there is a lot of recent research

demonstrating this, research as early as the 1970s suggest that rhythm may be the

result of resonance.

What is new is the idea of describing rhythm in terms of resonance. This idea

provides new ways to understand rhythm, and also suggests ways that musicians

can improve performance. It turns out that resonance also makes a very simple and

useful theory of rhythm.

The mathematics of rhythm are universal.


They don't belong to any particular culture.
John McLaughlin
I will explore it in depth, and present a system of metrical analysis, in my upcoming

book, Rhythm Harmony. For the purposes of this book, however, I will just present the

basics. There are two aspects of resonance that mostly explain how rhythm works:

The pulse and the direction.


Its About Time

Rhythm is all about time. Just ask around. Youll find books and videos such as

The Time Machine (J.R.Robinson), Everything is Timekeeping (Peter Erskine),

Big Time (Billy Ward), and Out Of Time (Narada Michael Walden) filling the

shelves of music stores. Musicians everywhere echo the sentiment of studio

great Bernard Purdie when he says Timing is everything!

As with all things that resonate, when talking about timing in rhythm,

everything starts with the pulse. The pulse, tempo or frequency of the music

determines how the music is performed, and how it is understood by the

audience. Without the pulse, the notes would not fit together in a meaningful

way. The pulse is such an important concept that it is difficult to

understand rhythm without it. More than anything else, the pulse is what

gives rhythm meaning. It allows us to make sense of the notes.

The pulse is what you tap your foot to, and each tap of the foot is one beat.

The pulse is measured in the number of beats per minute (bpm). This is the

tempo, and is the basic frequency of the musics rhythm.

Pitch, too, has a frequency. whereas a rhythm is measured in beats per


minute, a pitch is measured in beats per second. In fact, if you speed up

rhythms enough, we will start to hear them as pitches. We will hear a pulse as

sound when its frequency ranges from 20 beats per second to 20,000 beats per

second. Dan Tepfer created a great demonstration where you can hear

rhythms turn into pitches and vice versa.

The pulse has some important emotional effects. For example, slow songs can

cause listeners to feel relaxed or sad. Fast songs on the other hand can cause

listeners to feel excited or agitated.

Slow and fast are compared to what is known as preferred tempo.

Researchers have known for over a hundred years that people prefer tempos

between 80 and 120 beats per minute. Each person has his or her own

individual tempo that they prefer to others. Interestingly, this speed is

consistent throughout each persons life, although it slows down slightly with

age. Also, identical twins have closer preferred tempi than fraternal twins.

Musak
The pulse of the music is one of the biggest reasons you hear what you do

what you are shopping. Big grocery stores, for example, play music slower

than 70 bpm because theyve discovered that people will push their shopping

carts to the speed of the music. This is good for business because when people

walk more slowly, they spend more time in the store, and thus buy more. The

same store may very well play fast music in the parking lot.

Busy restaurants will also play fast music during rush times. The faster

tempos cause people to eat, and leave, faster. The same restaurant is likely to

play slower music during non-peak times encouraging their customers to stay
for dessert.

Of course, this effect is not the only thing businesses think about when

choosing their music. The Muzak Corporation discovered that playing fast

music for 50 minutes alternated with 10 minutes of silence increases

production more than just leaving the fast music on continuously. Of course,

the pulse is not the only aspect of music that matters. Playing music that the

customer identifies with is often far more important.

Finding the pulse


Everyone can find the pulse of the music (see appendix: Beat Deaf). However, in

my experience, when students begin music lessons for the first time, about

half of them have trouble at first identifying what the pulse is. This is not

because they don't have rhythm, but is because they just don't understand

what the pulse is. To define the groove, words often don't help. Instead, I play

music with a strong groove, and when the student starts tapping his foot or

fingers then I explain that what they are moving to is the pulse.

Rhythm makes us want to move, and this feeling of movement is usually the

best way to find the pulse, especially in complex rhythms. When defining the

pulse to students, I play dance music and watch their feet, fingers, and heads

for bobbing or tapping along with the pulse.

We can pay attention to our own feeling of movement, or we can watch other

people dance. For example, watch this video: Stepping to the main beats in

Obatal dance. West African music is particularly complex rhythmically, and it

this complexity can be hard to understand where the pulse is. By watching

dancers, however, the pulse becomes clear.


Heart rate
The importance of the pulse is sometimes attributed to the heart rate. This

makes sense the heart beats and has a pulse and this pulse is something

we hear and feel every moment we are alive. Moreover, the heart rate slows

down with slow music and speeds up with fast music.

However, the hearts pulse does not match the pulse of the music, but the

brains does. The heart speeds up and slows down according to the brains

action. With rhythm, the brain speeds up and slows down, and the heart just

comes along for the ride.

Tensioning the time


Jazz drumming great Elvin Jones talked about tensioning the time. By

speeding up or slowing down relative to his fellow musicians, he was able to

achieve some great emotional effects. This is commonly called playing 'ahead

of the beat' or 'behind the beat'.

