Bit-by-Bit and all together now
Touched on here: Discussion: By Heart
# Posted on January 31st 2010 by ceolachan
Starting with a good listen to the ‘whole’ of a melody, and then dealing/learning it from the parts and working back toward accomplishing that whole, I believe there is fair reason for looking at the structure of this music in this way, teaching it this way ~ building from the parts toward the whole, the goal to make the connections and pull it all together, 100%+…
Those parts, from beats to bars to phrases ~ typically two, four and eight bars long ~ that’s part of the definition of the ‘dance’ in this dance music. It is the waft and weave that speaks to the dancers and gives the music lift and form. That lift helps lift the dancer’s feet, propelling them through steps, moves and figures. However, I have percieved an illness associated with a lack in understanding this, a diarrhea of style where the whole damn thing just runs on and into one another with little structural form and rhythmic definition. Is it that some think it’s an unnecesary concern, that they’d rather skip and ignore these rhythmic elements? I have heard its absence in ‘some’ session playing. That absence, often equated with rushing through the melody, playing it ‘flat’ out, is generally obvious to anyone with any experience playing ‘dance music’ for dancers, and/or as a dancer.
Most folks that teach this music, as I’ve experienced it, teach an awareness of that ‘definition’, one way or the other, by parts… I believe an awareness of those important rhythmic ‘parts’ has value, particularly if one honours the roots of this music ~ in particular dance… That greater wholeness, the two, music and dance, are in my sense of it integral to one another, inseperable, dependant, one. That awareness finds voice through articulation, inclusive of points of pause or silence ~ through speaking the music rhythmically ~ beat, meter, measure and phrase ~ with bow, plectrum, ornament, breath, tongue ~ drum or feet ~ or any other means of definition or accompaniment…
What are your ways or notions with this, your experience ~ the parts and the whole ~ as teacher and student?