BGM Rhythms

Teacher, BGM Rhythms

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What is Rhythm?

What is rhythm?
I feel that rhythm is a descriptive force. As a drummer I give it a home through the playing of the drums and by developing technically. I develop my language skills in translating emotive thought into music. Here rhythm is the vestal carrying my ideas. Perhaps there are other ways to translate creative or emotive thought by using rhythm as a medium which haven't been developed yet.

As far as I know there have not been a great deal of modern conversations developing the idea of rhythm to a satisfactory level of understanding.

Philosophical Quotes – Source – A Philosophy of Rhythm, Lucille D. Lamkin. 1934

Aristoxenus, Disciple of Aristotle.
“Rhythm is an ordering (or a defined ordering) of times”

“Rhythm is the property of a sequence of events in time which produces on the mind of the observer the impression of proportion between the duration of several events or groups of events of which the sequence is composed”

According to William Thomson: “The most fundamental error made about rhythm is that it is 'an ordering of times'. The most fundamental truth about rhythm is that it is an ordering of blows.” (here blows means accents or stresses)

I would be interested to hear what your concept of rhythm is in your life, work, and creative thought and how it affects your perception of time (or not).

Ben Martin - BGM Rhythms

  • Nov 28 2011: The proposal about what might be the cause of learning disabilities is my speculation, but that is a conclusion I have put together from the following research-based facts:

    1. Improving a student's rhythm acuity (also called rhythmicity) moderates the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, and some forms of autism.

    2. Students who have daily rhythm lessons achieve and maintain significant advantages over peers without those lessons.

    3. Students and adults with extensive music performance experience have different brains and different brain activity than non-musicians.

    So I have put two and two together and surmise that the rhythm experiences provide an opportunity that forces the brain to encounter time as a quantifiable constant. That experience begins to make up for the transition to time awareness that the student missed in the normal course of life up to that point.

    Here are some research sites that I use often.

    Search for and check out:

    Interactive Metronome

    the research of Dr. Frances Rauscher.

    the research that is going on at Northwestern University in the lab of Dr. Nina Kraus and her staff. Here is an address to get to that web page.>

    Propensity to event orientation may be genetic. But when we talk about brain activity, it is difficult to attribute that to a particular genetic cause. By the time a student is old enough to respond to testing, experiences have significantly modified genetic traits.

    Unfortunately, most research conclusions are always that more research is needed even when the outcome of the research is astounding. I think that is partly an attempt to qualify for more funding. However, there is also the fact that there is always more to learn. Unfortunately, the education culture in the USA is not creative or able to experiment in any helpful manner. So we pretty much teach like we did in 1950.
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    Dec 13 2011: Rhythm is kind of vibration which means different according to different mind.

    It is relating to music, sound and accect in a common sense, yet, it is also of habbit, routine and way of doing and thinking.

    Rhythm is part of life. You have certain rhythm because of your job, personanlity and working conditions. In this sense, rhythm is not born with you. It evolves as you grow up.
  • Dan F

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    Dec 9 2011: Those disciplined measured movements in play that is characteristic of a great golfer.
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    Dec 9 2011: Are the words rhythm and routine interchangeable?

    Rhythm is a set flow or pace. Well, the routine of your life forms a rhythm.
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      Dec 13 2011: While routines can be altered rhythm is always there.
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        Dec 14 2011: Routine is always there as well, and rhythm can be altered. A song can have the tempo change, which forces a change of rhythm.

        Life is full of patterns, and rhythm is nothing more then a pattern which repeats itself. A routine is the same thing. A set of events which you repeat regularly.
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    Dec 8 2011: Rhythm is a balancing cycle of harmonious events.
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    Dec 8 2011: - / - / - / - / - /
    - / - / - / - /
    - / - / - / - / - /
    - / - / - / - /

    / - / - / - / -
    / - / - / - / - / -

    A steady flow is rhythm
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    Dec 8 2011: Rhythm is a dancer... Sorry I couldn't help it.

    Rhythm is definitely an emotive word. Even just thinking about it I'm bouncing my head & tapping my feet in 'rhythm'. I wonder if everybody has their own rhythm characterstics, kind of like a finger print? Differing speed, timing, balance etc.