A very slight and subtle slowing down the tempo, relative to the other

musicians, is often called playing behind the beat. Doing this creates an effect

of making the notes sound bigger, fuller, and more relaxed. However, slowing

down too much can make the music feel lethargic.

I could feel the top side, middle, back side,


or anywhere else in the quarter note's length
Steve Jordan

A slight speeding up is often called playing ahead of the beat or on top of the

beat. Playing ahead of the beat creates an effect of making the notes sound
more focused, tighter, and adds energy and bounce. However, too much and

the notes start to feel anxious.

Rubato or robato?
In most musical styles, it is common for musicians to use rubato. Tempo

rubato, Italian for stolen time, describes when a musician speeds up or slows

down for expressive effect. When it comes to the pulse, rubato is the exception

that proves the rule. Because it is the pulse that defines what the notes mean,

changing the pulse can change the meanings of the notes.

Rubato is a powerful technique when used correctly. The danger, however, is

that when it is overused it makes it more difficult for the listener to entrain to

the song. This is one reason that rubato is uncommon in modern pop music.

Another reason is what Dave Grohl from Nirvana and the Foo Fighters calls the

modern ideal of the perfection. He says:

There is this weird idea of perfection. If a singer sings out of tune, so put that

Autotune program on it so its perfectly in tune. Or if a drummer speeds up or

slows down, we'll put that Beat Detective program on it so it sounds like a

metronome, so it sounds like a clock. What I think happens when you do that is

you rob the artist of their personality and ultimately it sterilizes the music so

there is no real emotional connection to it.

When I hear a vocalists voice crack, when I hear someone sing so hard that their

singing a little sharp, a drummer that is so into it that hes playing faster and

faster, that to me draws out the emotion that makes the hair on the back of my
neck stand up. It is all about respecting the human element about what it is when

people get together to other people to make music.

A steady pulse is an important and useful tool, but it is not a law. Varying the

pulse can create subtle and dramatic effects on how the music affects

listeners.
Meter

What does a clock say? A clock says tick tick tick tick tick, but that is not

what we hear. We hear usually hear tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock instead.

For over a hundred years, researchers have known that when people listen to a

steady pulse, where all the notes are exactly the same, people hear one louder

than the next.

This is why we say a clock says tick-tock instead of simply tick. We hear a

tick-tock in any pulse from 30 bpm to 300 bpm, whether it is there or not. In

rhythm, we sense this as a kind of direction-ness, swing, or tick-tock.

It dont mean a thing if it


aint got that swing!
Duke Ellington

This tick-tock is the expression of the pulse to human ears, and it is what

people musicians usually mean when they talk about the meter of the music.

On the swing set, we swing one direction, then we swing back. The first

direction would be tick and is called the down beat. The return direction

would be tock and is called the back beat. The name down beat comes from
ancient Greek, and referred to the point in the song where the dancer would

put her foot down on the ground.

Meter In The Swing Set


This video makes the analogy between the movement of a swing set and the feeling of
movement in music.

If rhythm is resonance, and meter is the expression of that resonance, then this is one way
that the physics could be represented. The back beat and the down beat are usually points
where the movement in the song seems to change direction. Personally, I suspect that this is
one way out of many that the meter could be expressed. Some music, for example, feels like
the down beat is the point where the movement feels fastest. That would put the down beats
and backbeats on the center line instead of the top and bottom.

This feeling of movement in music can be very difficult to describe with words.

Some ways that I describe it is back-and-forthness, direction-ness, bounce,

sway or swing. Swing is one of the most common words used to describe meter

in general, but it can also refer only to a particular style or range of styles.
While there arent any accepted words to describe the feeling, musicians often

intuitively use a back and forth movement to describe how the meter of the

song feels. For example, watch this video.

Movement In Meter
Two of my drummers Zigaboo Modeliste (The Meters) and J.R. Robinson) (Michael Jackson,
Daft Punk, Madonna) discuss how to play the drums. Notice how they both use a back-and-
forth movement to describe how to get the drums to feel right. Thanks to Don Lombardi from
drumchannel.com for permission to use these clips!

Some people disagree with my use of the word meter here. I don't mind

coming up with a new word to describe this, but I don't feel it is necessary.

Where rhythm is currently defined as a pattern of sounds and silences, meter

is what the patterns have in common.

This direction-ness establishes just that. What music theorists describe when

they talk about meter and/or hypermeter is how the rhythm travels from the

backbeat and the down beat. The only real difference in terms of existing

music theory is the addition of the back beat. Current rhythm theory holds

that rhythm is organized around the downbeat. Thinking of rhythm as

resonance suggests that the backbeat ought to be considered as well.

Contrast
While the human brain will hear a meter even when one is not present,

musicians create contrast between the notes to guide the listeners perception.

Musicians change the volume, timbre, attack, pitch, timing or many other

attributes of sound to influence how listeners hear the meter of their music.

While there is a very wide variety in how musicians approach the meter, there

are a few conventions. When you are listening to songs for the meter, it can
help to know that on the drum set, the down beat is often played with the bass

drum and the back beat is nearly always played with the snare.

