Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Understanding Beat - Two Methods.


Understanding Beat - Two Methods




The misunderstanding of Beat comes from an issue with starting points.  Traditionally, children are sent to lessons at the age of six and told to read Music.  The places the written form before the sound of music.  I am often asked, when is a good age to start lessons and I quote Zoltan Kodaly in my answer, "Musical training should start nine months before the Student is born".  Ideally, we would have a musically rich life, of which reading is part, but not all.

Sound happens first and then a written form of understanding follows.  At the time of Guido of Arezzo (an Italian music theorist in the Medieval period), we had plenty of music, the issue was how to communicate to others when we are not present.  Written notation began to develop.  The sound comes first and the written notation followed.

Understanding that the sound comes first is key to understanding written notation.  Shakespeare wrote words and then died.  Without his personal input, how do we Perform his works?  Through interpretation of written notation, Shakespeare's works are acted.  Consider the word "Mum": what does it mean?  The woman who birthed you.  By communicating an elongated pitch bend - which is impossible to write using letters - the question, "Can I do something that I think you are going to disagree with?" "Mu-uu-mm?"  A short explosive, "Mum!" has a different meaning, "I want attention".  The length of a word alters its meaning in prosodic communication.  The word is a beat.

Poets construct poems rhythmically.  A word is a beat: there is no difference.  One syllable words are one beat words.  One method of counting which I use is called Mini Beasts the word "Ant" is one word with one rhythm.  This is called a Crotchet in music (taken from the French word for "Hook").  One word with two rhythms - using Mini Beasts - would be "Spider".  This is called a "Quaver" in musical notation. A , four syllable, word - one word containing four rhythms - would use the word "Caterpillar", using the Mini Beasts system.  This is called "Semiquavers" in musical notation.  

Written communication is developed to best communication the idea to be conveyed.  The sound "Oh" is communicated - in English - "O".  The concept of Zero is written similarly "0".  The concept of a sound which is held for a "brief" time is similarly written in Music Notation "O": actually, the "Brief" note is no longer used, it is the half brief (semibreve) which is notated "O".   Rather than using "Mini Beasts" as a method, you can speak out the musical notation.  The word Semiquaver has four syllables.  This would be written as four notes grouped in one unit.  The word Quaver has two syllables and would be written as two notes grouped in one unit.  The word Crotchet also has two syllables, but as already stated, comes from the French word for "Hook": Hook has one syllable and would be notated as one unit containing one not.  This is called a Crotchet.

The video gives visual and auditory examples of what has been written above.  Watching the video will give you another perspective.  Please feel free to comment on the effectiveness of my Teaching, that I can adapt it to suit your needs. 

Robin's Experience and Style

Robin Thornton - Teacher At a young age, I decided that I wanted to be a Musician. I did not believe that I could support...