    One word that springs to mind here is visceral. It's a feeling that sometimes doesn't require lexical definition.
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      Dec 13 2011: Certainly. When people learn to translate there thoughts into music by learning an instrument they also develop a personal style. So there characteristics become amplified in there playing.
  • Dec 7 2011: Rhythm is the pattern we create out of the random chaos around us. Whenever I take a walk I know my mind creates an order out of the sounds around me and before I know it I have a rhythm that I am walking to, sometimes I even hum it.
  • Dec 2 2011: if buddy rich was still alive, it might be helpful to ask him.
  • Nov 26 2011: Rhythm may be the very definition of time. Without it, time is not perceptible. Animals experience events - humans experience/perceive time. It may also be that improvement in rhythm perception and performance corrects/modifies many anomalies such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, autism, etc. Significant research points in that direction, and functional magnetic resonance imaging confirms that rhythm activity actually modifies the brain.
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      Nov 27 2011: Rhythm certainly is a definition of time but perhaps not the only. In a human context our perception of time definitely ebbs and flows depending on the activities we are taking part in. These activities seem to change our perception depending on how much of our concentration they take up. This makes time perception subjective as all our minds work in different ways. As soon as humans become objective time becomes measured in a different way. For example the measuring of light and the decay of atoms. Perhaps there is a different sort of rhythm present in this sort of observation?

      Do we not all experience events in the same way as animals but with the added illusion of the human condition? I know that animals experience and take enjoyment from hearing music and perhaps even benefit from music more as there power of analysis is less evolved. It is interesting to note the trend in some forms of music to overwhelm the senses in order to retrieve for the listener and musicians alike, a more animal state of arousal.

      As someone who is dyslexic and has been placed on the autistic spectrum I knew from day one on some level that the process of learning to drum (still ongoing) was helping me in many ways. I'm not certain exactly how though. Perhaps as a fluid form of expression without the type of logic required for spoken conversation in the case of aspergers and more certainly as a way of ordering my thoughts and honing coordination skills in the case of dyslexia.

      Thanks, look forward to your reply
      • Nov 27 2011: Thanks for the reply to my reply. This is an interesting conversation.

        Here is one possibility for the way that rhythm experiences affect the symptoms of dyslexia, etc.:

        We enter the world with no more understanding of time than animals have. We move through time marked only by experiences which require our reaction. But we have no perception or objective awareness of the time passing between those experiences. As we mature, most of us learn to mark/recognize time as a factor in what we experience and perceive. But some of us do not pick that up so naturally and automatically. Those of us who somehow miss that learning continue to move from one instantaneous experience to another without realizing the importance of time. Many continue that perception (or lack of perception) into adulthood.

        Rhythm experiences assist by forcing us to recognize the passing of time. Such experiences allow us to connect instantaneous experiences (each beat) to a larger bit of time (the time required for the entire piece of music). The relentless nature of the rhythm captures us because the instantaneous experiences come at us so frequently that we don't have time to take the mental side trips that often distract from a task that requires concentration.

        As a result, the brain is forced to recognize the relationship of small bits of time to longer periods of time. Repeating such experiences reinforces and encourages that perception, allowing the individual to finally recognize time as a quantifiable constant whether or not the instantaneous experiences are present.

        What do you think?
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          Nov 27 2011: Its an intriguing thought that conditions such as dyslexia come from an in-ability to mark the passing of time through a subconscious recognition of rhythmic patterns in our environment.
          _is that what you are saying?
          Dose this come from research or is it speculative?

          I have always thought of these conditions as a gift of an altered or even enhanced perception, rather than as a lack of perception. The drawbacks being few compared to the creative and imaginative advantages (that is if you are lucky enough to be put in a position where you can take advantage of your condition).

          I can see your point about the perception of the passing of time being marked by our experiences. This fits in with the idea that perception is different for someone with the aforementioned conditions.
          I would however say perception is altered from the offset genetically and grows into a recognisable condition as the mind develops.