If you are interested to know more about the drum set, Im writing a primer

for the drum set based on these principles. The upcoming book features a new

system of notation I have developed to be intuitive (patent pending).

Layers
The brain can resonate to multiple speeds at the same time. This means that

rhythm has layers. This is where the meter really takes shape. The different

layers interact to create the specific feel of the song. I will explore this in

depth, with examples from around the world, in my upcoming book Rhythm

Harmony.

The case against metronomes


Because the pulse is so meaningful, it is very important for musicians to have

a reference, something that tells them when they are playing too fast or too

slow when they dont mean to. This is what the metronome or click track does.

The musician sets the metronomes clicks to a certain pulse and uses it to

practice or perform.

Research on how rhythm resonates in the brain suggests that the most

commonly used metronomes are not very effective. The point of the

metronome is to be able to play with a steady pulse. This is accomplished not

by force of mind, but by resonating with that pulse.


The click sound of the metronome is not good for this for two reasons. First,

the sound of the click is not musical. Many people feel as if the sound itself

interferes with thinking rather than causing the brain to resonate, the sound

interrupts resonance. Second, research shows that a longer tone is much

better at getting the brain to resonate than a shorter one. This is one of the

reasons that major recording studios no longer use clicks. Instead they use a

different sound, such as a shaker. It is possible to learn to use a metronome

with a click, but it takes experience and dedication for most of us when we

could just use a different sound and not have this trouble.

Beginning musicians especially would be well suited to avoid clicks in favor of

something a bit more musical, such as step sequencers. A step sequencer is a

type of music making computer program available free online. A drum

machine is a type of step sequencer. One of my favorites to use is Step Seq

available on Kongregate, because it is intuitive and easy to use. With a step

sequencer, you can program tones instead of clicks, and practice to what you

program in.

Step sequencers provide another advantage layers. Because our brains can

resonate with multiple pulses at the same time, programming in multiple

pulses and more complex rhythms causes the brain to resonate more

effectively making performing in tempo much easier. Advanced musicians

will also appreciate the control of which notes play and when. Deleting

sections of the track can be challenging and require that the musician

resonate with the pulses even when music disappears.


Entrainment

We want to move with music because of entrainment. Entrainment is basically

a kind of group resonance. Entrainment is defined as the process where

independent but interacting oscillating systems assume the same period. In

other words, when things resonate and are connected, they synchronize and

resonate together.

When the groove of the song is strong, then our movement systems resonate

to the music as well. This video demonstrates entrainment. You might want to

watch it before you read further.

Entrainment in Metronomes
This video demonstrates entrainment. In this video, several pendulum metronomes start off at
different speeds, but quickly synchronize with each other. They are all on the same rolling
platform, and because they are connected, each pendulum shares its momentum with the
other pendulums. This connection allows them all to resonate together.

The metronomes in the video synchronize because they are connected through

a rolling platform. This platform allows the motion from each pendulum to
affect the others. It is this connection that enables them to resonate together.

Entrainment was first observed by German clockmakers. Within 10 years of

the invention of the pendulum clock in 1657, German clock makers became

especially famous for the grandfather clocks they made. However, when they

left for the night, the pendulums were out of sync, but in synch when they

returned in the morning. If one of the pendulums were moved out of synch, it

would return to perfect synchrony within half an hour. They contacted

Christiaan Huygens to explain it, and Huygens coined the term entrainment to

describe what he called the sympathy of the clocks in 1666.

The idea was largely ignored until the 20th century, when scientists began

studying what are called non-linear systems. Very simply stated, a non-

linear system is a system where the sum is greater than the individual parts.

Entrainment has been found to be a characteristic of non-linear systems in

general. Most physical systems are non-linear, including the brain.

Entrainment is a basic function of the brain. One of the primary ways that

neurons coordinate their activity is through entrainment. Entrainment

synchronizes neural activity, enabling effective communication. Rhythm is

associated with neuronal bursting an important process by which neurons

fire in bursts, helping to ensure the target neurons get the message.

Our findings suggest that the


synchronizationof V4 neurons
reflects a general mechanism for
rapidly funneling important
information to otherregions of
the brain. This leads us to ask if
disruptions of neural synchrony
might lead tosome of the attention
problems that are found
in so many brain disorders.
Robert Desimone
The video of the metronomes resonating together is similar to what literally

happens in the brain. The brain is connected in such a way that allows the

different parts to resonate together. Comparing the video with how the brain

works, each pendulum is a neuron and the connection between the neurons is

the rolling platform. The neurons entrain with each other because of the

connection. This is important for understanding rhythm because when

someone perceives a rhythm, the brains actual firing activity synchronizes to

the pulses that make up the rhythm. For a more thourough discussion of

entrainment in various fields of study, I reccommend the article In Time With

The Music: the concept of entrainment and its significance for

ethnomusicology if you dont mind the academic tone.

