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Subject: Re: Dance (metronomes)
From: Bill Haneman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:<[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 24 Mar 2000 10:11:18 -0000

text/plain (40 lines)

Tim suggested:

>comfortable with, and choose a slow metronome speed:  one click per note.  

Though he went on to recommend going to two and four notes per click later, 
I have to disagree strongly with this first suggestion.

This relates to some previous discussion of timing, where I held my tongue :-)

Yes, the tempo needs to be steady... but in, for instance, a jig, the 
three beats are *not* exactly equal in length!  In reels, the first and second
beats may have slightly different lengths also.  The subtleties of these
rhythms are key to giving the music "lift", "bounce", "flow", and help identify 
a particular style.  These are very different from the speed up- slow down
rhythmic lurching that dancers bemoan and which we all want to avoid.  Not to
say that dancers won't prefer a particular rhythmic nuance, but spending time
learning to play traditional music to a draconian concept of equal beats is a 
very bad idea.  You want to get the rhythm *steady*, every "downbeat on one" 
should come evenly, but the twos (or threes) may lead or lag a little, as long
as this pattern is consistent.  

Now, before the flames come pouring in, note that I am not anti-metronome, 
and I think that metronomes can help a lot in solving these problems.  But
it's important to realize that steadiness (evenness of the primary downbeats and
consistency of the following beats' "lope" or "swing") is our goal, not
uniformity of every quaver and semiquaver.  Practicing with metronome clicks
on 1, 2, 3 or 1, 2, 3, 4 is probably not the way to achieve this.

As for the "right" rhythm, all you can do is listen!


Bill Haneman
Desktop Applications and Middleware
Sun Microsystems Ireland, Ltd.

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