          Would be interesting to know about any tests on rhythm perception in the development of children with dyslexia ADHD etc. I wonder if this has been looked into?

          My hypothesis would be that a person with dyslexia or another inherited condition while still recognising rhythmic patterns in there environment. i.e. spoken word, written word and writing, mathematics, logical thought etc sees them from an altered view point. Perhaps a different part of the brain controls the retrieval of pattern recognition than that of a normal mind and therefore processes the information in what is perceived as a unique and creative way. This theory may be tested through trying to discover ways in which musical rhythms are interpreted and learned by people with these conditions.
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    Nov 25 2011: Thanks for a provocative question, Mr. Rhythms.
    When a musician repetatively produces a blow, an accent, or a stress in what they believe is spaced, in time, equidistant from the previous blow, accent or stress they are only able to do so by utilizing their memory. The listener is exercising the same brain function while they enjoy the RHYTHM.
    We cannot hear music or poetry, we can only remember it.
    A person cursed with an absolute absence of memory capability could not experience the RHYTHM of music or poetry.
    William Wordsworth put it this way:
    " I listened, motionless and still;
    And, as I mounted up the hill,
    The music in my heart I bore,
    Long after it was heard no more."
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      Nov 27 2011: I have to say that Im not 100% sold on the idea.
      The same could be said for any experience. That everything that makes each or our worlds is only a secondary experience, as our minds, built to perceive and analise, are separate from the physical world. With this view everything is an illusion. The only way to communicate our true feelings would be through telepathic delivery. However humans are highly capable of communicating without the need for fancy telepathy.

      A great deal of the world and its physical properties are hidden as our minds and there conscience(s) have evolved to perceive only what is needed for survival.

      It has long been known that the memory of someone suffering from dementia can be stimulated with music, dance and poetry. I don't know much about this subject but it seems as though memory is stimulated through a separate part of the mind responsible for pattern recognition which is in an older part of the brain and nervous system than that of memory function.

      Plants also respond to musical and rhythmical stimulus and they couldn't be said to have memory in the same way humans do. Perhaps rhythm is the foundation of memory? but I don't think memory and experience (artistic or otherwise) are mutually exclusive to one another.
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    Nov 25 2011: that william thompson qoute is one hell of a metaphor for life. i read somewhere that what people find most intrigueing about music is the high they get when their brain interprets rhythm of sequences in a way that wasnt previously realized, and that the fewer amount of notes that occur in that sequence the more dopamine is released. steven wolfram had a talk called "computing a theory of everything" where he demonstrates the capability of wolfram alpha as a search engine, and in the talk he mentions its ability to find musical sequences which wouldve never been discovere d before, that sounds like one hell of a tool for someone who lives by the beat, let us know how it goes bro.
    to answer your question-- music seems dead to me, i miss those days when rhythm was a part of my life, time didnt seem so stagnant everything seemed to be controlled bc i could focus on rythm and control my thoughts. budhhists focus on the rhythm of their hearts when they meditate. i used to focus on the sound of my footsteps to slip into forced meditation when i used to do longer runs 15+ miles. it must be hardwired into our system, rhythm is everything.
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      Nov 25 2011: I would be interested to find out where you read about the way our brains intemperate sequences and reward us with dopamine. Could be useful for teaching. For me the brain, although often working subconsciously will bring much more useful and creative answers from the information that it receives than any search engine will. Not to say that S.E.'s aren't a useful way to generate information and feed our creativity or desire for structured information. Even without music rhythm is still there and can be enjoyed on a similar level to music. I wonder if your running pattern was the sort of simple rhythm that gave you the dopamine loop needed to run those long distances with relative ease. In which case it was the brain and the body delivering the rhythm which would have sounded (if you could hear it) rather more complex than the initial input. Even if you can hear that you certainly would have felt it
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        Nov 25 2011: i read about it in a magazine sometime last year, i couldnt find the article so i started searching for the source, i believe it's david huron's ‘ITPRA theory of expectation’.
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          Nov 26 2011: Thanks so much for taking the trouble. I will look it up. Thanks
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      Nov 25 2011: So for you rhythm helps to build momentum?