Live Music vs Recorded Music


Robert Moog, a pioneer of the analog synthesizer, said The problem with

music these days is that oo often musicians do by themselves for listeners

who listen by themselves. This, to Moog, is entirely beside the point of music

making. Ideally, the audience and the musicians connect with each other in

the process of making music.

I feel that special secret current


between the public and me. I can
hold them with one little note in
the air, and they will not breathe.
That is a great, great moment.
Arthur Rubenstein

This connection is one of the ways music is able to affect us in the way it does.

Pendulums resonate with each other, neurons resonate with each other, and
people also resonate with each other. Entrainment between people is one

reason that live music is often better than recorded music. The audience

entrains to the musicians, and the musicians also entrain to the audience.

This creates a feedback loop that increases the strength of the resonance for all

involved. A CD wont return the favor.

Mozart Effect
I suspect that entrainment is the most important reason for the so

called Mozart Effect. The original Mozart Effect research studied how

listening to Mozart affected visuospatial skills. This research was inconclusive,

but subsequent research has found strong links between learning to play

music and improvements in a wide suite of seemingly unassociated mental

skills.

The skills that are improved by music include improvements in emotional

intelligence, general intelligence, language acquisition, GPA, high school

graduation rates, visuospatial skills, writing skills and math skills.

Improvements in these areas are seen even after other factors, such as

parental involvement, culture, and socioeconomic status, are factored out.

There isn't a cognitive function that


doesn't somehow pertain to music.
Robert J Zatorre

Entrainment provides possible mechanical model for why this could be.

Because the brain entrains with music, music can help the brain to do what it

does more effectively, and the study of music allows the student to take more

control over this effect more effectively. For more information on how rhythm

affects the brain, I recommend Oliver Sachs recent book Musicophilia.


Groove

Rhythm causes resonance. That resonance spreads, entraining the brain, and

the strength of that entrainment creates the groove. What is groove, though?

The groove is a word that is commonplace among musicians, but it is very

hard to define clearly.

Some recent research at the University of California at Irvine is changing that.

Petr Janata and his team researched what people actually mean when they

use the word groove and found that groove is the pleasurable drive towards

movement caused by music.

The groove is the part of the music that makes people want to move. This is

similar to what people mean when they talk about the meter. It is well known

that the stronger the sense of meter in music then the more people want to

move. This is why dance music, all around the world has a strong meter.

Whereas meter is the expression of the pulse, groove is how the rhythm makes

you feel like moving.

Some people tap their feet, some


people snap their fingers, and some
people sway back and forth. I just
sorta do em all together, I guess.
Rock and roll music, if you like it,
if you feel it, you can't help but move
to it. That's what happens to me. I
can't help it.
Elvis Presley

This is a chart that talks about how the researchers defined groove. The bigger the bar, the
more subjects agreed with the statement.
Listeners synchronize easily to a song with a strong groove. This reflects the

original meaning of the word groove. Modern roads are mostly very smooth,

but in the past, horse carriages used to create deep ruts, or grooves, in the road

created by all the carriages that went before. When a carriage was traveling in

the groove, it was easy to stay in the groove but difficult to get out of the ruts.

Like grooves in the road, strong grooves in music make it easier for people to

move in time with the music and harder to move out of time with the music.

There's a certain groove you pick


that makes the music flow, and
when you have it it's in your pocket.
It's the feeling behind the rhythm...
to me, the hardest thing to strive for
is that feeling, behind the groove.
Max Weinberg

The next thing the researchers found was that some songs really did have

stronger grooves than others. Groove is not all that subjective, after all.

Listeners put numbers on songs according to how strong they thought the

groove was. The results were clear. Some songs consistently got higher

rankings than other songs. The groove is something you an measure.

They also found you could measure the groove with silent video. By watching

video of people listening to music, the researchers found they could tell how

strong the groove of the song was by measuring how much the listener was

bobbing her head, tapping his feet or otherwise moving in time with the

music. The stronger the groove, the more people moved. Again, some songs

consistently scored higher than others, meaning that some songs really do

have stronger grooves than others.


This chart shows how much subjects thought certain songs grooved. The higher the number
at the right, the more groove subjects thought the song had.
Feel
We know whether a song is grooving or not by the way it makes us feel, and

another word for groove is feel. This makes perfect sense, according to the new

definition. The groove is the feeling of movement created by music. Different

grooves feel different. They dont just sound different, they feeldifferent.

Thinking of rhythm as resonance may explain why. When we listen to music,

the music resonates, entraining the brain. What starts off just as simply sound

commandeers other parts of the brain. This is why rhythm can make us feel

something beyond what we hear. The more strongly we entrain, the stronger

the effect.

The problem is that talking about what we feel is difficult. There is an old joke

that talking about music is like dancing about food. The joke is funny because

for the most part, our words cant reflect what our senses are telling us. If you

refer back to the video of Zigabo Modeliste, you can see how much trouble he is

having finding the right words to verbalize what he feels. This is made much

more difficult when there simply aren't words that will work.

