Dana Roy responds to Subhagata Singha's workshop on rhythm - HEAT THE BEAT...
Patterns exist everywhere in music, or maybe it’s because patterns can exist in our minds that music exists at all. We have note intervals, chord patterns, chords themselves and most important of all time.
You may think that time is not something you can play with, that it flows constantly never changing it’s pace, steadily on from our past to our future, and you would be right. You can’t change time… but here is the fun bit, you can change how you measure time, and playing with and between the patterns of how you measure time is playing with the perception of how time feels.
Sounds complicated on paper, huh? Well it isn’t, that is music, or at least one part of music, an important part, because music can only exist in time. The rhythm, tempo, pulse of the music all help us to understand this. And these, I have learnt are very different things, these are the markers, read as time signatures that give us the different tools that allow us to play.
The beauty is you could immerse yourself into following all the patterns, changes and shifts and open a whole world of understanding, like this workshop has done for me. You could dive into the world of compound, complex and common time, play with polyrhythm and polymeter, or, you could simply turn on your favourite Beatles song and just feel the music seem to slow down or speed up. (He used “Try to see it my way” to demonstrate Irrational time signatures). And here is the truly amazing thing, music, and the mathematics of it ultimately and always translates into emotion, feeling, tension and release, the way of breathing, the sway of the body. The patterns chosen can effect everything from cradling you in a lullaby, to jarring you to attention.
This is what I discovered through our Rhythm workshop with Rivu, who in his mad, yet rock solid way took us through the strange world of time signatures and how we measure, feel and experience time, and can change the experience of time, through music.