An example of how words fail to adequately describe feeling comes from

Grammy winning drummer Rodney Holmes. While in a masterclass, I asked

him was if someone asks you to play laid back, how do you go about it? His

answer surprised me. He said he can't know.

He cant know because if someone asks him to play laid back, then he doesnt

know what they want. One person might ask him to play laid back, but really

want him to play slower, while someone else might want a lower volume.

Another person might want fewer notes, a softer timbre, more open phrasing

or almost anything else.

Because there is no standard meaning, Rodney Holmes feels that he cannot


rely on words alone. For this reason, he asks the person to sing what they

mean. He then interprets what they sang on the drum set.

As musicians, however, this is important to know. After all, musicians create

feeling. Knowing what feeling to create is fundamental. But how you describe

feeling accurately, in a way others will understand? I think the first step is to

learn what we can feel.

Feel is the word we use for what our senses tell us. We feel cold, feel tense, feel

dizzy, our muscles feel tense and the sandpaper feels rough. These are all

things we know from our senses.

Of course, only five of our senses are famous. Four of these have special feel

words, but in my opinion taste, listen, look and smell should also fall under

broader category of feel, and we do sometimes use the word feel to talk about

information these senses give us. Check out the graphic below for some of the

lesser known senses.


Emotions
Emotions, too, are something that our senses do. While it is not the only

factor, our brains look at the physical state of our bodies when determining

our emotional state. To do this, we attend to our senses. Our senses tell us

what state our body is in, and we interpret this as an emotion.

To play a wrong note is insignificant;


to play without passion is inexcusable.
Ludwig van Beethoven

This is why beta blockers work. Beta blockers are used to prevent performance

anxiety, and they work by blocking beta adrenaline receptors. Normally,

adrenaline causes the body to get ready to deal with danger. Among other

things, beta receptors tell the heart to speed up, the lungs to open up, the

stomach to shut down (this is what butterflies are) and the bladder to relax

(which is why people sometimes feel the need to pee).

When the beta receptors are blocked, this doesnt happen. The heart rate stays

normal, the lungs dont open up, and the stomach doesnt shut down. This is

why beta blockers prevent us from feeling anxious. Because what the brain is

hearing from the senses doesnt fit the physiological pattern of anxiety, we

dont interpret ourselves as feeling anxious. This is why beta blockers are used

to treat performance anxiety.

If you have the time, this lecture by Evelyn Glennie is wonderful. Evelyn

Glennie is a world class percussionist who is deaf. In this video, Glennie talks

about the experience of going deaf and how she learned to rely on other senses

to experience music.
Resonance in performance
Our brain resonates with music and the action of this resonance drives other

senses. I submit that when we talk about the feel of the music we are literally

talking about the information our senses tell us. Feel is not a metaphor. I also

submit that the feeling of movement looms large, at least when it comes to

rhythm.

This is important because rhythm is all about how we feel. Therefore, paying

attention to how we feel can help us understand music better. For example,

when analyzing rhythms, I tell my students that what their kinesthetic sense

tells them is more important than what they hear. The groove of the song will

lead them to quickly find the most important relationships between the notes.

Feel is something that is available to everyone who listens to music, but

unfortunately we often dont think to pay attention to our movement sense to

understand music.

You are the music while


the music lasts.
T.S.Eliot

In the The Inner Game of Tennis, Timothy Gallwey writes about a high powered

corporate exec who was trying to improve his swing. The exec had been to 5

tennis masters already, all of whom told him he was holding his shoulder too

high. However, the poor fellow just couldnt seem to lower it.

On the face of it, this is ridiculous. How can a high powered corporate

executive, who regularly exercises power of many people and things, not be

able to control his own shoulder? Of course he could, so what was the real

problem?
As Gallwey explains, the problem was that the exec wasnt paying attention to

how his shoulder felt. As a result, he wasnt even aware that he was raising

his shoulder. The exec could not correct a problem he did not know existed.

Once he learned to include his feeling in his awareness, he was able to correct

his swing and move on.

As with everyone, he could not improve until he was aware of the problem.

Again, as with everyone, he could only be aware of the problem with his

senses. Putting his attention on how he felt was the only way he could learn

what he needed to do.

We only know what comes in through our senses. This is the only information

available to us. Including what we sense in our awareness is a very useful tool

for learning.

Paying attention to how we feel can help us perform better, in general. In

tennis you can tune into the feeling of the smoothness of the swing to improve

the stroke. In music, you can learn to play faster through tuning into feel as

well, but you can also learn to groove harder the same way. Creating rhythm

also causes the listeners to feel.

Feel good practice


By paying attention to how the rhythm feels as we produce it, we can learn to

make more effective rhythms. Gerald Heyward told this story about Abe

Laboriel Jr in a clinic, to explain his practice method. He said that legend has

it, when legendary drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. was learning how to play the

drums, his father, Abe Laboriel Sr., had him start with a very simple drum set

pattern. Sr. wouldnt let him playing anything else until the groove he was

playing felt good.


(Jr) Daaaaaaad! How long do I have to play this?

(Sr) Play it until it feels good, son!

(Jr) OK, its feeling good now!

(Sr) Then its time to add a note!

By paying attention to the feeling of the music, we can make the music feel

better.

The rhythm plays you


Tuning in to how we feel has another powerful effect. It strengthens the

connection that allows entrainment. By paying attention to our senses, we

emphasize the physical connections that allow our brains to share a

resonance in the first place. This is why the following quote is meaningful to

me.

The highest form of love is listening.

If we direct our attention towards someone, our brain physically changes to

reflect that information. This means that who we are does not stop at our

skin. Rather it stretches to include everything we can sense. To say it more

poetically, who we are, physically, literally changes to include the people we

direct our attention towards. This is what the science says actually happens.

This is why the highest form of love is listening. When you direct your

attention to someone, you connect with them physically through your senses

and your brain physically changes to include them. The parts of the brain that

represent yourself are used to include the other person you are paying

attention to as well. The connection established by listening is not

metaphorical. It is a real, physical connection.


To live is to be musical, starting
with the blood dancing in your
veins. Everything living has a
rhythm. Do you feel your music?
Michael Jackson

By paying attention, we strengthen the connection that enables this

resonance. This also works for rhythm. If we pay attention to how we are

feeling not just what we hear but everything our bodies tell us, then we

strengthen the connection that drives resonance. If we resonate more strongly

with the rhythm, then it is easy for us to make music in time with the

rhythm.

This way of the music taking over is how many of the great performers

operate. Willem Dafoe explains:

If you dont engage the body, you are using this and you are performing from

the neck up. ... I think the piece plays you... You prepare and have a structure and

you have certain expectations and certain notes that you want to hit. But

particularly in a theater performance, it starts to get a rhythm, and it starts to

carry you. And you direct it, and you can stop it, you can fall out of it, get ahead

of it and you can get behind it, but it creates some rhythm and thats one of the

pleasures of performing. Particularly live.

Dafoe is not making a metaphor by saying the piece plays him. The rhythm

literally takes over by driving resonance. This happens in particularly in music

but is something you find in performance, in general.


Feeling it
When someone is performing really well in sports or music we might say that

they are feeling it. Again, this isnt a metaphor. Moreover, placing our

attention into how we feel is something that many master musicians do

instinctively.

For years, Ive had a hobby of asking master musicians how they handle bad

days. That is, when maybe they dont feel like playing or their head isnt in the

right space for playing. I have been surprised at how many have specific

answers. One of the most common tricks musicians use is to pay attention to

a sensation.

While this is often what they hear, it isnt always possible. Many times

musicians perform in circumstances where they cannot hear their follow

musicians well, and performing with musicians who themselves arent

listening is also common. Master musicians develop alternate strategies to

handle those unfortunate circumstances. For example, one saxophonist places

his attention on the feeling of the keys. A top bass player will watch TV if he

can see one, and if thats not available he chooses some people in the audience

to watch. He isnt really watching them, and doesnt care about what happens,

but he feels like it frees up his mind so that he can listen better. Similarly, I've

heard a concert pianist explain that she chooses a spot inside the piano and

stares at it. People think she is reading the music, but she isnt; she is just

focusing on the sensation of seeing the spot in order to free her mind. One

drummer tunes in to the feeling of his torso pressing against his seat and the

seat pushing back. Another drummer tunes in to the feeling of the sticks

sliding back and forth across his hand.


There are the notes on the page, and there are the
notes off the page and I got so caught up in the notes
that I didn't pay attention to the orchestra, thats the
worst sin of all... because there are the notes on the
page, but then what makes it music is what's off the
page. When you get so focused on what's the page that
you lose the other situation, thats not good
Branford Marsalis

Personally, I like to feel the vibration of the stick every time it hits the drum.

These are all ways of emphasizing the information presently coming in, and

doing this strengthens the connection that creates resonance. These strategies

often also improve physical skills of performing music.

These strategies are not limited to musicians. Research on golfing finds that

when players are instructed to think about what position their hands are in

significantly decreases performance. On the other hand, tuning in to how the

golf swing feels or how they would like it to feel significantly increases

performance. Hall of Fame baseball shortstop Ozzie Smith would warm up by

throwing to first from different places on the field with his eyes closed.

Basketball players are taught to tune in to the feeling of the seams on the ball

when shooting free throws. This has nothing to do with shooting mechanics,

but instead is a way for shooters to tune in to something besides the fact that

everyone is watching to see if they make the shot or not. Incidentally, if

someone is shooting particularly well, we may also say that they are in

rhythm.

since feeling is first


who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
e.e. cummings
Thinking vs. Non-Thinking
The result of putting your attention into what you feel is to stop thinking. At

least, it can seem that way. When your mind is actively paying attention to

how you feel, it isn't thinking about what you are doing and how you are doing

it. This focus on feel both strengthens the connection to what is happening

now, and prevents the brain from being distracted by what might happen

later.

Thinking about what you are doing leads to an internal dialogue, a running

commentary about whether your actions will meet your goals. Such thoughts

can be very distracting. However, thinking gets a bad rap. 'Thinking' itself isn't

the problem. Thinking can be a resource that helps performance. The trouble is

what you are thinking about.

It isnt that I stop thinking.


I start thinking and feeling
at the same time.
Nevada Weir

When you are resonating with what is happening around you, it is because the

incoming sensory information drives that resonance in the brain. However, if

your brain is busy doing other things, that resonance won't occur. For

example, the areas that represent incoming sensation are the same areas that

are used to predict what things are going to feel like, and to remember what

things used to feel like.


A memory is a recreation. The brain recreates the memory as if it was actually

happening. The same areas of the brain that would normally process

incoming information are used to process the recreated information instead.

The recreated information, then drives resonance. The incoming sensory

information, which would normally find a happy home in the brain, finds it

has been evicted.

Let your performance do the thinking.


H. Jackson Brown

This can be a powerful tool to musicians. In order to count songs off at the

correct speed every time, master drummer Steve Ferrone creates a two to three

second memory of a fragment of the song, such as the hook or a guitar part.

While he cannot remember the entire song exactly, he says he can remember

a short segment completely and accurately. When it comes time to start the

song, he recalls the memory fragment and his brain resonates to the memory.

With his brain already resonating to the correct pulse, Ferrone is thus able to

count off the songs perfectly.

We think too much and feel too little.


Charlie Chaplin
Of course, it is also possible to create problems instead of solutions. For

example, anxiety is fundamentally a future-oriented mood. People who are

anxious only worry about what might or might not happen in the future. What

this means is that instead of resonating to what is going on presently, the

parts of the brain that map out what is happening now get hijacked to run

projections and comparisons about what will happen in the future. When this

happens, we dont resonate to incoming sensation and performance suffers.

The standard example is someone catching a ball in sports. If the player is

worrying about whether they will catch the ball, or what catching the ball will

mean, then they aren't paying attention to the ball. This is what people usually

mean when they say they are in their heads during performance. If we are

running projections about what will happen or are out to lunch, then we are

not paying attention to what is happening now and we lose track of what is

happening. We often are aware of this sometimes all too aware of this as

we perform.

Acting isn't something you do. Instead


of doing it, it occurs. If you're going to
start with logic, you might as well give
up. You can have conscious preparation,
but you have unconscious results.
Marilyn Monroe

Leo Tolstoy used to say that you could get any wish granted if you could step

into a corner and didn't think of a pink bear. This sounds easy, but when you

try it, you find that the idea of a pink bear presents itself immediately,

constantly, and seemingly unavoidably.

This was Tolstoy's joke. Trying to not think about something is impossible.
Instead, you have to occupy your mind with something else. In music, placing

attention into sensation is a good alternative because it reinforces resonance

with what is happening now. A part of the solution to being in our head is to

be in our body. By directing attention on to incoming sensation, any

sensation, we help make sure that we are in the present moment.


A Final Note

There is an old African proverb that rhythm is in your blood. This idea isnt too

far away from being the literal truth. Rhythm isnt an abstract pattern of

notes, but is something that exists because we do.

We turn what we feel into rhythm, and when it comes to music, it is the feel

that matters. Which notes go in which order is not the point. We like music

because of how music makes us feel, and music should feel good.

Feeling is something that we can use to engage with those around us better.

This is, after all, the whole point of making music. Through rhythm, we

connect with what is going on around us and through rhythm others connect

with us. Understanding what rhythm is is allows us to understand why music

affects us, and this ultimately empowers us to make better music.


Appendix
Time Signature vs. Meter
While often related, the time signature and the meter are not the same thing.

Instead of notating the meter, the time signature is a tool that was created so

musicians could read multiple lines of music at the same time. Before the

time signature was implemented, the notes in each line didnt have to line of,

and usually didnt. The time signature required that whoever wrote the music

separate the notation into short sections, or bars that were separated by bar

lines. These bar lines required that the notes on each staff line up, making

reading multiples lines of music at the same time possible.

These two grand staves show the same thing. The top one is how it might be written before the
time signature was introduced. The bar lines instituted by the time signature make it much
easier to read multiple lines of music at the same time.
The top score is an actual score from before the time signature, was introduced. The bottom
is a score that uses bar lines. Thanks to The Schyen Collection -
http://www.schoyencollection.com for permission to reprint their photos. You can see many
more images there.

The meter, on the other hand, is a property of the rhythm and how the rhythm

is perceived by the listener. It is customary to have the time signature relate to

the meter. The difference between the time signature and the meter is why all

of these songs have the same time signature (4/4), even though the songs

themselves are very different. You can look them up on Spotify, Rdio,

Rhapsody, Youtube or elsewhere on the internet if you are not yet familiar

with them.
These songs all have the same time signature, but most musicians would agree they have very
different meters.

Each of these songs has the time signature, but musicians would say they all

have different meters. Music scholars even have a variety of terms such as

hypermeter to elaborate on the scant information given by the time

signature.

Musicians interpret what is written on the page based on the rules for that

particular style. For example, if a musician interprets a score in the Baroque


style, it will feel different than if a jazz musician interprets the same score in

a bebop style or if a rock musician interprets the score in an 80s hair rock

style. In each style, there are unwritten rules about which notes are

emphasized, de-emphasized, pushed, pulled or otherwise moved around.

Many of these rules are metrical rules.

I haven't understood a bar of music


in my life, but I have felt it.
Igor Stravinsky

The insufficiency of the time signature to explain the meter is one reason why

music performed by computers sounds flat. Even if a robot is designed to

perform on a real instrument, the music still sounds stiff and lifeless because

the meter is missing. Often this is one of the most important elements in what

is referred to as the human element. This is also part of why the humanize

functions available in music programming and recording software arent very

effective. The humanize button is only designed to make notes less precise,

not to tell the computer to follow the unwritten rules of hot to interpret the

piece.

Beat deaf
In 2011, researchers published the first ever case of beat deafness. The

researchers recruited dozens of people who claimed to not be able to find the

beat to be part of the study. Each of the subjects claimed they couldnt find the

beat in music meaning they couldnt tap along to it or dance to music.

However, only one of the subjects fit the researches criteria for being beat deaf.

This would be the first and only person, ever, to meet the criteria.

The subject, Mathieu, had problems dancing with music and tapping along
with it when he was by himself, but could manage when he was with

someone else. Additionally, while other subjects were able to synchronize

pretty much exactly to the music, Mathieus pulse was close to but typically

faster than the musics pulse. Mathieu also had trouble telling when another

person was dancing in time with the music or out of time with it.

Mathieu is the only person ever to be found to be beat deaf, not for a lack of

trying. Some prominent researchers have created tests for beat deafness that

have failed to turn up anyone. People have been looking for years.

Psychological research into how humans perceive rhythm stretches back at

least to the 1890s.

If he is beat deaf, it is very rare indeed. However, I think another solution is

much more likely. I know from musical experience both my own and from

teaching that there are many reasons that it can be difficult to find the pulse.

It is possible, for example, that Mathieu was just so anxious to get the right

answer that he ended up guessing instead of resonating to the rhythm. This is

my impression from watching the videos of his performance published with

the study. To me, it looked as if he was chasing the beat of the song.

It is also possible that he was trying to give the researchers the answers he

thought they wanted. This is a well known problem in research, especially

when you ask people about something. People tend to give the answer they

think you want to hear instead of what they really think. My feeling is that

this is less likely, however. I think it is more likely that he just doesnt

understand what they are asking him to do.

It sounds outlandish to those of us who intuitively understand rhythm, but

many people dont understand what it means to be in synch. For example, I

once worked with a concert pianist who was working towards her Masters in
Performance. She contacted me about improving her rhythm because she was

having a very hard time playing with a metronome - a device that plays clicks

at a steady pulse for musicians to practice with. I noticed that she would often

be close to, but not play with, the metronome. I used a step sequencer, but she

had the same problem.

Like Mathieu, she could take things at her own speed, but playing at someone

elses speed was problematic. She couldnt tell me if she was on the

metronomes beat or not, either. However, with a little communication, the

issue was resolved. As it turned out, she felt like it was her job to interpret the

music, and that meant interpreting the tempo of the music as well. Her

understanding of what it meant to play music conflicted with the idea of a

steady pulse. The resulting confusion prevented her from finding the pulse in

music, not because she couldnt but because of how she understood music to

work.

Ive seen this, and other variations, many times in students. There are many,

many things that prevent people from performing well on tests of rhythm. Not

actually having rhythm in the first place has never been one of them.

Everything in the universe has a


rhythm, everything dances.
Maya Angelou

For me, the biggest piece of evidence that Mathieu is not in fact beat deaf is

that he loves music. He studied music for years, and loves going to the disco to

dance. If he was missing something that prevented him from getting what

everyone else got, he would not want to dance. The thought would likely

appear strange and silly. Instead, he enjoys music and dancing. This means

that on some level he relates to it. How could he relate to it if there wasnt

something in him that gets it?


Look for upcoming books by John Lamb

Rhythm Harmony
A deeper exploration of rhythm in terms of resonance, and how it applies directly to actual music. This

one is currently half written. I decided to split it from this book, but may rejoin them at some point.

Beginning Drums for Adults


Want to learn the drums but dont know where to start? Confused by traditional methods of teaching?

John Lamb has a Masters in Education with a specialty in teaching adults, and this book is written

with adult learners in mind. Beginning Drums for Adults uses a new and unique form of drum

notation John designed to minimize confusion and to facilitate learning staff notation. In this book,

readers will learn everything they need to know to start playing in bands.

Movement for Drummers


You have to move to play the drums. Understanding technique means understanding how to move.

This book explores what drummers need to know about the body and movement so they can

understand how to improve their own technique.


Selected Bibliography
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